Thursday, January 14, 2010

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Mets' bigger problem: Fans Don't Believe

SS

Losing your all-star centerfielder is a major deal. That's about
winning 100 games.

I'm here to talk about business. Don't forget Mets fan, the Mets area business. The goal of the business is to make money. Why did they get Beltran in the first place? They did the math and decided that tickets plus concessions plus merchandise plus advertising would outweigh the cost of paying Carlos. The Marlins find they can't pay Beltran-like salaries so they work with smaller numbers. If they happen to win a World Series, well isn't that dandy? The Yankees do the same thing the Marlins and Mets do, just with bigger numbers. A-rod brings in more than he costs, so he gets paid even if he brings the circus with him.

The Mets need customers. Whether you are there in person or just a pair of eyeballs watching SNY, they need to make money off fans. The problem the Mets have is right there in the 2010 marketing of "We
Believe."

The slogan comes from the right place. It clearly echoes warn and fuzzy feelings of the distant past.

The problem is the recent past. We don't believe.

No matter what is said about Beltran today, we won't believe the Mets. Maybe the Reyes injury was properly handled, but we don't believe it was. You know when I expect Beltran back? August 19th. That's what I have been trained to believe.

It doesn't matter if I am right in my belief because the customer is always right. The Mets can't make me buy tickets. If I believe that I won't enjoy the product, I won't spend on it.

As usual, I try to come with solutions. To the Mets:

1. Whoever handles your p.r. - change it today. The Mets are awful at managing the message. If you think Francesca is the key, guess what, he has no credibility with Mets fans. We believe him to be a Yankee fan. We believe he enjoys when the Mets fail. It doesn't matter if we're wrong. The customer is always right.

2. Find someone who understands your fans and put them on payroll today. Me? Sure, why not and yeah that's a self serving sentence.  How about Howie? He's from the uppers. He knows what it's like to love a 1979 team that's awful and to hate a 2009 team that's awful. Pick his brain!

When I got into this team it wasn't because they were good. My dad took me to affordable games. Seaver wasn't that long gone, and the word Miracle always gave hope. We liked that we weren't the Yankees. We liked our colorful safe ballpark in Queens and were scared (actually scared!) to go to the cement fortress In the bad neighborhood in the Bronx. The Mets were fun.

Flash forward thirty years and instead of loveable losers we believe the team to be inept from the 9 guys playing to the corner office.  Today you'll spin that everyone was on board with Beltran. I won't believe you. I don't believe Jose Reyes will start Opening Day. I don't believe your product will bring me more enjoyment for my dollars than letting it sit in my wallet will.

What would the "fan ombudsman" do?

You could run stuff past a fan. Ombudsman can't help with the Beltran story but sure could help with
the museum, the unannounced Seaver tribute, the upcoming 50th anniversary, and all the other warm and fuzzy things that make us want to use your product. So many of the 2009 complaints could have been so easily avoided, but you thought you would win and you treated our fan culture with disrespect.

It's ten years since the subway series. I personally am not that attached to the 2000 roster but I bet there's a whole generation of 25 year old fans that are. Which day are we gateting to honor them? How many times is Piazza coming out? Are you retiring 31 or not? Are you secretly mad at Keith? Where's his day? Can we just walk around the field with some banners?

For us old coots, will we see the boys from 69, 73 and 86? You saw that the 69 day went over well, didn't you? The funny part is I don't know if I believe you get it?

Sure, winning solves many problems. I don't believe in comebacks this year. I hope I'm wrong but until your messaging sways me, the wallet stays closed.

Remember that Mets Extra show in the 80s? A guy named Howie called you names every night but we knew he loved you. That's what the community forming around this site is. 25 years later Howie is the
voice of the franchise. Embrace this stuff, whether it's me or one of a thousand other guys like me. We love you. Let us believe you.
1 Response to "Mets' bigger problem: Fans Don't Believe"
Ceetar said :
January 14, 2010 at 9:36 AM
Yeah. This hurt. Right now i do believe everything else is alright injury-wise, but the Beltran thing has to have us worried, even if there is nothing wrong with the way it went down. The nagging possibility that he _will_ need major surgery. I don't think we're talking a April 21st versus August 21st thing here. He'll be back in April....of either 2010 or 2011.

I know the Mets management isn't as inept as they're made out to be, PR or marketing or anything. The Internet tends to group very vocal minorities and in some cases caving in to them would actually hurt the overall 'product'. But they're too slow to throw us a bone here and there, and they do it because they know we want it, not because they want to expand the Mets aura with cool things like banner day.

I'm attached to the '99-'00 team. I'm slighly older than 25, but not old enough that I remember '86 and '88 as anything more than my parents being really excited and me missing my cartoons when the Astro game went into extras. The thing is, they shouldn't be feeling forced to welcome these guys back, and they should take any excuse to trump up past success and get people excited. Who cares how silly it is. Wright ties Strawberry for Home Runs as a Met, invite 5 (for Wright) Mets power hitters to Citi and celebrate it. Have them each throw a BP pitch to Wright to swing at. Honestly, I think the biggest issues the Mets front office has is they are woefully boring and uncreative.

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