Met Fans 1, Wilpons 0: Fans Win First Battle in Honoring Met History
Thank you, George Willis of the New York Post; thank you Mike Francesca of WFAN, and even more thanks to the fans on this site and on the airwaves, and around the tri-state area, who voiced their displeasure with the Met front offices' disgraceful position of honoring the history of the New York Mets franchise.
A week ago, I wrote an article criticizing the Mets for not creating their own version of monument park in the new rotunda to their new stadium Citi Field, and criticized the Mets for their paranoid lust for beating the Dodgers for the right to honor Jackie Robinson at their new ballpark.
Well, it just so happens that over the weekend the Mets front office made it clear they do not have any respect for the history of this franchise, when they collectively decided to erase a signature by Dwight Gooden just outside the "Ebbets Club" (that's right the EBBETS CLUB, not the Shea Club, which would have made more sense) because, as P.R. director Jay Horowitz termed it, the signature was "graffiti."
I guess Jay, along with Fred and Jeff Wilpon never received an autograph from a well-paid professional athlete, because such signatures are not exactly graffiti, they are worth thousands of dollars if you put a signed ball, bat, or glove up for auction.
Don't think for a minute that the Mets' reason behind this had anything to do with Gooden's checkered history of drugs and alcohol abuse; if Tom Seaver or Mike Piazza had signed on the wall, the Mets would have threatened to do the same thing—erase it!
The Wilpons are so obsessed with the enchanting story of New York's so-called beloved Dodgers, even though there were two other teams in New York in the 1950's too, that they refuse to even entertain the thought of honoring the history of the team they own.
Gooden was one of the game's most prolific pitchers winning Rookie of the Year and Cy Young honors in consecutive season that have not been seen by a member in a Mets uniform since.
His signature, and the signature of any Mets player makes the building that much more valuable; it creates, as the Yankees have done in the old (and now the new) Stadium, an aura and mastic that comes with the team.
When people think of Yankee Stadium, they don't just think of the team, they think of Monument Park, the plaques, the faces and the retired numbers in center field.
The Yankees know how to honor their history. Even a team without the broad history of the Yankees does a better job of remembering the past than the Mets.
The Phillies have a statue of Mike Schmidt outside their building, and they have as many World Series titles as the Mets do.
When presented with the opportunity to create something so fantastic, so out of the ordinary like possessing the actual signatures of the greatest players to ever wear a Mets uniform, the Wilpons looked upon it as garbage, and a hindrance to their Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers palace.
With the outcry over Doc Gooden's siganture, the Mets had no choice but to admit that they made a mistake, and will now move the block to center field, with the idea of creating a wall of fame for signatures.
About time! They could have thought of that one, like 10 years ago?
Chalk one up for the Mets fans. I encourage all fans to continue to push the Wilpons to honor the history of a good franchise and the players who played for it.
If Mets fans continue to push ownership, then eventually the numbers 1 for Mookie Wilson, 3 for Buddy Harrelson, 8 for Gary Carter, 10 for Rusty Staub, 17 for Keith Hernandez, 18 for Darryl Strawberry, 31 for John Franco and Mike Piazza, and 36 for Jerry Koosman will be retired.
Eventually, a statue of Tom Seaver will be built outside of the rotunda, and eventually someone in the Mets organization will be bold enough to paint over the Jackie Robinson rotunda with images of Met history.
Keep it up Mets fans; the fight is just beginning.
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