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Twitter-Gate Another Example of Dying Mets Fan Culture



By Mike Silva ~ May 11th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

The gap between athlete and fan has probably never been wider. With the average salary north of $3 million dollars it’s hard for many average baseball fans to connect with the players on the field. No longer do we live in times when the Brooklyn Dodgers actually lived in Brooklyn. The advent of social media has closed that gap, a bit, as some athletes have embraced interacting with the fans. No better place to do this is Twitter, where two way dialogue is open and easy. The two MLB players that have used this the most are Logan Morrison and Dirk Hayhurst. Joba Chamberlain and Nick Swisher of the Yankees, although not as active as Morrison and Hayhurst, have done more than the basics to connect on Twitter.

The Mets have encouraged their players to get on Twitter and connect with the fans. There is even an official Mets Twitter feed the team used for fans to ask players questions during Spring Training. Jose Reyes, Mike Pelfrey, David Wright, and R.A. Dickey are among those that spent some time interacting with the help of the public relations department. Some players, hoping to take things a step further, created their own Twitter account. Josh Thole was among them until yesterday.

Thole deleted his Twitter account because of abusive behavior from the fans. It probably didn’t help that Thole is off to a terrible start, batting .239 and struggling defensively. Apparently, it wasn’t just the advice from the novice hitting coaches that got to him, but the brutal comments from the fans that went as far to say he should “die.” Thole was quoted yesterday as calling the behavior of the fans “ruthless.”

Some will take the obvious position that Thole is soft and can’t handle New York. Perhaps in the long run it will be discovered that Thole prefers a market with less exposure and demands on perfection. There is nothing wrong with that since many players have outstanding careers without ever wearing a New York uniform. With that said, this is another example of why Mets fans are ruining the culture of team, and creating a negative pall around the organization that will never be conducive to a culture of winning.

A couple of weeks ago I partially blamed the fans for the poor start. Every mistake was magnified at Citi Field. Insults flamed by anger were thrown around liberally. One member of the media said it was the worst fan atmosphere around the team he’s ever seen. I called out the fans for their behavior and pointed out how things will never get better if they don’t accept the current situation, make the most of it, and realize that better days are ahead. The organization has heard your complaints and is trying to put a plan together for the future. Give things a chance before you punish the current group for the failures of the past. If you beat up the team in the process the end result will never be realized.

The responses at me were filled with anger. One person wished that I got cancer and aids and died. Imagine that. Someone was so angry with my opinion they felt the need to wish a terminal illness on me. Well, I am happy to report that my tests are negative, and not only am I healthy, but plan on being around here a long time to say more things that might anger you.

When talking to long time fans like Steve Keane of the Eddie Kranepool Society, Dana Brand of Mets Fan Book, and Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing you get the sense they would have given anything to interact with players while growing up. Even during the dark decade of the seventies it never appeared to get as negative as now. What has happened?

I said a couple of weeks ago Mets fans are fast becoming the worst in all of sports. They thrive on anger, negativity, and playing the victim. Maybe the Josh Thole “Twitter-gate” is just a small sample of idiots. Does anyone really know the percentage of baseball fans that are represented on Twitter? Regardless, having spent time around the ballpark, talking to individuals around the team, and interacting with fans I can attest to the fact the behavior towards Thole is not just a small Twitter sample. It’s a burgeoning new attitude by Mets fan that threatens to destroy what once was a great fan base.

I said it a couple of weeks ago, I will say it again. Mets fans it’s time for an intervention. You are a disgrace, a joke, and perhaps it’s time we traded a majority of you somewhere for a player to be named later. If only we could delete many of you, just like Thole did to his Twitter.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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9 Responses to Twitter-Gate Another Example of Dying Mets Fan Culture

  1. Stu B

    A team’s culture and winning or losing are products of the players and management. Fans react to what the team does, not vice versa. When the team is winning, the fans show up and are more positive. It happens with every franchise. Attributing even the smallest aspect of a team’s culture and/or performance to attendance or fan behavior is putting the cart before the horse.

  2. Nik

    There’s more to it. I NEVER boo and always try to stay positive, but Fred’s overall philosophy is drastically misaligned with what the fans want and I truly believe they’ve helped manipulate the lower segment of fan into this negative storm. Look at this:

    Fred makes every fan see a dodger jersey in both the rotunda and team store before stepping on the field.

    They refuse to control the press, so people like Adam Rubin and Mike @ WFAN can use the the negativity as a career booster. Who delivering Mike this access? How on earth is Rubin still allowed in the clubhouse?

    Fred refused to get rid of people who were embarrassing the franchise until the commissioner had to step in and force him to do it. if it was up to him, Ricco would be GM and we all know it.

    Fred is clearly embarrassed of Mets history and has to be forced to make any moves in that regard No old timers games, no banner day… no fun.

    That’s just a few basic points… there are plenty.

    My point is, every fanbase has idiots and they reflect the light that’s shined onto them from the media and the front office. The players are incidental and unfortunate targets for them. Still, the culture comes from the top. It always has and always will.

  3. Andrea

    Ouch, Mike. I don’t like to be called a disgrace anymore than you like to have filthy diseases wished upon you. And though I feel for you, and for Thole, when you put yourself out there on a social network, you’re gonna attract some crazies. But blanketing an entire group of fans based on the behavior of a few isn’t really the way to go. Am I upset that my team is losing? Sure, I am. Did I expect anything but a mediocre year from a team that needs to be rebuilt? Nope, not really. Are there going to be crazed freak fans in every organization? You bet. At least we haven’t resorted to vomiting on fellow fans, as they do down in Philly.

    Take it down a notch, will ya? It’s bad enough I have to watch my team lose, constantly, without being labeled “a disgrace, a joke,” by the bad behavior of a few.

  4. 5w30

    One word – MADOFF.
    Bad personnel decisions by Fred, Jeff and Omar, plus others.
    Late season chokes.
    Charlie Samuels
    Etc. etc. etc. With the prices they ask us to pay for tickets at Debits Field, we expect a winner. And we’re not getting it now. New Yorkers want a winner, now.
    PS – one can’t control the mainstream baseball press. There are rules set down by MLB on how teams can handle the press, including access to players and so forth. If you want namby-pamby positive coverage of all things MEts, tune to SNY or call up sny.tv

  5. Patrick

    Well said Mike, could not agree with you more. It’s one thing to be critical of players, management decisions, but the Mets fans are the new Red Sox fans. Hopelessly woe is me, always worried about the Yankees, always ready to remove everyone.

  6. nik

    5w30… if there are such strict rules on how teams can handle the press, how come ESPN1050 can’t get Met players on? Does MLB force the Mets to bow to big Mike @ the Fan? Of course not…

    I’m not talking about stopping people from talking about what going on, but I’m talking about blocking the people that have no purpose BUT to incite the lowest segment of the fan base. It’s bad for business to have reporters MAKE FUN of the team on a daily basis.

  7. Kings

    Mike – I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: The Mets have flushed their fans down the toilet with insulting play not deserving of our respect. It has finally come to light how the players were going through the motions the past couple of years, while management stroked the fan base with baseless bromides of how they were “hustling and scuffling” at all times. With the exception of Reyes, Ike, Murphy, and a couple of others, this team is again gutless and incompetent. Now we get the BS about how David Wright’s pathetic at bats are attributed to a bad neck and back. Please, spare me! Did David have a bad back last year when he performed at the same pathetic level? I’m a fan from the 60′s, and, frankly, I’m thoroughly disgusted to the point that I cannot watch them. But, I still do. Why, I don’t know, but it’s not because of this bunch of losers.

  8. John

    I could be off base here, but I didn’t mind the mets even 15 years ago when they were losing. To me its not about wins and losses. Obvioulsy, every fan wants to see a winner. But we also want to see guys who play the right way. Jeromy Burnitz was by all accounts a terrible ball player. But he played every game 100%. And he took accountability – he often apologized to the fans for his poor play. Hey David Wright, its not “we just gotta go out and get them tomorrow” its “i am terrible right now, i apologize to the fans, i know what i need to work on, and i will work hard to make it better”

    the other issue is cost. it is entirely too expensive to go to a mets game, even now. when you have an expectation of winning, with a huge payroll, and you dont win, fans wont show up. when you put an inferior product on the field, but still want to charge championship prices, those fans that do pay will be angry about it…number 1, its time to do away with the tiered pricing. all games, the same price, period. and it should be cheaper. And this “$12 dollars of food for $10 dollars” as a ticket enhancement is bullshit. Shitty teams treat their fans well. In pittsburgh they have entire sections of outfield seats that are “all you can eat” plus the ticket, $20 bucks. games at shea used to cost $5. shit, the bleachers were free on wednesdays. i used to go to 20-30 games a year. i didnt care how bad they were, i loved watching the mets. now, i gotta buy a $25 last row ticket for a weekend game, plus 8 dollars in fees and surcharges, plus 20+ to park, plus $5 a hot dog and $8 a beer. the fans are more negative now bc they are getting RIPPED OFF, plain and simple. charge $5 for the promenade, i guarantee they average 5000 more fans a game, at least… thats the real bottom line… they want us to pay yankees prices to watch the pirates… that is just not right

  9. Kings

    Well said, John. Those are exactly my sentiments. David Wright’s excuses for his bad play is just plain irritating me. He’s lucky that Jason Bay is taking pressure off him with worse play. I don’t understand why the press gives David so much leeway.

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