IF THE SKILL SETS NEED TO EMBRACE THE FAN BASE, MAKE US YOUR PARTNER

As a guy who has trouble balancing a check book, all this financial talk of the Skill Sets and the financial stability of the franchise has my head aching. What The Skill Sets knew and when they knew it about the Madoff Ponzi scheme is still not known and if an out of court settlement comes about, we may never know but what we do know is the brand of the New York Mets has been tainted.

Maybe this is why the organization has embraced the Mets blogging community, why not go to the folks whose love for the team is undying and let them be involved in events that we never dreamed we’d be a part of. I am very much appreciative of the organization for the opportunity they have given me with access to Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and various players but the folks the organization really needs to reach out to you guys who read this site and other Mets blogs and buy the tickets and watch SNY and buy team merchandise because you are the life blood of the franchise.

The news of the Skill Sets cash call could not come at a worse time. Season ticket sales are down and there doesn’t seem to be a big demand for single game tickets either, those go on sale in March. The biggest argument and it is a very fair criticism, is that the ticket prices are way to high. Now add in the news that the Skill Sets are strapped for cash most fans will feel that by buying a ticket to a Mets game will be paying for the Skill Sets Defense Fund. I’m not saying it is but that’s the perception.

A couple of pluses could come out of this firestorm. Yesterday I attended SABR DAY at Foleys Bar in Manhattan an event that was put together by SABR and Baseball Prospectus. It was a great afternoon of baseball talk with baseball fans and writers. Two of the panelists were Mets play by play man, Gary Cohen and Newsday baseball writer, Ken Davidoff. When the Q & A session began the Skill Sets money woes came up. Cohen didn’t have much to say on the topic and with good reason I guess, but Davidoff claimed that as far as the baseball operation goes it may be good for the team. It seems this had been brewing for some time and Davidoff confirmed what I’ve been told for years and what I’ve written about here, that Jeffey Skill Sets is a big part of the problem. Between Jeffey and Omar they wanted to be friends with everyone from players to front office people and anytime a tough decision had to be made neither man could pull the trigger. The Tony Bernazzard firing is a prime example, the team had to be humiliated by the media before they’d let Bernazard go as he was friends with both Jeffey and Omar. Davidoff stated this will not happen under Sandy Alderson as he will not tolerate it. The panel consensus was by putting Alderson in charge it takes Jeffey out of the baseball ops decision making except on money issues. So if there is a plus out of this fiasco it’s muzzling Jeffey. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard folks who cover the team say “Now there is an adult in charge” well, you’d be looking at a 25 % owner of the Mets.

The Mets will have to really work hard on marketing this team for 2011 and beyond. The best way to start is by ripping out those club seats behind home plate and replace them with seats that honest to goodness baseball fans can purchase. Not only would be good business but it go a long away to getting some positive baseball atmosphere in Citi Field. Every time you tune into a Mets game on TV, those seats are empty because the ticket holders for those seats couldn’t care less about the game going on as long as the free booze and food are flowing in the Delta Club. The organization lowered some ticket prices but they are still ridiculous. The Skill Sets have taken a massive hit on their credibility, if they want to win the fans back they have a lot of wooing to do. This is year three of Citi Field and the place still has no identity. Is it a playground for the well to do? Is it a food court with a ball park attached? How games have you sat in your seats watching a game a looked out toward centerfield marveling at the line of people who stand on line waiting to buy a hamburger? When people would rather wait on a line for a half hour to forty-five minutes for a burger than watch your team, you have a problem.

It’s time Mets ownership comes to the realization that in order to make this franchise great again it has to embrace the working stiff Mets fan. One thing you know about us working stiffs, we are loyal to the team and we show up and support the club in good times and in bad. Not like some rich thieving scumbag who but a knife in the Skill Sets back.  You want to sell 25 % of the club? Just make the real true blue and orange Mets fan feel like you actually care about them and make the Citi Field experience that wants fans to  come back rather than say good riddance and I guarantee you’ll see so much success that this cash call will be just a bad dream.

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Comments

  1. Mark Landau says:

    That was a great post, Kraney.

    I’m going to add this b/c I know the Mets front office will read this: I am 45 years old but, despite that, I’m still kinda cool. I’m writing that about myself because I don’t want you to have the image so I’m some old guy saying, “hey, you kids, turn that dang music down!”

    But hey you kinds, turn that dang music down! I get it that they are trying to appeal to a younger demographic but going to Citifield for me has been a miserable experience. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. And this is coming from someone who used to go to every “banner day” doubleheader back in the day so that I could spend 8 hours at the ballpark.

    I attended a game last year with my cousin who I wanted to catch up with and there was barely an instant where we could talk or, yo know, discuss the game. Every moment was filled with music or some cheesy promotion or some animated race or anything but the idea that you could sit back and take in a baseball game and have a conversation with your companion. Constantly loud, constant distractions from the game, the opposite of the Wrigley Field experience now or how Shea used to be (years ago).

    Hey Fred, as an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan I find it hard to believe you like the constant distractions/noise at the stadium. Can you hear it from your box? That wasn’t a crack at the rich; I’m literally asking. Whomever is advising you that more revenue will flow by dumbing down the game experience and guessing which animated car (or whatever it is) wins a race is giving you bad advice. I used to love to go to baseball games and have no desire to go now.

    And, yes, by the way it is currently a food court with a ballpark attached – it feels very corporate. Kraney is right about the seats behind home plate – that’s common sense. And paint the outfield wall blue, too – why does it look like the SF giants play there.

    Ok, I’m done. But I’m not a crazy fan, Fred; I’m telling you the truth. I’m not saying you have to bring back men in suits, ties and hats like we see in 1950′s game films. I’m not saying you can’t have any promotions or any between innings or between pitches fun. I’m saying that right now the experience is actually a food court with a cacophony attached and as long as that continues attending isn’t not that much at a very high price.

    Wow, I feel better now.

  2. Mark Landau says:

    Ok, tons of typos above but I assume you get the point :)

  3. Mark Landau says:

    End was supposed to say “not that much fun at a very high price.” Guess I can’t type when I’m ranting.

  4. kranepool says:

    @Mark Landau

    Mark you said it all and it’s what I’ve been trying to tell Mets management about that the Citi Field experience needs to be addressed. From the stupid t shirts shot out of a cannon where adults beat the shit out of each other for a t shirt that won’t even fit them, to the usher who sees your both hands are full with food and drink and asks to see your ticket Time for a wake up call in Flushing

  5. Bring back banner day and old timers day. Banner day can be after a Sunday game. Have one of those 1 price with beer and dogs sections. GET RID OF THE JACKIE ROBINSON ROTUNDA. I have not met one fan who is in favor of it. Let anyone who is willing to pay go to the Acela Club which really is worth the money. Why is the left field landing so expensive when the view is lousy. I could go on but you get the point.

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