Going to the ball park to enjoy your favorite team is always a good time, win or lose, if you are a true fan. The experience you have as the crowd is tailgating before the game or riding the 7line to the stadium is exhilarating. Filtering into the turnstiles with the masses is something that inspires a fan to an inevitable hope that, at least for that day, you will be watching a winner. Then you realize that as a New York Mets fan, reality will creep in soon enough and your ace on the mound can’t even get out of the second inning. Before long, the jubilation begins to fade and the speculation of what changes your team needs to make in the offseason are predominant.
Once again, reality sets in even further and you realize you have Fred and Jeff Wilpon as your ownership and the following year will be a wash also. Welcome to CitiField 2012, where the seats are half empty, and the grumblings are loud. Yet, for all the gripes, fans still find it within themselves to go to the stadium and attempt to cheer for their beloved Mets. Until Jason Bay is asked to pinch hit and the boo-birds come out louder than the ones for Chipper Jones. It is at that precise moment when you suddenly lose that last grain of confidence in your management team.
Going to CitiField last night for the Mets vs. Atlanta Braves, with Johan Santana returning to the mound after a short stint on the disabled list was a day at the park, and not much else. To watch Santana unfold like he did in the second inning was painful and anti-climactic for all fans. We expect more from the man who brought this franchise it’s only no-hitter in history. We expect Santana, as our ace to at least be able to last until the fifth. As fans, we also expect for Larry Jones to get booed. Can we expect, though, that the boos for Bay will be heard in the owners suite? Probably not.
Understand Mets fans, that Bay will not be going anywhere and the boos will not encourage his departure. For all intents and purposes, at least Bay is a hustler who has tried on every play and can never be considered a slacker. He has not hit, I get that. He has not had a healthy stay in New York, I get that also. And yes, I want to boo him as incessantly as the next fan. The message is sent, though, in the empty confines at CitiField. The attendance might have shown 30,000 or so fans, but it looked far less than that. That is where the Wilpons will see the message. In revenue dropping and empty seats. That is the only thing that will get their attention.
Just over 25,000 fans were present on Friday night for Matt Harvey’s CitiField debut. You are talking about 60% capacity. For a Mets rookie with the promise that Harvey has, this should be unacceptable to the Wilpons. Hopefully the message will start to be heard loud and clear for the offseason. Mets fans are not asking for much. Maybe an outfielder or two, and a little bullpen help to prevent the blown games. This team as it stands can improve greatly in 2013 with only minimal additions to compliment their rising stars. Will the Wilpons hear the message? Hopefully, because if not, CitiField will be looking more and more like Sun Life Stadium, home to the Miami Marlins or Tropicana Field, home to the Tampa Bay Rays. From that point, the silence will be deafening.
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