It'll take more than a hearty handshake to win back Mets fans.
SATIRE— Take pity on Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson. He has to rebuild a team that is saddled with a core of high salary players who are low on talent and lower still on productivity.
To make matters worse, the team’s fans have been promised much on-the-field greatness in recent years, but have received little in terms of success. As a result, Mets followers are losing their patience and have begun turning to other activities, such as Yankee baseball and alternate side of the street parking.
How can Alderson win back the fans while he rebuilds the team? The answer is to draw their attention away from what’s happening on the field with as many bonus promotions and cosmetic changes as he can think of.
Here are eight suggestions to start him off:
Perez looks for divine guidance. He found none.
Lefty pitcher Oliver Perez is trying to get his groove back by playing winter ball in Mexico. The last time we looked, his ERA was 5.73. With numbers like that, Perez will spend another season sunning himself in the Mets bullpen at a cost of $12 million for the year. We say, put him to work instead.
The plan: Install a carnival-inspired dunk tank in the rotunda at Citi Field, fill the tank with extra hot salsa and place Perez over it. Fans will line up to throw baseballs at a target, which when hit, dumps the hapless lefty into the tank.
Our guess is that the fans’ aim at the target will be better than Ollie’s is to the plate.
The Yankees have a Monument Park in their outfield honoring such greats as Ruth and Gehrig. While the Mets have no such legends to remember (Brooklyn Dodgers don’t count.), they can still build an outfield shrine in tribute to their history.
The difference: instead of honoring players, the Mets' monument would recognize all their championship seasons. The good news is it wouldn’t take up too much space.
The better news: it would give the Mets an excuse for moving the outfield fences in.
Hire a hypnotist to erase Jason Bay’s memory of the 2010 season. Dress the team up in Red Sox uniforms and play a game to trigger Bay back to his glory days in Fenway Park.
Mets fans can participate by pretending to be Red Sox supporters. But at the end of to the day, they have to stop being obnoxious.
Former Mets general manager Omar Minaya is personally responsible for creating many of the challenges the team is facing today. Here again, Mets fans have pent-up rage which needs to be released so they don’t take it out on the current team.
Solution: Omar Minaya Piñata Day. Hang likenesses of the former GM all over the stands at Citi Field. Supply the fans with bats and let them go at it.
At last, Omar Minaya will have done something to encourage hitting at Citi Field.
The Mets pay Luis Castillo over $6 million a year to play second base. But he has no range. His hitting skills are deteriorating. And he has no pep.
What Luis needs is a boost. Solution: put his name and likeness on a can of energy drink and sell the product at Citi Field.
At best, the beverage will revitalize Castillo. At worst, Mets fans can exchange their empty cans for Red Bull soccer tickets.
Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez is quick to react to an insult and faster still with his fists. His would be father-in-law discovered that the hard way last summer.
Why not put that skill to good use? Set up a boxing ring in Citi Field’s outfield and let Rodriguez duke it out with relatives of his choosing. And this time, keep the police out of it.
So Mets fans can figure out why this guy keeps his job as Mets pitching coach.
Carlos Beltran has been good but not great for the New York Mets. At $20 million per season, he could be a lot better. Perhaps the problem is with his name. If he worked Rodriguez into it, Mets fans could call him C-Rod.
That change alone could be good for 50 more points on the batting average and 25 more RBI. And it won’t cost the Wilpons a dime.