Monday, November 23, 2009

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

A few days ago, the Mets send out a press release detailing some changes to Citi Field for 2010. They're "Metsing-up" the place, giving us what we've been asking for, what we've been missing in Citi Field. It's quite possible that this will be the first time in a long time that the Mets do something right. It's also possible that this is another example of the Mets trying to do something good and them simply doing it wrong. Not once in there did the Mets appologize for doing it wrong in the first place.

Let me break some of this press release down and share why I think the latter will be true.

RENAMING OF AREAS IN BALLPARK The Mets will rename and visually theme Citi Field's VIP entrances and outfield bridge after individuals who made an indelible mark on the club. First Base VIP will be named after Hodges to honor the manager who led the Mets to their first World Championship in 1969. Third Base VIP will honor Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher and Mets leader in wins, earned run average and strikeouts. Left Field VIP will be named after Stengel, the first manager in Mets history. The outfield bridge will be dedicated as Shea Bridge, honoring the legacy of the man who was the driving force to bring National League baseball back to New York after the departure of the Dodgers and Giants.

The VIP entrances are getting named the "Gil Hodges [First Base] VIP entrance", the "Tom Seaver [Third Base] VIP entrance", and "Casey Stengel [Left Field] VIP entrance". I think they forgot the "Marv Thronberry [Left Field] common man entrance" and the "George Theodore [Right Field] common man entrance". I don't know what good it is to have these entrances themed by some of the most elite Mets and yet most fans won't be allowed to see it since we're nothing more than P's, and hardly "Important", let alone "Very Important" in the Mets' eyes.

And they'll name the bullpen bridge the "Shea Bridge". This we'll see and we'll walk all over many times at the ballpark. If the Mets were really listening to the fans, they would have gone with the name "Gil Hodges Bridge" that we've been using all season. I think that one came from Howie Rose.

I would have kept the Gil Hodges name on the bridge, attached Casey Stengel's name to the plaza behind home plate on the Promenade level (Casey Stengel Plaza, same as I remember on a street designation outside Shea), made the "Shea entrance" at the Rotunda, and named the LF entrance after Tom Seaver. Having to pick another name for the RF entrance is tough - Koosman (i.e. Seaver and Koosman), Piazza, Gooden, Strawberry, etc.

METS HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM & HALL OF FAME COMMITTEE The centerpiece for Mets memorabilia will be the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum, located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and accessible from both inside and outside the ballpark. A re-formed Mets Hall of Fame Committee will evaluate potential inductees, and is comprised of a combination of media members with a long-standing connection to the club and Mets front office staff.

This is good. I can see in my mind a real museum setting looking at a long wall with a timeline of the Mets. Something that has lots of space for future entries. Mookie's bat from the famous at-bat would be on display. Doc's uniform pants worn by Darryl Strawberry on Opening Day 1987 would be on display. Lenny Dykstra's 1986 World Series ring. Jerry Koosman's 1969 Mets and 2009 prison uniforms would be on display. The second base that Robin Ventura never touched. Jesse Orosco's glove from the championship toss. Eddie Kranepool. You get the idea. Maybe the timeline portion of the exhibit could be made up of the different Mets pocket schedules. Maybe we get to see the Mets yearbook covers. A corner dedicated to the 1964 All-Star game, and another for the "Shea Goodbye" event. I could go on and on.

If this were part of the original design, I would say the museum would be IN the Rotunda instead of next to it, but I won't go there now. I certainly can't ask that the Jackie Robinson exhibit be taken down. I do like that the museum would be available from both inside and outside. If memory serves me correctly, that space is occupied by a team store right now.

And we have the re-formation of a Hall of Fame committee. The press release goes on to say that Marty Noble, who's covered NY National League Baseball since the early 1900s, and Mets fans #1a Howie Rose and #1b Gary Cohen are on this committee (numbering them is no knock on them, rather a compliment for the fact that the biggest voices representing the Mets are two of the biggest fans). Dave Howard and Jay Horwitz, the other "voices" of the Mets, Tina Mannix, ex-Met Al Jackson, and little Jeffy Wilpon are also on the committee. I hope they're active. I read on one of the blogs a suggestion that they elect two Mets per season. I'm not even sure what I want here, but with Howie, Gary, and Marty there, I'm comfortable with it.

More details from the Mets will be coming at a later date. I hope this is ready for Opening Day. I also hope no one affiliated with team ownership is inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame (Joan Payson, the first owner, was the first inductee in 1981, which I do support).

IMAGERY & TEAM COLORS Next season, fans will be greeted by Mets colors as they approach Citi Field with full-color banners of Mets players on Mets Plaza in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Mets logos will be added on entry points to the parking areas and on the light poles in the parking lots. The addition of team colors will continue inside the ballpark with staircases painted with blue and orange and more Mets logos throughout the ballpark. Flowers in the gardens at Mets Plaza in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda will also be blue and orange.

I always though those staircases looked too boring in its brick-gray. I liked Shea's different levels being painted each in a single different color, matching the color of the seats from that level. That was something done earlier this decade. It kind of let you know where you were. I also remember from my visit to Philly that a lot of poles and beams were painted in the dark maroon color of the Phillies' color scheme. Orange and blue stair cases could be good.

More Mets logos will also be welcome. Let's hope this is done better than the imagery added to the ballpark last summer. Shea was beautiful with its bright colors shining through. Citi Field needs to be the same. In 2009, it was more grayscale.

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