Thursday, December 03, 2009

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Five Questions For An Average Mets Fan (Fan #49)

Today's Five Questions For An Average Mets Fan goes to CTDucksFan

1. When did you start following the Mets?

My first memories of following the Mets are from 1986, though honestly some of that is '85 bleeding into it.  I was 9 in '86, and remember a lot of the commotion around the season.  When my parents (who aren't that big into sports) were following what was happening, I knew something big was going on.  Game 6 will always stick out in my mind - but that of the NLCS vs the Astros, not the World Series vs the Red Sox.  I remember watching the game in my 4th-grade classroom (which, at the time, was a big deal), then going home and watching it at the dinner table with my family (which, at the time, was a BIGGER deal).  I've been a die-hard fan ever since.

2. What is your favorite Mets memory?

I can only choose one?  Hmm...I think I would have to say the memory of the 2006 season.  From the incredible start, to being at Shea the night Mike Piazza came back as a Padre, to Paul LoDuca tagging out not one but TWO Dodgers at home plate during the NLDS, to the Endy Chavez catch - it was a magical season that was cut 5 wins to short.  I try not to dwell on what might have been but remember what it was, which was 7 months of pure excitement.

3. What is your worst Mets memory or experience?

This is a tough one as this is simultaneously one of my best and worst.  September 24, 2008.  Mets vs Cubs at Shea Stadium.  This was probably the most important Mets game for which I had been in attendance.  Carlos Delgado's Grand Slam was absolutely breathtaking - I've never screamed so loud at a ballgame, and I'm getting chills just recalling it now.  It was a moment where I felt Shea literally rocking and vibrating.  Letting the Cubs come back was heartbreaking.  Daniel Murphy's lead of triple in the bottom of the ninth was my last positive memory of being at Shea.  Left on base, forcing extra innings, the Mets ultimately lost the game and missed the post-season on the very last day (again).  Walking out of the stadium that night, I looked around and drank it all in, knowing in my head that the Mets would not make the postseason, and knowing in my heart that it was my last time inside Shea.

4. If you could change one off-field thing about the franchise what would it be?

Public Relations.  I would change our entire PR department.  Time after time, the way the Mets handle themselves as an organization off the field completely embarrasses me as a fan.  From making Willie fly to Anaheim just to be fired, to the handling of the Tony Bernazard firing, to the complete ineptitude of knowing what the fan base wants and needs, I think the current crew, though they may be trying their hardest, just doesn't get it.  The opening and first season at Citi Field was a complete disaster, and it has nothing to do with how the Mets performed on the field.

5. If you owned the team starting tomorrow, what is the first thing you would change?

To be honest, this boils down to Number 4 above.  I would fire the PR department immediately and rebuild with a mixture of young and old PR professionals as well as a few die hard Mets fans.  I think the average Met fan at this point is disillusioned - no matter what the team does, they seem to do it wrong.  The recent announcements of the "changes" at Citi Field should not have been changes, they should have been part of the building process from the start.  As I go to different ballparks as a fan, it amazes me how different the experience is compared to that of when I go to New Shea or New Yankee Stadium.  I'd want my new PR department to go to EVERY ballpark around the league, as well as a handful of football stadiums, hockey and basketball arenas, to see what other teams do right and what they do wrong.  Casual fans come when the team does well.  Die-hard fans will always be there, and I'd want those fans content.  I want the Mets to act like a small market team in a huge market.  We can't and shouldn't compete with the deep pocket of the Yankees.  We compete with them by giving the fans a BETTER alternative of what to watch, support, attend, and follow.  The team's marketing and PR vision is flawed, and if I owned the team, it would be the FIRST thing I addressed.

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