Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Banner Day

Yesterday was Banner Day at Citi Field. It was the first time the Mets have hosted Banner Day since 1996. As I posted yesterday, I entered a banner into the competition and parade. It did not win.

Let me note a few things about how Banner Day was handled that I did not like. Before I do, I will say that it was entirely positive, save for a few small unnecessary worries.

The Mets announced the return of Banner Day back in November. I believe it was the same day in which the Mets showed off the new uniforms. It was all positive. I actually started getting ideas for my banner that night. Some of those ideas were still in place in my final banner. But the Mets did not actually announce any rules until 2 weeks before the event. I had already started working on my physical banner back in mid-April. One of the rules was about minimum size, which was not of any concern for me (I actually bought poster board at that size - 22x28 - and returned it on Saturday because it was too small for my needs). The other was about the content, in that "Banners must celebrate the Mets 50th Anniversary, expressing fans’ favorite memories or moments in franchise history". For me, that wasn't a concern. But I'm sure for some, it meant having to make last minute changes. The Mets really really could have done better announcing this back in February, March, or even back in November. They didn't need to announce judges or registration process until May, but it would have greatly helped to know the rules before starting.

The other part of the press release that scared me was that "Space is limited". What does "limited" mean? 100 banners? 200? 500? It turned out that about 300 banners were in the parade. I didn't hear of anyone being turned away because of space limitations. The parade started inside the stadium at maybe 11:30am, and lasted just over an hour. If there had been 500 banners, would they have had to turn people away, or let them parade and start the game late? Kind of glad the Mets didn't have to make that decision. Kind of glad for everyone.

A few people asked me about the banner parade. All I knew was what the Mets had in the press release, that registration began at 10am on 126th Street, logically with a line leading into the bullpen gate, and in reality, that line went past the building (I was number 080 and was just inside the limits of the building), back towards the subway and parking lot, and at some point, wrapped around onto the curb of 126th Street and back towards the building. What time did the parade start? I kind of figured that we wouldn't be on the field before 11am at the earliest because it made no sense for us to parade in front of an empty stadium. Like I mentioned earlier, it started at around 11:30am. Good, there were people inside cheering us on, including family and friends of paraders who were out with cameras. But the Mets said nothing about it. I'm glad the 1,000 or so people were in the park cheering us on that early. I wish it could have been more. The other reason why I had to guess about the parade start time was that the SNY TV listings said nothing about the parade. Had it been televised (and seriously, why didn't SNY televise it?), a program guide would have told me and others that the parade starts at 11:30. And if it had been televised, then lots of people could have seen all of the great banners that came out (not just mine), instead of the 1,000 or so people (maybe more by the time it was over) in the ballpark and the couple of banners that made it onto SNY during the pregame, game, and postgame coverage. And yes, mine did, but really only because of the two kids dressed as Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam that were in front of me.

With all that said, it really was a great day and a great show of Mets pride by the 300 groups of fans (some banners had 2 or 3 people involved, so it was maybe 750 people overall in the parade). I only have pictures of the tail end of the parade. I say it like that because I was in the relative-front part of the line, I marched, went upstairs, and then grabbed my camera.

Take a look at my photo album on facebook. Others have posted pictures too, both on facebook and on their blogs. These come from The New York Mets on facebook, and another set from the Mets on facebook is banners lining up outside.

Leave a comment or drop me a line at DyHrdMET [at] gmail [dot] com. Your comments will fall into a moderation queue.
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Banner Day at Shea

That's the title of my banner. Actually, the full title is "It's Banner Day At Shea: A Tribute To Banners and Signs in 50 Years Of the New York Mets". I don't know if the Mets will ask for a title, or just a name.

But if you're watching at the stadium or on TV, look for this (ok, I don't know if it will be broadcast on TV, but I'd have to think there will be highlights during the pregame show or during the game):

I plan on winning. For as much as I wanted this to be fun to be involved with, I've always thought my idea, both the original idea and the one I ended up with, were good enough to win. I'll explain all of that later tonight or tomorrow.

Let me explain the banner.
  • In the bottom left, it says "Met Power!". That is a tribute to Shea Stadium's "sign man", Karl Ehrhardt. That's a recreation of one of his signs, and perhaps his most famous.
  • Moving up is a recreation of the patch created in tribute to Gary Carter.
  • Moving up on the left side is the 3 retired numbers that today are somewhat hidden behind the crowd on the new LF Party Deck in front of the Great Wall of Flushing. They are also recreations, but I removed the black drop-shadow (hint hint).
  • And moving up again is the "K Corner" in tribute not only to Doc Gooden but to the fans who celebrated Doc in the mid 80s. It's another recreation based on a photo from "Mets Yearbook 1985".
  • Above that are recreations of 3 of the neon ballplayers from the exterior of Shea Stadium. And in it unfortunately are some glue spots.
  • At the top left it a tribute to a modern day sign, a twitter hash tag. This one is "#NotTonightBoss", something said (unfortunately) every game by @MetsWFAN producer/engineer Chris Majkowski. He has fun with it, but it's something that started before twitter lamenting about the lack of a no-hitter by a Mets pitcher.
  • Moving to the top right is another one that is a tribute to a great Met figure, Casey Stengel. I have come to learn that there was a sign posted during 1962 Spring Training that said "Stengelese Spoken Here", speaking about the weird language that the new Mets manager spoke. Please tell me I don't have to explain that to you. But it's probably the original sign with regards to the Mets.
  • Moving down on the right side are the other 3 neon figures from Shea.
  • Then is Sid Fernandez's fans' version of the "K Corner", where they counted strikeouts for Sid. That was recreated from a photo in Sid's profile in "50 Greatest Mets".
  • Continuing down the right side are the 2 World Series Championship banners, again recreated from photos. I felt there was only room to include those 2.
  • On the bottom right is a recreation from one of my favorite Banner Day banners, from 1969 (nearly how it was depicted in Mets Yearbook 1969). I changed the colors very slightly.
  • In the middle near the top is a tribute to the Shea Stadium scoreboard and DiamondVision screen - "Welcome to Banner Day at Shea Stadium". That's how those screens would have welcomed us to today in Shea's later days.
  • In the middle of the banner is my "centerpiece", an original piece based on a joking expression that I came up with about 3 years ago on this blog when I was thinking that the Mets should trash and rebuild, and by the 50th anniversary, they'd be better. It didn't work that way, but I liked the expression "Mets 2012: Rejuvenated at 50". The style of it is based on the new uniforms, which were introduced last November on the same day as Banner Day, which was the same day I came up with the first designs for this banner. "Mets 2012" is done in the style of the new blue Mets batting practice jersey as if there was a player wearing the number "2012". It's recreated from a photograph. "Rejuvenated" is in the font seen on the road jerseys (again, the new style because there's no black drop shadow) with the word "At" in the style of the players' name on the back of that jersey (as if there was a player named "At"). And that is an actual 50th Anniversary patch, because I wasn't going to try to draw it.

I hope you enjoy watching my banner as well as all of Banner Day. I will be posting photos on my Facebook page ( this morning, as well as telling you there how you can vote for me should it get that far.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hofstra Mets 50th Anniversary Conference

From April 26 through April 28, I attended a conference presented by the Hofstra University Cultural Center entitled "The 50th Anniversary of the New York Mets", which was held in memory of Hofstra University professor and conference co-director (and great Mets fan, author, and blogger) Dana Brand. Dana Brand passed away suddenly in May of last year at the age of 56.

Now let me mention the format of this conference. It almost resembles a college course schedule with the program resembling a college course book. Most of your time, assuming you didn't take a break from the schedule on your own, was filled in. Each "panel" was 90 minutes long, as were most "plenary sessions". During a 90 minute block of time, there were 2 or 3 concurrent panels, each with 3 papers/presentations that were tied together with a theme. Attendees had to choose which panel to attend (do I listen to people talking about the 1962 Mets or memorabilia and mascots?). Over the course of the 3 days, there were 10 such panels. Each presenter spoke for about 30 minutes and usually there was time for Q&A.

Most plenary sessions would run 90 minutes, and each was basically a roundtable discussion that included recognized names (old Mets sportswriters and sportscasters or former Met players, etc.) and were not in competition with any other panels. Over the course of the 3 days, there were also different book signings (as well as sales of those books), and Mets-themed documentaries were playing in the background in the multipurpose room.

Lunchtime each day was "Brown Bagging In The Bullpen With The Blogosphere", which was basically a 60 minute panel moderated by Faith and Fear in Flushing's Greg Prince that included a question to the bloggers in the audience from Greg and questions that played to a theme and from the audience.
(Greg Prince, left, and Faith and Fear co-blogger Jason Fry, center, with Taryn Cooper of A Gal For All Seasons, right)
(The crowd at a Brown Bagging lunch session. Michael Donato or Optimistic Mets Fan is in the center and Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information is in the blue shirt on the right)

Let me mention that most, if not all of the presenters were Mets fans, as were the co-directors of the conference and probably most of the attendees. There were a few special guests, including Keynote speaker John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball, and some members of the 1969 New York Mets. I did notice that a lot of the presenters, whether they are professors at other colleges or fans or bloggers or whatever did stay for the entire 3 days and attend other sessions. I really don't know how many people were just there in the audience without presenting and how many in attendance were also presenting something.

With that introduction, let me show you what I saw over the past 3 days. This is EVERY panelist that I saw over the 3 days at Hofstra. There were quite a few concurrent panels which I was not able to attend. If it's not enabled, please click on "Show Info" to see the captions and descriptions of each picture. You may need to view in full screen first.

I know Dana Brand would have loved this conference. Last May, when Dana passed away, I suggested that Dana might be "[s]omewhere, up in heaven or in the great beyond (you know the place, I think it's next to "Iowa")", thinking that he might be part of that mystical setting in the movie Field of Dreams. I'd want to think that during the 3 days that I was at Dana's conference at Hofstra, Dana was director of his own Mets 50th Anniversary Conference up on that magical corn field. I'd want to think that he had panels that included Branch Rickey, Bill Shea, and Mrs. Joan Payson speaking about the origins of the Mets; Sports cartoonist Ray Gatto talking about the Mets logo; Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson talking about the 50 year history of the New York Mets; Gil Hodges talking about coming home in 1962, wining the championship in 1969, and maybe making his own case for being in the Hall of Fame; Shea Stadium itself would share pictures and memorabilia from its 45 years; Tug McGraw and Lindsey Nelson talking about the 1973 "Ya Gotta Believe Mets"; Gary Carter and Bob Murphy talking about the 1986 championship; and the Keynote Address from Casey Stengel.

I know Dana Brand couldn't be with us in person at Hofstra, but he was certainly there in spirit.

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