So, my kids surprised me last night with a really early Mother’s Day gift – tickets to Banner Day!
After ESPN’s decision to schedule the original May 26th date for Sunday Night Baseball, the Mets held a fan vote to allow fans to choose when Banner Day should be held and ended up moving the date to Saturday, May 11. I’ll be there.
You have to understand – Banner Day was always my favorite day on the calendar. For those who are not familiar with the concept, Banner Day was a chance for the fans to express their loyalty and love for the Mets using homemade banners. The center field wall at Shea would open and fans would stream in with banners showing the world that they bled orange and blue. This would happen between games of a doubleheader ( back in the day when doubleheaders were played all the time on the regular schedule).
I would be watching on TV, glued to the screen, to see not only the banners, but the celebrity judges who would ultimately decide which banner was the winner. The judges were former Mets, New York City celebs and sometimes broadcasters. They would sit at a table set up in the infield as hundreds paraded by them and hammed it up for a chance to be declared the winner.
I love Banner Day. I don’t know if any other team does this, but it always made me proud to be a Mets fan. Even in the lean years, people would flock to Shea to express their passion for our Metropolitans. The creativity of the fans made it a fun event. I always wanted to go and make a banner, but never did.
When Banner Day was done away with after the 1996 season, I thought it was a part of history that was not to be messed with. I was sad to see it go.
Thankfully, they brought it back in 2012 and even R.A. Dickey, who was only here for one of them, understood the relevance of it for the fans and it’s place in Mets lore:
“Giving people a platform to be creative is great,” said R.A. Dickey last year when the Mets revived the tradition. “That’s one of the things that makes this place unique. Nobody else does it. That’s what makes it neat.”
When the Mets brought it back last year, I was thrilled. A part of my childhood was coming back and it was great to see it back. And now I get to make a dream come true by actually going. I am so looking forward to seeing the banners and the clever slogans telling the world that we have our Mets backs, no matter what the scoreboard says or where we are in the standings.
If I want to participate, I have to be at Citi that day by 10 am. Since I live near Philly, that might not be possible. But, who knows? Maybe I’ll be inspired to create a banner and walk with my Mets brethren. I can express the love and solidarity that I have had with this team since 1968.
Will this be a banner year for the Mets? I better start working on my clever slogans….