This week the Mets sent a letter out to their fans. The letter was signed by many of the team’s previous stars. By now this letter has been seen by most, but I still think it is worth including in its entirety.
“To True New Yorkers -
The victory you earn is sweeter than the victory you’re given.
When we won in ’69 and ’86, we, the players, didn’t do it on our own.
We made history together — players and fans — through a gritty, even stubborn, belief in this club against all the odds.
When we’ve won, we’ve proved through the way we did it that true New Yorkers are Mets fans.
So today we’re issuing a call to all Mets fans: Show your New York Mets pride — stand up and say you’re a true New Yorker.
As players, we can tell you that what happens in the clubhouse and what happens in the stands — players and fans together, believing in each other — makes a tremendous difference with what happens on the field.
Your support matters; we wouldn’t have won without you. So we’re calling on you to give today’s club the same chance we had.
If you agree that the fans have a role to play in making amazing things happen, add your name to this letter:
One fan — maybe you — will present the signatures on this letter and the messages from fans to the team, before the Mets’ first Subway Series game at Citi Field. If you add your name, it could be you.
We’ll see you there. Let’s Go Mets!”
At its core the message rings true to me, I happen to believe fans can provide a small role in success. When you look at the history of baseball, the numbers support this, an overwhelming amount of baseball teams play better in their own park. I don’t think that is all due to home cooking and sleeping in your own bed.
What was, at best, odd, about this letter, was the request that fans sign and agree. As I just said, it is kind of obvious. Why do you need a list of names to back up the claim? Look at that sentence, “If you agree that fans have a role to play in making things happen, add your name to this letter.” A weird request, but not too controversial, either, I admit. Nobody has to sign the thing, and nobody is getting asked to agree to anything that might send up red flags with the NSA.
But once the letter went out, there was a mini firestorm of criticism. Twitter exploded, and Mike Vaccaro and Adam Rubin both wrote negative articles calling out management. The letter was clumsy and bush, but the response, at first glance, seems over the top. It wasn’t that big a deal.
But this is the problem now with this ownership group. They have been dishonest with the fans, the customers, since the day the Madoff scheme broke. It’s been lie after lie. The problem with lying, once that pattern is established, is no one trusts anything you do. So it’s only fair to wonder, what are these guys up to now? Is it a simple ploy to get a bunch of names to cold call for ticket sales? That is a fair enough marketing ploy. Or is it something else? The New York Times ran numbers based on Facebook data showing that the Mets have lost every inch of New York City to the Yankees. Now the Mets are requesting information so that they can publish their own numbers, conveniently when the two teams play. It’s hard not to be suspicious, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I’m also suspicious of whatever number they end up claiming. How do I know it’s true?
This is why it is better to be straight with your customers. Sure, you might fool people for a while, but no one likes to be played as a fool. Eventually people get cynical, and they wonder about everything you do. When it comes to this, I’m not sure whether it is just a clumsy public relations stunt (a second letter from John Franco went out yesterday) or something else.
The problem the Mets have is that I have to wonder at all.