Archives for posts with tag: Mets Museum

Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing points out:

Hi Paul,

Further investigation has revealed Keith’s photographer at Yankee
Stadium the other night was Sean Hannity, not Bill O’Reilly. The
principle holds, however. Ballparks make strange batfellows.

Cheers to Greg for catching my gaffe; it’s now corrected in the original post.  At this point in my blog development, I’d imagined a crack research squad at my beck and call.  Or, at the very least, that I’d be able to tell the difference between Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.  I’d like to chalk it up to sleep deprivation or the blessed lack of exposure to either O’Reilly or Hannity, but while both are true, I just loused up. 

Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays.  Oprah, Uma.  Guinness, Smithwick’s.

If you don’t read Faith And Fear In Flushing often, you should, and if you’re thinking about it now and have come to the conclusion that you really can’t spare the time, read this latest post by Greg’s blogmate, Jason Fry: it’s hilarity I tried hard to work in a reference to yesterday, but couldn’t.  So just read.  Their work is stellar and I have them to thank for making me feel that I’m not doing this in a vacuum.  Truly important when the chips are down and the choice is develop/write a piece, or sleep.  I’d always rather the Mets than sleep.

To that end, I don’t know who got some people all a-flutter on my piece re: a Mets museum (hello to folks out in Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Narragansett, Rhode Island; and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in Toronto), but thanks for the push on that one over the weekend.  I worked hard on it, and I think it’d be important for someone to do.  Anyway, from your eyes to the Wilpons’ ears, I guess.

Two entries left in Better Know A First Baseman, and then we move on.  I think I’m in Stage Three of baseball withdrawal, wherein I consider again trying to rediscover my love for basketball, just to fill in the hours.  That’ll pass.

But between Stage Three and Stage Whatever, a pause for thorough acknowledgment that I should be more careful, and a gracious thank you to Mr. Prince for catching my slip-ups.  Greg, thanks for the kind words; I owe you an email.

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Got a comment from “daled@optonline.net” that I didn’t see until today:

A new comment has been posted on your blog Section Five Twenty-Eight, on entry #1252431 (One Hundred And One Things You Didn’t Know About John Olerud: Part One).
 
You’re an idiot
 
Commenter name: daled@optonline.net
Commenter email address: daled@optonline.net
Commenter URL:
Commenter IP address: 69.123.221.94

Now, Dale from Oceanside, NY–ran a search on the IP address–is correct.  I am an idiot.  I’ve known for some time.  As a matter of fact, I declared as much to my fellow college seniors during our graduation dinner.  “I will graduate Bennington College in five days, secure in the knowledge that I am an idiot.”  There’s tape of this.

I figure part of what led Dale to call me an idiot is all this list-making, and while I won’t stop making the list (unless the Mets or John Olerud give me a call, but really, I feel it’s quite complimentary), I will refrain from listing the reasons why I’m an idiot.

What I will do is offer the same explanation I offered those at Bennington: I’m an idiot because I don’t know much about much.  I know how to write a screenplay; I’ve got that locked down.  I know how to perform various administrative tasks, ranging from the mundane to the complex and intricate. 

Contrary to popular belief, I know when to keep my mouth shut.  Some who know me well might disagree strongly.  Reality is I speak up in those moments when waiting will just be too tedious.

Your blogger knows how to play the flute and the harmonica.  He also knows the lyrics to hundreds of songs, including Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice.”

But there’s a whole world I don’t know about and can’t access.  Sabermetrics?  No dice.  I really want to understand it, though.  I have no idea what got into Hideki Kuroda last night, and I sort of don’t want to know–whatever he’s got, I don’t wanna catch.  I read and watched the saga of Jose Reyes, and I feel like an idiot because while I think I know what went on, I can’t say for certain.

This is becoming a list, and I promised I wouldn’t start listing.  Let’s just leave it at I don’t know much about much.

The beauty, as I explained to my fellow morons five and a half years ago, is that we can rely on each other to solve our idiocy.  While I still don’t want to know much about Kuroda and whatever his problem is, I can speak with others and come to an understanding of why one doctor said Reyes tore a tendon and another doctor said it was just the effect of a rough night of voodoo.  I can certainly seek out reference material drafted by bright, incisive minds, and come to understand how UZR is computed.

Note that I said “solve our idiocy.”  For as much as I’m an idiot, I’ll put dollars to doughnuts on the probability that Dale from Oceanside is a Class-A Fool as well.  The difference between us is some nuanced level of self-control–see comment left with little supporting data.  Perhaps it’s more incomplete or short-sighted than dumb to leave such a criticism without defending it, but this is a blog whose mission is to make me feel better, not provide much at all in the way of probing analysis.  Really, my point here is: why split hairs?

I don’t know what I can teach others about baseball besides the rules and some anecdotal history.  I’m compelled, in a search for more pervasive idiocy, to take a look at some of the things I’ve advocated: a Mets video program to coexist with a museum; the hiring of a sharp, savvy communications director to be the public face of the business; the nixing of sponsored fan giveaways in exchange for sponsored reductions in ticket prices.  I imagine this’ll happen during the off-season as well.

I’m still flummoxed by Kuroda, really.  How do you… well.  They can’t all be winners.  But stating that is, in part, what led to my being called an idiot in the first place.

Kudos, Dale.  Keep callin’ ’em as you see ’em.

Letters.  I get letters. I get half a dozen letters.
 
Letters:

**These have been sanitized and edited, lightly, to keep my head from blowing off. There’s such a thing as a difference between a plural and a possessive, folks. 

If you’d like, email me at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.
 

“Like your idea about the Mets Museum, but it’s just too small. 200,
300 people? That park holds THOUSANDS. Space is too small and they’ll
never do it. Even if, I could just see them ****ing it up like
everything else.”

 
Think I should work backward here:
 

  • I don’t grant the premise that the Mets **** up everything.

  • They either will or they won’t. I think space is the least of the concerns with the idea. Harder still is the thought that they’d be into putting together the workforce to produce these segments, to say nothing about handing over some editorial control to these guys.

  • Putting this together would appear to require a sea change in the way the ownership and management thinks about the team. It’s hard to put yourself in the position of teaching tool, showing your team’s great plays even if they came in a loss.  That’s before wrangling together all the permissions and partnerships.  That doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s worth it; that just means it’d be hard. Shouldn’t shy away from hard, though.

  • I think the viewing rooms should hold two to three hundred in aggregate. The museum itself (adding the Hall Of Fame stuff to it) could hold a hundred or a couple hundred more. I’ll take a look at the spot I posited again, but that was really just a general suggestion of where to put it, if on the current property.  I don’t think you want it any bigger than four hundred; that becomes a bear to evacuate in case of emergency. Additionally, people should be coming to see the game, not the museum. This should be a novelty.

 
There were a couple of other emails that fell into the same general category.  In fact, two were nearly identical:
 

“They’ll never go for it. Too expensive and Madoff Madeoff-ha-with too much of their $$.”

 
That Madoff/Madeoff thing is getting old. Guy’s in prison; it’s done.
 
But given what could be made on DVD compilations of the sets (“Watch May’s Mets Museum Series from the comfort of your own home! Only $15.99!”), and the uptick in concessions sales you’d see by getting people to the park a couple hours earlier, I think the trade-off is worthwhile.
 
What we’re really talking about is a way to get more people to the park, increase revenue and develop new streams of it, and changing the way people perceive ownership/management when it comes to handling the Mets’ image.
 
I’m not saying it’ll ever happen. I’m just saying it’s more interesting for me to think about than trying to gin up trade ideas. Not that I don’t do that, either. And on that note:
 

“Why don’t you ever talk about what the Mets need for next year? Your guys are in for a world of hurt”

 
Quickly? Left fielder, righty off the bench. Second, third starters. A way to get rid of Fauxhawk’s (Oliver Perez’s) contract. A legitimate first baseman. A quality backup infielder that’s SPEEDY.
 
A time machine for Fernando Tatis. A deal with the devil to lock Luis Castillo into his 2009 form. A cage in which to lock Sean Green whenever he’s been bad. A clue as to what to do with Bobby Parnell.
 
That’s for starters.
 
I think I mention it subtly. I don’t have their ear, and I don’t know diddly about what’s out there save for what I read on ESPN and MLB and various Mets blogs that suggest trade ideas. I’m trying to be original. Last time I ham-handedly thought a big trade was in the offing, I thought the move for Chowdah was the first step to getting Roy Halladay.
 
THAT… was incorrect.  And speaking of Chowdah:
 

“Like the blog! Good writing. Who the hell is Chowdah?”

 
Chowdah is Jeff Francoeur. Somewhere on this site is a clip from an episode of The Simpsons where Diamond Joe Quimby’s nephew berates a French waiter.
 
“Say it, Frenchy! Say ‘Chowdah’!”
 
And speaking of that:
 

“Ur a moron.”

True, but not for the reasons you may think, and not for anything listed above.

I once tried to get a friend to eat a sandwich that was just two slices of white bread and a huge honkin’ schmear of vegemite.  He said he would but we never got around to arranging a date and time to do this.  So, one lonely night, I decided I would.  And I did. And I nearly died.
 
Yet another shining example of why The Wife should wrap up grad school as soon as possible: I’m liable to kill myself if she’s away much longer.
 
I’m out to the game tonight, to catch the Mets playing the Washington Nationals in what I’m sure will be dubbed “The Blind Leading The Blind Bowl.” Seeing as how my camera is once again responding to external stimuli, but my laptop is now literally held together by duct tape, I can’t promise pictures and a recap right away.

But as the Mets are now only getting the AP and second-stringer treatment from the Times, perhaps everyone’s bar for coverage has been set a little lower.
 
Let’s go Mets!

Some have asked for my email address in the post which mentions that I can now be emailed.  It’s there now, though I now fear spammers will inundate me.

In case you don’t wish to go the extra click, the address is omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

I live life like Billy Crystal’s character in City Slickers.  6:40a today.

::Phone rings.::

Me: Hello.
My mother: Hi, nino.
Me: Hi, Mom.

My mother
: Tu sabes que paso hoy? (Forgive lack of upside-down question mark and Spanish.  Translation: You know what happened today?)
Me: I have a pretty good idea.

My mother
: Happy birthday, nino.
Me: Thank you.

My mother
: What are you doing today?
Me: Think I might shower and go to work.  Don’t know much besides that.

My mother
: Oh, okay.

Me
: See you tomorrow, Mom.
My mother: Bye, nino.  Have a good day.

I have a feeling the day will be just fine. 

Then again, I had a feeling last week that the night was going to be a good, good night. 

That turned out not to be true.

…Maybe if I can seek out some sort of pastry with a candle in it, I’ll make a wish.

I’ll be at Two Boots Tavern this evening because it’s the last Amazin’ Tuesday event, and because I’m stubborn: my record at non-ball park organized Mets events stands at 0-5, which is ridiculous given my outrageously good record at the park; I think I’ve seen twenty percent of the Mets wins at home this season.

The event is the brainchild of the folks over at Faith And Fear In Flushing; catch the details here.  Those who attend and wish to say hi may get a further invite to Pacific Standard in downtown Brooklyn, home of the $3 mid-week pint and a Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball machine, which is dutifully awaiting pwnage by me. 

That being the case, don’t feel obligated to say hi.  I may not be much of a conversationalist when the quarters drop in.

Coverage of the reading/discussion, and questions answered on my harebrained Mets Museum idea, to come tomorrow,

Let’s go Mets!

My weekend was overtaken by Bostonians and Bostonians by way of deep abiding love (as well as by way of North Bennington, VT) and by a special kind of lethal cough syrup known, quite coincidentally, as Castillo Rum.  All this, and a poorly formatted poetry reading on Vanderbilt Avenue..
 
I watched my Mets games late, but unfiltered by bloggitude. I don’t know that I even turned on my laptop once from Friday evening to Sunday evening.  My hands were busy with remotes and either food or drink. A football doubleheader and a baseball doubleheader on a single Sunday is, yes, a heady thing, and I’m kicking myself slightly for not grabbing a widescreen during the last sale bonanza–though, if I’m honest with myself, there’s no logical place to hang it.
 
In short, the Mets are now mathematically eliminated from the race for the National League East. I haven’t checked the wild card (and right now, my train is stuck between the 45th and 36th street stations in Brooklyn), but I’m fairly certain there’s no shot there, either.  The nails, however many there were, are now all present and at least in the coffin; getting to .500 won’t happen, either.
 
I’ve taken enough medicine this weekend. So I hereby give up all hope, as there’s no logic to support such a cause.

Shame. A damn shame, is what this garbage is.
 
But life’s too short to dwell, and I’m in the business of making reasonable suggestions, such as “Get rid of the spineless music played prior to game time,” or “intentional walks should be banned when the pitching rotation is decimated.”  Time to look forward.
 
I’ll offer team make-up thoughts in the weeks ahead.  But I’m delinquent on thoughts for a Mets museum, and as I wish there were such a beast there now as what I’m about to describe, I feel it’s appropriate to discuss.

So here’s my first draft, woefully lacking in some crucial research but, paradoxically, not hurt by the failing.

That was almost a sentence.
 
**

It begins with grit.
 
Jayson Stark’s article on ESPN about how to fix the Mets has been taken to task for a heavy reliance on anonymous sources, who can be cherry-picked to reflect whatever agenda the storyline demands.
 
I’m not accusing Stark of having an agenda; regardless of the book he’s written or how he made his bones before his DUI mugshot of a profile pic was taken (that’s a cheap hit, but it’s staying), he’s entitled to his opinion; he’s alowed to try and steer the conversation any way he wants to do it, and within the bounds of journalistic ethics, allowed to use whatever or however many anonymous sources he wants.
 
There’s nothing factual about what anyone said in that piece save for the reporting of signings and trades, salaries and stats. Past that, it’s opinion. I think he’s looking at the situation the wrong way, and thus many of his opinions are… if not wrong, then destructive rather than constructive.  Fortunately, Jayson Stark has just about as much experience running the New York Mets as any blogger writing presently (if Steve Phillips has a regular column, please include the man).
 
The danger is in taking Stark’s word as gospel. It’s not. I’m actually glad the sources were anonymous; he could have cherry-picked sources willing to go on the record, and I’d’ve had reason to be irritated at any number of baseball organizations. I have too many axes to grind to hate on those with whom he spoke, as well–
 
[And to that end, does anyone think he called the GM of the Kansas City Royals? If you’re Jayson Stark from ESPN looking for anonymous quotes about the Mets, aren’t you calling anyone you can from the NL East, anyone from the other division and wild card leaders, and scouts who have had or continue to have dealings with those clubs? In other words, in analyzing failure, wouldn’t you seek out sources of success?  I think this is a fair assumption; unlike other cases of anonymous citation, there is not a nearly-infinite pool of sources from which to choose.]
 
–so, yes, I’m glad they were anonymous. His opinions are easier to dismiss that way.
 
This includes, but does not remove irritation from, the idea that the Mets are packed with superstars and need, instead or in part, gritty role players who won’t… what? Dog it on the field? Stop playing when they’re injured?  Play like mercenaries?  Tell me: what?
 
Stats are the closest one can come to analyzing the performance of a player and project their impact on one’s organization. Watching Fernando Tatis play semi-regularly makes me believe that the Mets are all about this grit and passion (“grission,” a delightful portmanteau for which I give Amazin’ Avenue full credit) argument.  Same with Gary Sheffield, Alex Cora, Omir Santos… who else?

Daniel Murphy seems gritty to me.

Mike Pelfrey gets his grit out running laps.

Johan Santana is a man, damn it.

Sample size on grit re: John Maine is too small, and I hear rest would clear it out during the off season. 

So allow me to use a construction I loathe in registering my sarcasm: Oh. You meant gritty and GOOD players. My mistake.
 
Enough with the grit. The Mets have had gritty players throughout their history. They continue to have gritty players. That’s what makes them enjoyable to watch. In 2006, there were three games I went to in a row wherein knock-kneed Moises Alou hit meaningful home runs, in an effort to avoid having to run hard around the bases. After those three games, I was fully convinced he was Zeus come down from Mount Olympus. Endy Chavez, Damian Easley, Jose Valentin–there’s been recent grit. Shut your damn pie hole.
 
The legacy the Mets bring to baseball is precisely one of grit.  ’69, ’73, ’86, ’88, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’06: these are years etched in collective memory, despite only full success in two. Watching the Mets means learning to love the thrill of victory in what is often a vacuum of reasonable expectation of same.
 
What’s more, the Mets are a franchise that has always existed in the glow of media coverage: the Mets came after the advents of big-time radio, color film, television.  There exists footage–decent footage–of at least some parts of those early campaigns, and most (if not in some cases all) of the later.

Most of the marquee guys are still around, and lucid.  This is good.  Provided they’re not currently the president of another franchise, ostracized from the franchise, or awaiting assignment to federal prison–or hell, even if they are–they’re the perfect ambassadors.

So what’s to be done with all of this?  Make a museum. 

A Mets museum. 

A modern Mets museum.

Not just a Hall Of Fame.  A Hall Of Fame’s too limited.  A Hall Of Fame reeks of finality, and finality can be debated.  A Hall Of Fame gives one access to very tangible but very finite items: a game-worn Tom Seaver jersey; a lump of Lenny Dykstra’s chaw.  A Mets Hall Of Fame, specifically, is thin.  There’s no two ways around it.  Ed Kranepool holds stats that are the baseball superstar equivalent of exemplary, but not perfect, attendance.  Dwight Gooden won his Rookie Of The Year Award here, but didn’t pitch his no-hitter here.  So good for the Mets.  But not great for the Mets.

The Mets have memories: grand, crazy, amazing plays.  Remarkable runs of games.  Context within the game, from season to season, not flash in the pan like
the Expos or meta-statistical anomalies like the Yankees (when a team wins twenty-six championships over the course of a near-century, they’re not playing with the same deck).

The best example I can provide is that of The Catch, which is an absolutely thrilling thing to watch for Mets fans.  No, they didn’t win the game and go on to the 2006 World Series.  That did not happen.  But it’s still an outrageous thing to watch.  The athleticism.  The forward-thinking.  The hope which welled in all of us.

The Mets have dozens–many dozens, if not hundreds–of plays which run the gamut from: “Well, that’s really wonderful that they managed to pull off that grab,” to “OH-MY-GOD-THAT-WAS-THE-GREATEST-THING-I’VE-EVER-SEEN!”

Add to this players that have been with the club through the years, who may not have been career Metsies (see, kind of, aforementioned Gooden; add Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, and on), whose profiling would be interesting for viewers but not necessarily Hall Of Fame material.

Add to this the rich histories of fans, and connection to New York history.

**

Museums as non-profit organizations require mission statements, and this one should be no different; just having “The Mets” as an organizing theme is not enough; “great plays in Mets history” still falls short. 

What this museum needs to be seen as is the Mets as teaching tool, both directly and by execution of the plan.  The Mets reach far and wide in baseball’s history during the latter half of the 20th century (I’m counting the move of the Dodgers and the Giants out west as part and parcel of that history), and figure to be a factor in the first half of this one.  Postwar through 9/11 and beyond, you can teach baseball and its impact on the American gestalt (meta-pun!) well by watching the Mets.  Whether the viewer is a fan of the team or not, there is great value there.  There’s uniqueness.

  • The Mets Museum should seek to teach baseball and represent takes on the game, in an effort to breed continued love of, and passion for, the game.

  • The Mets Museum should do this through a unique partnership with Major League Baseball and the owners of the various broadcasts, opening up the various Mets archives to persons who would develop these broadcasts for use as teaching tools.

  • These persons would include, but not be limited to: writers; producers; video editors; sound designers; voice-over artists; photographers; videographers; actors; statisticians; historians; reporters.

  • These persons should be students of high school/college age, showing specific aptitude in their field, love for and respect for the game, and a demonstrated drive/desire to be incisive in viewing the material.  

  • These persons should be mentored by a rotating cast of professionals in the various fields, who will guide them not just in the editing of available content, but in the creation of new content, such as player/fan/reporter interviews, and development of commentary that seeks to demonstrate reasoned and applied knowledge of the material.

  • These persons should work two-year contracts, with “upperclassmen” working in concert with “freshmen” to determine the editorial thrust for subsequent years, creating continuity of purpose.

  • The Mets Museum should seek to provide added incentive to these persons by partnering with municipal institutions such as the NYC Mayor’s Office Of Film, Theatre, And Broadcasting; the Museum Of The Moving Image; The Paley Center For Media, for the purposes of adding professional credentials, college credit, salary, or some combination of same.  The project should also be sponsored (SUBTLY) by corporations with a direct, vested interest in the methods, media, or manpower of the project [Nikon makes sense.  Sony makes sense.  Carvel makes no sense.]

  • The Mets Museum should be onsite at Citi Field, with entrance/egress from the exterior and an egress into the park, so it may be enjoyed on off-days as well as on game days.  On game days, it should be open two hours before game time and shut after a specific, proscribed time (say 8p during night games and 2p during day games) to ensure fans stay true to the enjoyment of live baseball.

  • The Mets Museum should be open during the off-season, with an expanded program.

  • The Mets Museum should seek, whenever/whenever possible, to connect with other ball clubs and local organizations and institutions to produce similar programs/concurrent materials for other clubs, thus fomenting both increased knowledge of and love/respect for the game.

That’s about all I have for a mission statement.

**

A museum such as this one is a living entity.  It dovetails with the Mets’ dedication to community affairs, which is almost always above reproach (I’m whistling past Vince Coleman).  Best of all, in brings in traffic at low design cost.  How?

Take either whatever this space is supposed to be:

construction.jpg
…out by center field and the chop shops–or else refit underperforming souvenir shops–and follow the art gallery model:

  • matte white walls;
  • separate viewing rooms with benches or seats for an appropriate number of folks (twenty is often a good number; any more and the ambient nose gets far too loud);
  • digital projectors wired into a media control room or space.

Hall Of Fame-worthy real materials (the jerseys; the bats; the balls) can be displayed, sure.  There won’t be–can’t be–too much of that.  As I’ve intimated, this isn’t the kind of club that builds specific superstars.  This is a club that, historically, puts together a team of talented individuals who–excuse the retread–win on grit.

Ten viewing rooms.  Pick a theme each month and produce ten segments based on that theme: “The Mets Salute Base-Stealing” or “The Mets Salute Monster Home Run Blasts.”  Each segment runs six minutes or less.  People can watch sequentially, or pop in for ten minutes, then pop back out.  These are just spitballed suggestions.

But imagine: over the course of a six-month season, sixty segments are produced.  Compile them over the off-season and create a viewing/lecture series.  Open up whatever concessions you’d like.  It’s a living library, sustained by its low cost and reliance on the student community as compensated labor.

Moreover, it soon cements the Mets historic dedication to great baseball, great involvement in community support, and through that, to the great fabric of the City of New York.

If we’re going to have a museum, let’s have that baby MEAN something, besides dust and faded glory.  Let’s celebrate the Mazzillis and McGraws and Mookies; the Chavezes and the Cliff Floyds and–why not; I’m sure he’s got five minutes of tape somewhere–the Coras; the Tom Seavers and Tim Teufels and Tommie Agees.

If we’re not going to generate much traffic by having a Tommie Agee bat on display, let’s see what showing video of that catch off Elrod Hendricks’s bat does.  Or Paul Blair.

That’s all I’ve got for right here.  I’m feeling more emphatic foot-stomp than rousing cheer, so excuse the lack of exclamation point when I say:

Let’s go Mets.