According to Matt Gagne’s article in yesterday’s Daily News, Mookie Wilson is unhappy that the 1986 championship team isn’t celebrated at Citi Field. Gagne quotes Wilson as saying “I was a little surprised I didn’t see anything inside. To not put that in there would be denying part of your past – part of your rich past. We’ll have to wait and see. I think the ’86 team would like to be known as the signature of the Mets … you’d have to talk to upper management to see what they want to portray the team as. That’s my hope. I have no hard feelings at this point.”
I’m glad that in addition to the fans’ outcry, the former players are also getting involved in voicing their opinions on the lack of Mets history at Citi Field. Here are some suggestions I would make to the Wilpons to make Citi Field look more Mets-centric:
Shea Stadium had all those banners hanging around the escalators and ramps depicting classic Mets moments. Aside from the Left Field entrance, Citi Field only has small banners outside the park that are barely noticeable because they’re the same color as the exterior of the ballpark. The ones at Shea stood out and couldn’t be missed. The concourses are much wider at Citi Field than at Shea Stadium. Surely they could find room for great Mets moments. They have nearly fifty years of team history to choose those moments from.
Whereas a number of new stadiums have statues of their greatest players or a memorable moment in franchise history, the Mets do not. Why not have a statue of Tom Seaver or even one of Jesse Orosco’s iconic pose after striking out Marty Barrett to end the 1986 World Series? The Fanwalk is nice but you have to be standing on top of the bricks to realize what it is. A statue would be noticeable from a distance and would fit in with the current trend of new ballparks and statues. It’s also far more comfortable to take a picture standing in front of a statue than it is lying on the ground next to your brick. If the San Diego Padres can have a statue of Tony Gwynn outside of Petco Park, despite the fact they’ve only been in existence since 1969 and have no championships, shouldn’t the Mets have a statue featuring at least one of their championship players and/or moments?
Is it just me or are you also having a tough time finding where the banners are depicting the Mets’ playoff teams? Shea Stadium had the reminders on the right field wall of all the teams that made it to the postseason. Citi Field has the National League pennants and World Championship flags up, but the playoff teams that didn’t go to the World Series (1988, 1999, 2006) aren’t commemorated. The 2006 division title isn’t even acknowledged anywhere, as far as I can tell. That was only three years ago! Let’s hope current players who were around in 2006 say something about that, similar to what Mookie is saying about the 1986 team.
One more thing. At Citi Field, the outfield wall is black (officially, the color is known as soot) with orange numbering for the distances. At the very least, they could have made the wall dark blue with orange numbers. Intentional or not, it looks more like a tribute to the old New York Giants baseball team. Enough with the history of defunct New York National League teams. Let’s have some for the current National League team…you know, the one fans are paying to see inside the Wilpon’s beautiful new ballpark.
The Wilpons have built a gorgeous park with some pretty good players playing in it. Those players are sure to create many memorable moments of their own. However, the Mets have had some indelible moments in the past as well. They should be celebrated throughout Citi Field instead of being ignored.