METS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY, 2010.
First things first: hats off to the Mets for doing this day right. This was a ceremony Mets fans could be proud of. (I am covering http://metsgrrl.com/index.php/site/comments/teardrops-on-the-city.-8-1-10/">the debacle of a game in a separate post, so please save your cards and letters.) They have learned from previous events and it shows. The field had imagery that looked nice on television and if you were there in person, the ceremony was distinguished and moving, yet to the point – the principals got their moment but it didn’t go on forever. I’m sure we all would have liked it to, but this isn’t Cooperstown, there was a game to play, and people’s attention spans are short, especially on a Sunday.
I am happy Frank Cashen was still here to be recognized. Hell, I’m happy everyone was here to be recognized.
I had to grit my teeth when the hipster dbags next to me made continual jokes about the ceremony being delayed (the only negative) because “They can’t find Doc.” I found the statements out of line and distasteful on this day of all days. Even as a non-baseball fan in Doc’s heyday, I found his story sad. I find it even sadder now that a baseball fan – let alone a Mets fan – would root for him to not rise above.
When Darryl got up and thanked God multiple times, this was not the case of an overpaid celebrity grandstanding for the cameras at an award show. It was deeply heartfelt, and all I could think was, “I don’t care who he thanks, really, as long as he’s still standing here.” I was terribly moved on a personal level by both Darryl and Doc’s inclusion in today’s ceremony, and I don’t even have the same connection to them that most of you do. I can only imagine what it was like for the rest of you. It got awfully dusty in Citi Field at that moment.
God bless Howie Rose for giving us a master of ceremonies we can always count on, who cares about what’s going on in the ceremony, and not some random tv-ready talking head. It is like listening to a member of the family every time he is out there.
Some of my favorite moments were the post-ceremony ones, when various 2010 Mets came over to shake hands while they were doing their warmup exercises. I saw David and Angel Pagan and Jeff Francoeur and Ike specifically come out for hugs and handshakes.
And then as the inductees were being drive into home plate for the photo op, a nice moment between Doc and Kirk Gibson of the Dbacks.
The Mets kept the festive atmosphere going through the rest of the game: Doc and Gary Carter took care of the first pitch, and they featured 86-themed giveaways, most of whom went to fans wearing throwback jerseys, many of whom were delivered in person by the likes of Gary Carter and Mookie Wilson. The music was from the 80s, the trivia questions were from the 80s. I understand that all of the Hall of Fame nominees made appearances in the SNY booth as well, which I look forward to watching later tonight.
This was an odd day in some ways. Apparently, this game fell into a ticket package that was popular. You also had the people who bought the Sunday plan, the people who always come on Sundays, and the people who randomly picked this day. I know the Mets were disappointed in this not being a sell-out, but the team is not doing well, and this was a Gold game, despite it being against the Diamondbacks; all the Sunday games in the middle of the season are Gold (hell, even the ones in September are Gold). That made these tickets expensive. This might explain why the left field Promenade Reserved seats were not close to sold out.
I mentioned the fact that the ceremony did not start at the advertised 12:35pm start time. Alex Anthony kept making announcements about people going to their ticketed seats, and I wanted to tell the Mets to stuff it after the third exhortation of this type. I personally was not sitting in my ticketed seat for the ceremony, because I had staked out a place on the field level so I could take photographs of the ceremony. I got there at 11:30 so I could do this, and so did a lot of other fans – people who just wanted to be closer to the ceremony, people who had kids, people who got there late and stopped to watch the ceremony before heading to their places. I realize that this left empty seats for the tv cameras, but at some point you have to just tell the media to STFU and look at paid attendance and what the seating bowl looks like at about the third inning, when folks are done with acquiring food and have settled in.
All of these were minor annoyances and for once did not detract from the quality of the event. Seriously, I give the Mets such a hard time about abandoning their history, but this was a great day and they have a right to be proud of it. 2010 has shown demonstrable improvement in this regard. Let’s keep making progress.