I want to share part of an email that came my way on Monday. It came from a longtime reader who occasionally emails the site and it really struck a chord with me. She wrote:
Why is Oliver Perez still here? I feel like I’m being punished by the Mets for some unknown reason, or maybe mocked is a better word. Every day I continue to see Oliver Perez in a Mets uniform, I see everything that was bad about the last two seasons that I would rather forget. I feel the same way about Luis Castillo, but not to the same extent. Have we been such bad fans over the years, that now they have resorted to torturing us? Is that why Perez is still here? To dampen our hopes, thrash our dreams, and weaken our spirits? I’m sorry, but as a longtime season ticket holder, make that former season ticket holder, I deserve better than that.
I think many fans can relate to this, and like former president Bill Clinton used to say, I can feel her pain.
It wonder if keeping a player who is so despised and unwanted by fans can adversely affect a fan’s outlook for a new season. I’m also curious to know if it has any impact on ticket sales?
It’s well documented that adding an elite player can boost ticket sales for a Major League team who usually see a nice spike in such cases, but can keeping a terrible player – a player who has alienated an entire fanbase - do the exact opposite? Is the decision to keep Oliver Perez a big reason why ticket sales for the Mets are in decline as recently reported in the NY Post and the NY Times?
In an off-season where the Mets had no cash to haul in a prized free agent or trade for a marquis player, perhaps the biggest addition they could have made was cutting bait with both Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo long before tickets for the 2011 season went on sale.
All of the bargain basement signings and reclamation projects that were brought in this off-season, did little to excite a fanbase that has been in a four year slumber. Most of those moves were useful, but they were nothing more than filling out the bench as well as the back end of the rotation and bullpen as cheaply as possible and everybody knows that. There was nothing here to get excited about or rouse your spirits.
I’ll tell you what could have done that… You already know… Lisa knows… I know… It seems everybody knows except for the ones who could have done something about it.
The sad part about it is that Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo will most likely get released soon anyway. But now it won’t have the effect it could of had if they had used their axes in November.
Sometime before April 1st, you will finally see the names of Perez and Castillo on a list of roster cuts as they pare down the team to the “best” 25 players. Hopefully.
For a day or two after the announcement you’ll read a thousand blog posts and newspaper articles mostly with titles that will read “FINALLY!” and “It’s About Time!”. Then when all the dust finally settles, and the celebrations die down, and the last remaining remnants of ticker tape are swept away, we’ll be left with just one unanswered and burning question. Why did they wait so long?