Giants And Mets
As I was watching the Giants game a few Sundays ago, I was overcome by a warm glow. It was the same warm glow I felt when the Mets’ season was mercifully over. If two ownerships couldn’t get a more deserving season’s end, they’re the Giants and the Mets.
Building two new stadiums to house the Mets and Giants in this economy was blatantly unnecessary. Could the teams have stayed in their old digs until the economy improved? You betcha! But, they could not have sold luxury boxes because the old stadiums, the blue collar stadiums, weren’t into luxury. They were into the game. If they retained the old stadiums, owners couldn’t have co-oped the seats demanding, in some instances, $30,000 to reserve a seat for the duration of the current subscriber’s ticket tenure. Just in case your math is fuzzy, that’s $120,000 for a family of four, money that Giants’ ownership holds in a noninterest bearing account. Yes. The money will be returned when the tickets are resold; but, that’s $120,000 Giants’ ownership holds that only gives the subscriber the right to purchase season’s tickets.
The Mets, not much better than the Giants, feel comfortable taking a fan’s money in a forced package ticket deal that demands buyers pay for games they don’t want to see so they can see games that they do. Isn’t this sort of extortion?
The only way ownership could have justified building new stadiums to average fans is if they had built them with retractable roofs. Do either of the stadiums have a retractable roof? Naw! That would be too intelligent a manoeuver. Just think of the versatility of an enclosed, climate controlled stadium in or near New York City. Stadiums would be available for concerts and conventions. During the US Open tennis tournament if it rained, portable courts could be assembled at the Mets roofed stadium to forestall what happened last US Open with the heavy doses of continuous of rain. And, more obviously, during the baseball season, the Mets could actually count on playing each one of their scheduled games on schedule. Not! Can you imagine if Tisch pulled a Wilpon and paid homage to the Rams in the rotunda of the Meadowlands stadium?
Both the Mets and the Giants were touted this preseason to, at the minimum, get to the playoffs. Admittedly, each team lost valuable starters. Then, they just disintegrated. Despite $270 that was paid for my seat at a Mets game, I witnessed the Wilpons giving up on the season before it was half gone putting their wallets on the DL clearly sticking it to ticket holders. Their bench was horrendous and their farm teams worse. I thought to myself, I could go to the Parade Grounds in Brooklyn and see more competent players for the cost of one discounted toll. I consoled myself by thinking the Mets would surely make some moves in the off season to shore up the weak points: first base, catcher, left field, starting pitching. Then I came to my senses, “Why would I believe that Omar Minaya would pursue the missing pieces to their team puzzle during the off season when he neglected to make necessary moves the second half of last year’s regular season? I must have had a brain cramp to think the fan’s desires and team’s needs would have been taken into consideration by ownership. Met-wise, is there any assurance that those starters who were on the DL last year will be healthy this year?
The Giants started the season with a bang and ended it with a whimper. Manning, whom I’ve been panning his entire career, did show improvement: but I still cringe every time he gets a delay of game penalty especially following a time out. In truth, his offensive line often failed to give him enough time to locate a receiver. Giants’ offense never established a running game even with Jacobs, their franchise player. Should they have dumped thunder and kept lightening? I watched Pierce and the line backing corps decline in skill as they advanced in age and falter further when Pierce went out for the season with a bad neck. I saw a defensive line with fewer total sacks than Michael Strahan had in half a season. I observed defensive tackling that looked like their defense had just gotten manicures and didn’t
Letters want to smudge the polish. Their kickoffs often didn’t even reach the fifteen yard line giving their opponents excellent field position. Their play-calling was uninspired. They faked fans out by winning the first five games of the season. But, we soon learned they played great against bad teams and bad against great teams.
How can the Mets’ problems be solved? How about firing Omar and Jerry for starters? How about scouting in the colleges and junior colleges in the United States for a change? How about spending some smart money in the free agent market? Bay is a decent first step. When looking at the Phillies improved roster, a Met fan has to be in awe of the distance they created from the Mets with their acquisitions. Even at 100% it is doubtful we will ever catch them. Woe is me!
How can the Giants’ problems be addressed? How about getting rid of the defensive coach and the offensive coach for starters? Why not look for a fullback who can average more than a yard a carry. Their lines must get younger and probably their head coach.
Within the last decade I, as a New Yorker, have made the following observations sports-wise: The Rangers play like strangers and the Knicks play like (you fill it in but be sure to make it rhymes). The Mets play like the Nets and nothing rhymes with the Giants, but their play resembles dudes who just don’t want to mix it up. Under diminishing productivity, Mets and Giants are making it tough for fans to pay pumped up ticket prices for mediocre or worse teams. Camera pans of the stands may show empty seats in the new Giants’ Stadium during its inaugural year. The last time that happened, their games were blacked out on TV. Mets have already begun to see how disenchanted their fan base is by the empty seats at Citi. Giant fans, those blue collar guys who lived and died with the team for generations have shown they can’t afford today’s usury freight by shunning ticket purchases to such an extent that the sales office has gone right through their uber-years waiting lists.
This used to be a country where a working stiff could afford what he desired in moderation: He could pay for his needs and the needs of his family, his children’s education and have a bit left over for sports tickets. As far as that treasured sports’ ticket is concerned; and, in the words of Mel Allen (and later Sal Marciano), “You can kiss that baby goodbye.”