Don’t Call It a Boycott: The Great CitiField Sit Out

An article by posted on August 19, 2010

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Joe D for his support in promoting the CitiField Sit Out.  The sit out is an experiment, borne of some discussions on Twitter, via several ideas on Facebook and other social media, based on Mets fans’ general feelings towards the team.

I have often said that to categorize me as “angry” would be incorrect.  Yes, I know, the Coop comes off as a chick with an attitude problem.  (Ahem).  Angry is not the word I would use here.  Disappointed and discouraged, yes.  Not angry though.

While fellow MetsMerized Online writer, Joe Spector, has started a group called “Boycott CitiField,” I can sympathize with this cause but I cannot fully give myself to a total boycott (sorry, Spector).  Perhaps it’s my own definition of the term, I feel a boycott is more permanent and long-term.  I also know that I am a Mets and baseball fan and to deny myself a game is treacherous.  I would be hurting myself, in the long run.

Like the sit-in in the 1960s, what I’m calling for is a peaceful demonstration, one that calls for fans to sit one out.  Baseball fans are often referred to as the “10th man.”  Well, what would happen if fans didn’t show up or as few fans as possible showed up (I’m talking in the low 1,000s)?

Imagine no cheers.  No boos.  No clapping.  No lines at Shake Shack.  No sea of blue and orange revelers coming into the stadium or swarming around the Shea Bridge.  No signs in the outfield.  No one getting on camera catching a foul ball in the stands.

Fans are not appreciated.  We root for the laundry and come out faithfully every year, yet Mets ownership/management have taken us for granted for far too long.  I have made no secret of the fact that I am a season ticket holder.  This experiment is not about money to me.  My money has been long spent not just on tickets but on travel, hats and other paraphernalia.  If I don’t re-up my plan next year, who cares?  Someone else will probably pop right in and buy them.

Therefore, the idea is symbolic.  If the fans don’t show up, is it really a game?  Also, it sends a message: that the attendance that has been steadily dropping since the new stadium novelty lost its lustre…and it can indeed plummet further.  Just because you pretty-up a stadium doesn’t exactly mean that the people will come.  Just ask the Washington Nationals about that.  If the product you are dispensing as a sports and entertainment company is not appealing, then the novelty of coming to the stadium wears off as well despite the bells and whistles that accompany it.

I’ll be honest with you.  I’m not sure if this will work.  As an example, I have a good friend who had long-standing plans for Wednesday, August 25, to attend the game, and is furious that I won’t change the date!  I figure we must strike while the iron is hot, to remind the organization that without us, it is NOT a game.

Many fans are receptive to the idea, though.  I’m not saying “don’t watch the game” or “don’t go to a game ever again.”  I’m saying – watch the game!  Just don’t do it AT CitiField on August 25.  Go to your local watering hole.  Invite some friends over.  Make it a party.

The fans do have the power to initiate change.  Attendance is plummeting for several reasons, the team’s current performance notwithstanding (attendance was plummeting as they were running away with a great home record too, by the way), ticket prices are prohibitive, “weekend plans” include weekday games that are restrictive for fans who can ONLY attend on weekends, or they are like our own Joe Spector, the fans who want to create their own change by refusing to go to games until management shapes up.

Just sit out ONE game, Mets fans.  Some of you may not have been going anyway.  Let’s NOT go to the ballgame, and see how people react to a 15% full stadium on a weeknight (that’s my goal anyway…perhaps in September, the stadium will be emptier).

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