When Citi Field first opened in 2009, there were several complaints, many involving the lack of attention given to the team’s history. Some people sarcastically called it “Dodger Stadium”, referring to the Ebbets Field-style façade and the Rotunda celebrating Jackie Robinson’s life. There was a general feeling that the place lacked Orange and Blue, paying more homage to the team that deserted New York rather than the franchise that had built a nearly 50-year history in the town. The team has since taken those complaints to heart, building a Mets Hall of Fame in the Rotunda, putting the Shea Home Run Apple in the Citi Field Plaza and turning many of the sepia-colored photos around the stadium and walkways to full-colored Orange and Blue masterpieces. There is still one void, however, that to me should have been a no-brainer from the instant the ballpark idea was in its infancy: A Tom Seaver statue in the Citi Field Plaza.
The Mets have done a lot of things right lately in showing the fans they are as connected to their past as we are. The people in charge are making sound decisions overall and the franchise is heading in the right direction. Why there isn’t already a Tom Seaver statue, however, is beyond me. With decisions such as this, the team in the past has seemed to be one step behind everyone else in baseball, only making changes when people complain as opposed to coming up with it on their own. Most new ballparks have included statues of the respective franchise greats. Pittsburgh has Roberto Clemente and others. Detroit has Ty Cobb and others. Even Houston has statues of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio already (here is a list and an article of all the statues around baseball, dated Fall 2011.)
Tom Seaver is not only the greatest player in franchise history and the only player with his number retired by the team, but one of the greatest pitchers of all time. How amazin’ would it be to take your picture in the Citi Field Plaza with a bronze Tom Seaver Statue, his left leg forward, his right knee touching the bronze dirt and his right arm getting ready to sling the baseball?
The Mets have made great strides in honoring their history, with the Hall of Fame, the Home Run Apple, the blue walls and new/old uniforms. Round it out by sculpting a Tom Seaver Statue for all of us fans to revel in his greatness.
‘Cause before you know it, Mets, we’ll be calling for a Mike Piazza Statue.
So, yeah. Take care of the Tom one first.