Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » The Mets and Their Relationship With Alumni

The Mets and Their Relationship With Alumni

By Mike Silva ~ April 17th, 2012. Filed under: New York Mets.

No matter how well the Mets play on the field it always seems to come down to fans and media types focusing on what happens off-the-field. That is probably what passes the time on Twitter, sells papers or generates internet traffic, hence why the news that the team is planning a tribute to Jose Reyes created some chatter earlier today.

Andy Martino of the Daily News quotes a team source that acknowledges the team will honor Reyes with a video tribute on April 24, when Miami opens a 3-game series at Citi Field.

On the heels of the news that the team plans to acknowledge Chipper Jones‘ retirement during his final visit to New York, some wonder if it’s appropriate to honor a player that just spurned the organization a few months ago. I think the Mets are doing the right thing for a player that was popular and, regardless of whether you believe he fulfilled his potential or not, was an important part of the teams’ success. The Mets have made similar tributes to returning stars such as Mike Piazza and Al Leiter. Video tributes are really not a big deal. It’s not like he will be given the keys to the city at home plate. The Knicks honored Nate Robinson and David Lee when they returned last season, and those guys never played for a team that sniffed .500. Reyes was on a division winner.

The bigger debate is the Mets relationship with former players. Last week, Ray Knight was on WFAN with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts and acknowledged the Mets rarely reach out to him outside of a few ’86-themed events. He indicated that Baltimore and Detroit are in contact more with him. The man who won the 1986 World Series MVP is recognized more in Baltimore - where he played one season - than in New York. Other members of that team and from other eras have expressed disappointment in the level of dialogue they have with the organization.

To be fair, the Mets have tried to improve on this the last couple of years. The have alumni events where players greet fans at the Jackie Robinson Rotunda before the game. They also have made them available to the media. Edgardo Alfonzo participated in one just last week. After years of doing a bad job in this area, the team is moving in the right direction.

I guess the biggest takeaway as an objective outside observer is not that the Mets aren’t trying to turn things around - they are- but there is a cold feeling between many of the alumni and the organization. The ’86 group in particular doesn’t seem to believe they are all that wanted around Citi Field. Howard Johnson even went as far to say last fall the front office is “anti-’86.” 

I found it weird considering that Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Wally Backman, Tim Teufel and Mookie Wilson all work for the club in some capacity. I have reached out to various former Mets in the past and have heard similar stories from players that were no way involved with the ’86 club. It sounds like the organization might want to evaluate why alumni feel a particular way and move towards correcting it. I believe that once you put on the team uniform you should be a member of the organization for life. That doesn’t mean you have a job or get paid, but are made to feel special and always a member of the team. That doesn’t seem to be the case with the Mets.

This is not about fan events or special celebrations, but how the former players are viewed in the larger picture. Perhaps it’s time the team listens to these concerns and thinks about whether there is some validity to the claim.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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5 Responses to The Mets and Their Relationship With Alumni

  1. Raul

    I could care less about a Jose Reyes tribute.
    Let me know when there’s a Kevin Mitchell tribute. I’ll be first in line to collect my replica severed cats head.

  2. pfh64

    Why does any of this surprise anyone about this organization? This team is owned by people that would rather own the Dodgers. I understood the wanting to make a building that was a throwback, but all of the crap about “oh, we intended to put this stuff (like team hall of fame) in the building eventually”…really? You had to be embarrassed into making your BRAND NEW STADIUM be about the team that actually plays there, what a joke. No one should be surprised that they have been cold towards alumni…anyone heard from John Stearns? They jerked him around as a coach & scout, A JOKE…SELL FRED, SELL.

  3. Raul

    It didn’t occur to me that Silva was trying to “surprise” anyone with this article.

    It’s quite satisfying to know Mets fans are so knowledgeable about how indifferent ownership is towards players from 25 years ago.

    Speaking of honoring past legends, I can’t wait to see Tony Eason next to Tom Brady this fall.


  4. Chuck

    Stearns is a full time major league scout with the Seattle Mariners, based, ironically, in Port St. Lucie.

  5. pfh64

    I saw that Chuck…not the point.

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