Can you believe the Mets have been in existence for 50 seasons?
The team announced its plans for its 50th anniversary season on Nov. 16 at a press conference held at Citi Field’s Caesars Club. The Mets are planning a season-long celebration.
Longtime Met fan and WFAN radio broadcaster Howie Rose served as the emcee for the day’s events. He recalled his memories growing up as a fan and working for the team over the years.
“This is not only an exciting day for the Mets franchise, but it’s also an exciting date in Mets history,” said Rose.
The Mets debuted in 1962 as a lovable expansion team that grabbed hold of city after the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers headed west.
The traditional Mets logo, which honors the Mets’ past as it links to the future, was prominently displayed on stage.
“When I look at this beautiful design and all of its detail and intricacies, I can see the Polo Grounds, I can see Shea Stadium, I can see Citi Field, and I can see the reflection of every player that has worn a Mets uniform,” said Rose of the logo.
With Rose’s help, Mets Executive Vice President of Business Operations Dave Howard unveiled the design for the 50th anniversary patch that will appear on the team’s uniforms and memorabilia.
“We certainly have a lot to celebrate this year,” said Howard.
Howard continued that the Mets have a promotional lineup in the works for the 2012 season. There will be a bobblehead series featuring a prominent player from each of the five decades of existence, starting with Tom Seaver in April.
The team will also bring back a fan-favorite tradition: Banner Day. Though the date is not yet certain, fans can parade their handmade banners around the warning track at Citi Field prior to a home game this season.
David Wright, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda were on hand to display the team’s 50th anniversary uniforms, with the new patch. Wright wore the home white pinstripe uniform, which will be the team’s main uniform. Duda sported the road gray uniform, while Davis donned the home white alternate uniform. The team will use the black jersey sparingly this season, mainly on the road.
After the players posed for photos, they presented six original season ticket holders, who have had season tickets all 50 years, with commemorative 50th anniversary jerseys. The theme of celebrating Mets fans has been the goal of the anniversary celebration. The new jerseys all have the No. 50 on the back with the word “Fantastic” in place of the player name. Also, no Met player or coach will wear No. 50 all season, since it’s reserved for the fans. Sorry to Sid Fernandez and Benny Agbayani if they were planning a comeback, according to Rose.
“It’s hard to have a 50th anniversary without the dedication, the passion and the loyalty of our fans,” said Rose. “This is very much their celebration as well.”
One lucky fan at every home game will head home with a commemorative jersey. They are also on sale at the Mets Team Store and Mets.com.
Though there will be no “Old Timers Day” to celebrate the past, the organization is committed to bringing back its alumni throughout the season.
“We feel it’s a better use for that jewel of an asset,” said Howard.
Though the team has had its troubles over the past few seasons, the Mets brass is proclaiming the future as bright and optimistic.
“The Mets fan and the Mets franchise are known for resiliency,” said Howard. “There are better days ahead.”
Howard said he is most proud of the Met fans as the defining factor of the team’s history. He said the term “diehard” truly applies to Met fans over the past 50 years.
In addition to the other perks, the Mets will offer 5-game ticket packages starting at just $50 to honor the team’s 50-year existence.
To find out more information on anniversary news and celebrations, visit Mets50.com.
Stay tuned tomorrow for David Wright’s thoughts on the anniversary, the offseason and of course Jose Reyes in my “From Left Field” feature.