When it comes to being a barnstorming radical – a demonstrating firebrand – who wants to chant something to the tune of “Hell no we wont go!” or “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Omar Minaya has got to go!”, I’m not exactly what you would call your typical Ceasar Chavez.
No, in fact I’m not even what you would call a “union” guy – not that I favor anyone being exploited by their employer, although I wouldn’t mind seeing Oliver Perez forced on his hands and knees to clean Citi Field’s restrooms wearing a pink tutu using a toothbrush and lye.
But if you think I’m going to pull a Sally Field and jump up on my desk at work – cardboard in hand with the words “union” written on it – then I’m sorry but I’m not your candidate of choice. That’s why when I came up with the idea Fed Up-Stand Up-Act Now: Boycott CitiField, even I was taken aback.
Perhaps I was channeling Jimmy Hoffa. Maybe I saw one too many Reverend Al Sharpton press conferences, I dunno. Be that as it may I wanted to set things straight about what the idea behind the boycott is and how it compares to other ideas out there.
First off kudos to fellow MMO writer Taryn Cooper who came up with the idea of the CitiField Sit Out on August 25th. Also thanks goes out to Joe D, who mentioned what his rebel writers were conjuring up.
Where Coop and I are similar is that we both are fed up with the direction the Mets are headed. Coop tends to be on the more milder side – yes I said Coop and milder you read it right – in a sense that she simply won’t stop going to all future games at CitiField where as I have stated I will. I respect the Coop and her choice but I don’t agree that a boycott for one- denotes permanence as she has stated in her article recently. I’d be the first person on line to buy tickets for 2011 if the team instituted just the smallest of changes. Nor do I believe that a boycott is inherently violent where as a sit out isn’t. Neither are. It’s not as if I’m advocating anyone to start burning their orange and blue bras in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
However I have to digress that I’m not a season ticket holder and never have been so lucky to be one. I can understand someone that is a season ticket holder not wanting to be influenced by some writer who goes out and makes a Facebook group calling for a boycott – I don’t have the hubris to think that I’m all wise and knowing. Who the hell am I?
The point I was always trying to make was to give Mets fans, that are fed up with the Mets ownership and just as loyal as any one of us, a chance to do something that would have an impact, something tangible, no matter how trying the odds of its success. It was never designed to pit Met fan against Met fan. If you think a sit out is fine for a day, you’re no more or less a Met fan than someone who doesn’t want to renew their season tickets.
Lets face it, the Mets have had the highest drop in attendance than any team in the majors this year at 15% and have been on a downslide since 2006 – boycott or sit-out or a beautiful new stadium aside. The Mets can thank themselves for that and it seems once again, the majority of fans are always ahead of the curve than any of us who sit at a computer tempting carpal tunnel while transcribing our mental machinations.
Financially speaking we are taken for granted. In a town where many entertainment outlets are desperately vying for our dollars you’d think there would be a modicum, a semblance of respect from the powers that be in the New York Mets. Instead we’re treated like lemmings, oh so carefree and happy to take our family of four and spend hundreds of dollars to watch a team terribly in need of wholesale changes. A team with a Donald Trump-like payroll and a Donald Duck-like mentality at times.
Some have said that we should be more like Cubs fans. Cubs fans? Now that’s a group in dire need of more than a sit-out or boycott – but a full out mutiny. I guess Cubs fans who sell out Wrigley year in year out are just biding their time. It’s a shame since it’s been 65 years since the Cubbies were in a World Series and 102 years since they actually won a World Series. I almost feel ashamed for them. Almost.
The two things that honestly annoy the living you know what out of me are those who are apathetic and constantly negative about the Mets who offer nothing but flippant, useless sniping at either the sit-out or the boycott, saying that in the end it means nothing. These tend to be the same people who every four years or so love to complain about our elected officials yet never vote them out because they have this ingrained weakness that is apathy.
Maybe I was taught differently but I was taught to have a voice and a vote is a right and to abandon it – to claim it’s a waste of time – is a forfeit of your rights as an American. Apathy in all its forms is for losers and if you’re comfortable with apathy then I have nothing for you. Move on, become a Yankee fan.
The second is this idea that somehow by choosing not to attend games, we would be the ultimate reason hot dog vendor John Doe loses his job. I’m sorry if this comes off as insensitive but where is the collective outrage when a family of four shells out a few hundred dollars, conservatively, and is rewarded with the current, expensive mess that takes the field?
Once again don’t get me wrong, my first trip to CitiField was very memorable and I wouldn’t change it for the world but I’m like many fans who aren’t lucky enough to have the budget to be season ticket holders. It’s not my responsibility to keep John Doe the hot dog vendor employed anymore than it is John Doe the hot dog vendor’s responsibility to pay my bills. In this economy, going to a Brooklyn Cyclone’s game with your family is not only more affordable but at least the talent on the field cares and has desire – something I thought this team once had.
The last thing I want to do is brow beat anyone into doing anything. Nothing worthwhile ever is accomplished that way. This isn’t some self-absorbed act of entitlement. I’ve never demanded perfection from the New York Mets, that’s absurd. All I ask is what we all ask for, honesty, transparency, a vision for success and some damn accountability.
Whatever route you choose- if you choose one that is- know that you’re a Met fan through and through. You cried when Yadier Molina homered off Heilman in 2006 and when Scioscia did the same to Gooden in 1988 – spoiling perhaps two seasons where the Mets probably were the best team in baseball. You held your collective breaths when Mookie’s grounder went under Buckner’s legs and cried tears of joy when Knight came around to score. Your hearts pounded with pride on September 21st, 2001 when Mike Piazza in one historic swing, lifted a entire city in a moment of its greatest pain.
You are Mets fans. You deserve more. You all deserve more. Being a fan certainly means supporting your team in good times and bad; but it doesn’t give your team the right to take advantage of your loyalty. Whether the sit-out or the boycott has an effect is entirely up to you.
The ball is in your mitt my friends.
Let’s Go Mets but more importantly…Let’s Go Fans.