Here's an idea for the Mets' 50th anniversary season (next year). Celebrate every weekend homestand (pick a day game each weekend) with a countdown of the greatest Mets players over the first 50 seasons. And retire their numbers.
Think about it. Let the fans vote on it over the offseason. Now I realize that in some of these cases, the Mets need to bring these people and their families back to New York for their weekend, and everyone's schedules won't always line up. And you never know how good the weekend schedule will look in 2012 (with FOX 4pm starts, night home games, and the dreaded switch to a Sunday night game, and the Yankees series). But let's play this out on paper.
13 home weekends (I think that's actually part of the schedule formula, since there's 26 weeks in a season). Subtract the Yankees weekend, so 12 weekends. Let's countdown 8 players (9 through 2), and then declare Tom Seaver #1 on the list, and his number is already retired (maybe we'll figure out something to do with him later). This may include players already in the Mets Hall of Fame (jeez, I think it should), and should involve the same "team" in charge of selecting such players (which includes Howie Rose and Gary Cohen) along with the fan voting.
And let's make it a permanent part of Citi Field by unveiling a full colored, non-sponsored banner inside the stadium for each player (without a rank, since a current or future Met may move up that list). Other stadia have banners like this without any purpose. Even the Mets Spring Training home has them affixed to the inner-pillars on the concourse. Now that I think of it, get the company that did last off-season's colorization of Thomas J. White Stadium, Digital Domain (ok, it's actually now Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie) to do this work. Have Joe Petruccio design them. Maybe unveil two a week (one as part of the retired numbers group and one as part of a "favorite Mets" group).
All of this should be one of the many season-long 50th anniversary Mets promotions. Maybe on mid-week night games (once per week), the Mets would honor a favorite Met, an obscure Met (just for Howie Rose), or one of the non-Pennant winning Mets playoff teams (1988, 1999, 2006). Each with banners of their own in the rafters of Citi Field. I think there's 12 of these mid-week series. Then pick 4 games or full weekends in which to honor the 4 Mets NL Pennant winners (1969, 1973, 1986, 2000), to go along with the top 9 players-not-named-Seaver honored on their weekends. Hang a banner for each team and each manager among the 4 pennant winners.
Wait, there's synergy in numbers...ya, this will work. There's 12 non-Yankee weekends during a season, so pick a game each weekend in which to honor an NL Pennant-winning Mets team or one of the 9 greatest Mets (sorry Seaver, we know you're #1, but there's no room for you here) by retiring their number. Enshrine that player in the Mets Hall of Fame if necessary. Heck, each of these Pennant-winning teams should be in the HOF too.
And Let's hang the first banner - Tom Seaver's - on Opening Day.
And while we're at it, let's officially name the area outside the Rotunda as "Casey Stengel Plaza", with some sort of sign marking it as such. Casey Stengel Plaza was the name of one of the Shea Stadium access roads off 126th street near Gates D and E. There is absolutely no reason to have lost this distinction.
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