Fixing This Amazin’ Mess

An article by posted on August 21, 2012

Citi Field

Everybody knows the Mets need some serious help on the big league roster right? I think their problems go beyond just the roster, and I think now is the time to start fixing those problems.

For the last two years, I’ve taken it easy on the Mets and their front office. Mostly because I feel none of us have any idea what the real story was as to the depths of the financial nightmare that was the “Madoff Situation.”

But the lawsuit is done now. There’s no more excuses with regard to money is my eyes.

However, I think it’s time the Mets look at the organization from the top all the way down. There is an opportunity here – because let’s be honest, there isn’t one or even two players out there that can magically turn this around.

The team is in a rebuilding phase, but not one in which they have to dump everybody. They are slightly ahead of schedule, but they still have a long way to go.

So, if the roster is in a rebuilding phase – maybe now is the time to rebuild the franchise.

Citi Field

There’s no denying that Citi Field needs a lot of changes still. Let’s be honest, they swung and missed with the opening of this ballpark. The Mets have however made adjustments as they go.

Some of my suggestions likely will never happen – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it.

Jackie Robinson Rotunda

I get it, I really do. But you cannot ignore the fact that this stadium is for the NY Mets and their fans, and yes many fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers may have become Mets fans – but the fact remains that Jackie Robinson was never a Met.

When you walk to Camden Yards in Baltimore, you can see a statue of a young Babe Ruth. Ruth was born and raised in Baltimore, but he never played a game for the Orioles.

Imagine if the Orioles dedicated their entire entrance to Babe Ruth. It’d never happen.

I do not want to see the tribute go away, but I would like to see it moved. My recommendation would be to move the Jackie Robinson tribute area to where they have the Mets Hall of Fame – and put the Mets Hall of Fame in the main rotunda area with banners hanging down from the ceiling.

Outdoor Statues

If you’ve never been to PNC Park you wouldn’t know how perfect a job they did with their statues. Each statue is not only amazing to see, but they are landmarks for the stadium. Here are a few suggestions:

  • The Franchise: I believe the Mets need to put two or three statues outside of Citi Field. The first would be Tom Seaver. You can’t call the guy The Franchise and then not put a statue of him outside your park. He deserves it, and the fans deserve to see it.
  • 9/11 Memorial: I don’t think there is a Mets fan who was alive back then that doesn’t get chills every time they see the Piazza HR. It meant so much to the fans, the players, the city and the country. To me, Jack Buck’s Speech was proven right the second Piazza connected with the ball. I would have a statue of Piazza’s swing, with a dedication to all the men and women first responders and those who perished that day.
  • Jesse Orosco 1986: It’s an iconic moment in Mets history. Orosco drops to his knees, and raises both arms in victory. That pose is etched in all of our brains, and the name of this statue would undoubtedly be “The Dream Has Come True.”

Surrounding Area

I know that in June of this year, Mayor Bloomberg officially announced the $3 billion project to develop the area around Citi Field. Therefore, I won’t say it needs to be done since it’s clearly being done. I just hope they do not mess it up.

Other Stuff – Some people will probably respond with orange and or blue seats. I do not disagree, but I think the seats are what they are. I’d love to hear other suggestions though?

Ticket Cost

The Mets play in the largest market in the country, but I think everybody needs to relax with that. This market belongs to the Yankees. Can it change one day? Absolutely – but let’s not pretend that just because the Mets play in New York that suddenly they are equals to the Yankees.

Take a look at the Mets ticket prices compared to the Angels, White Sox, Phillies, and Nationals.

That’s 4 teams in very large markets, with nice stadiums.

What also needs to be factored in is all 4 teams are competitive right now.

Let’s for a second ignore the dynamic pricing. I get it, but I think where it fails is it usually sets a higher priced ticket on a weekend game – which are supposed to be your higher attended games. The problem with the dynamic ticket system when your team is rebuilding is, it empties your park on the weekends when you should be close to selling out at minimum.

Take a Saturday against the Marlins in late September. The price listed is what it will cost for one ticket to the Mets game, the range in parenthesis is what it would cost you at one of the other four ballparks on a Saturday.

Promenade Outfield $28 ($18-$25)
Promenade Reserved $40 ($24-$31)
Promenade Infield $40 ($24-$37)
Promenade Box $45 ($30-$62)
Left Field Landing/Pepsi Porch $40 ($24-$40)
Promenade Gold $60 ($38-$60)
Right Field/Left Field Reserved $75 ($36-$57)
Baseline Box $85 ($45-$57)

Baseline Box Silver $85 ($52-$66)
Field Box $85 ($63-$83)

(Angels, Saturday versus Detroit. White Sox, Saturday versus Tampa Bay. Phillies, Saturday versus Washington. Nationals, Saturday versus Cardinals.)

The obvious difference is the Right/Left Field Reserved and the Baseline Box seats. Those are the seats that bring life to a stadium, and the Mets are charging almost double the price for a single ticket.

Double the Price+Bad Product = Empty Seats.

Promotions

The best promotions in Major League Baseball, connect the fans with the game. They add to the atmosphere of the game day experience but they also should bring fans closer to the players.

Three larger market teams do this very well. The Giants, Angels, and Phillies. Three teams that do not need to beg anybody to buy a ticket, but they recognize the importance of the game day experience.

The Giants and Phillies both gave away 7 items during the year that were attached in some way to a current player. The Angels, gave away 9!

You know how many the Mets gave away? One. On a Monday night in May against the Phillies, they gave away various Met player fatheads.

The Angels, Giants, and Phillies are giving away bobbleheads, caps, t-shirts, gnomes, bags, team photos, posters, figurines, water bottles and calendars.

The Mets? Well for $50 you can get a facsimile ticket to Johan’s No Hitter.

The Mets need to learn that the best way for fans to identify with these players – is to give them something to connect them to the player.

This is a very young team, the Nationals do an on field photo day where all fans can stand on the warning track and take photos. What a brilliant idea? Let the average fan come and actually see the players up close!

The Mets need to stop thinking they are like the Yankees and start becoming a more “average fan” friendly organization.

Front Office Honesty & Fan Expectations

Recently, the most printed story was that the Mets may not raise their payroll next year. When I read this, I said “who cares?”

Why does the payroll matter? Would you rather have a better CF for $4 million or a worse CF for $10 million?

Asking a General Manager in August what his payroll will be in April 2013 literally makes no sense. You’re basically asking him to tell the media what he plans on doing with expiring contracts or garbage ones like Jason Bay.

Why would he do that? Why do you want to hear him say “we will increase payroll,”?

What does that do for you in August 2012? To me it says, maybe they would extend a financial offer to Pelfrey – who knows?

What if a pitcher like Johan falls into their lap the way he did with Omar? You can’t honestly say what your payroll will be yet because there is more evaluating that needs to take place – and frankly who cares what the payroll is?

The Mets had a payroll of over $130million in 2008, how’d that work out? How did the high payrolls in 02, 03, 04 work out?

Payroll doesn’t matter – talent does. That’s the bottom line.  It’s not moneyball, it’s logic.

On the flip side of this, I do think these two years bought the Mets some time to dance around the questions.

Now is the time to start being honest though. We know this team needed a lot of help. This winter is the time to tell us what the plan is. I don’t care about money, if you do – then that’s your problem. I care about talent. Tell us how the Mets plan to move forward in CF, RF, LF, C, SP and RP.

Tell us why Jason Bay isn’t released, and tell us how you plan on fixing the giant holes with this team.

Tell us you recognize Thole isn’t an everyday catcher or that Torres cannot hit, or that Francisco has been terrible. Tell us what happened with Ramirez, because logic tells me something went wrong based on his history.

If you tell us CF will be a temporary fix until 2014 because you feel you have a fix coming through the pipeline – that is fine. Just tell us.

In the last 20 years, the Mets have had 5 good seasons (sorry 07 and 08 have to go down has bad seasons). Being patient is something we Mets fans should be quite well at. The problem is when we aren’t privy to what is going on and feel like we’re getting GM speak non-stop.

If we need to focus on the farm system – then get me excited about them, and don’t let bloggers do the work for you.

I said last winter and this past one that I can give them two years before I want answers. I get that there needed to be a lot of work done, but now is the time to start showing us some results and to re-energize a fan base.

A Good Slogan

I honestly cannot even remember what this year’s “slogan” was. The Nationals this year embraced “Change Your Natitude.” They even gave away t-shirts with the slogan during the year.

For this franchise to get back on track, there needs to be buy-in from the owners, general manager, front office, coaches, players, and even the fans.

That is why the 2013 slogan should be “Mets 2013: We’re All In!”

Unite the fan base, tell us the dark times are behind us. Get me excited for Mets baseball, and make Citi Field my home away from home the way Shea Stadium was.

Connect me to these young players, and fill me in on why I need to be excited for the near future.

This franchise needs help in so many different areas. The roster isn’t the only pipe that is broken.

It’s time to start being honest and creative with how to fix them.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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