I’m a few days late with this because I wanted my level of vitriol to go down a bit before I responded. Now, I’ll address Mark Healey’s artfully stated claim that anyone who buys a “season ticket” to see the Mets in 2013 is a “schmuck.” He was responding to a report that the Mets are raising some ticket prices a negligible amount for 2013 (although anyone with existing ticket plans won’t be affected by any slight increase). Healey stated that “a season ticket will get you a chance to get an All-Star ticket” (poor english, but who’s keeping track)? Since anyone who renews, has already renewed, or is purchasing a new ticket plan for 2013 gets the ASG option, let’s say all of those people are schmucks in Healey’s eyes. He could be referring to someone who’s had a ticket package for 50 years, one year, or any amount of years in-between. Assuming that would mean that I’m a schmuck, a piece of foreskin. Schmuck Abriano.
Let me make something clear before I go forward: Healey is not wrong to be upset. I’m not happy with the current state of ownership. I don’t detest or hate Fred Wilpon. I think he’s a decent man who got screwed over by one of the worst criminals the World has ever seen. That doesn’t, however, eliminate my anger and bitterness at the still ongoing financial issues facing the ballclub (though the major clouds have passed). I’ve stated, even recently, that if ownership isn’t able to, or chooses not to retain core players, acquire better ones, and/or if they slash payroll further, I’d be willing to organize a one day boycott that would result in any empty ballpark (which would probably end up being futile) in an effort to send a message. After hearing what Sandy Alderson has said so far this offseason, and reading the reports of the Mets’ seriousness and intention of locking up David Wright, I’m starting to believe the worst is over and that a one day fan revolt won’t be necessary. I could be proven wrong, but I don’t think I will be. Then again, I’m a schmuck, so what do I know?
What’s offensive here, is the blanket statement made by Healey, and the nature in which he’s defended himself since. He labeled an enormous group of people schmucks for wanting to go to baseball games, and refuses to back down. I’m sure everyone has their own story of how they became a fan, when they first bought a ticket plan, etc. Well, here’s a short version of mine: My Grandfather was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan who became a Mets fan in 1962. He never had a ticket package because he preferred to watch on TV or listen on the radio when he got older (he was 49 in 1962). He passed his love and passion for the Mets down to me. In 2001, when I was 17 years old, I convinced my Father to purchase a 13 game package in Loge Reserved. A few years later, we began to split the cost. Eventually, he got tired of making the trek out to Shea, and my friend Jeff took my Father’s ticket. When Shea closed and Citi Field opened, we kept our package and eventually added two more tickets for our friends Charles and Chris.
Here’s one reason why Healey’s logic is flawed: Our tickets for the entire year cost less than $1,400. That’s about $350 per man for 15 games. In Healey’s eyes, we’re all schmucks. Not included in his schmuck category are people who go to two games in insanely expensive seats, but don’t have a ticket plan, even though those people are spending the same amount of money as my friends and I. What about people who love to drink alcohol (I’m one of them). If you go out on Friday and Saturday in the City, you can easily spend more on alcohol than it costs to go to 15 baseball games. Is that a better use of your disposable income? Alcohol that you drink and piss out while often making an ass of yourself, only to wake up the next day feeling like you were hit by a truck?
It seems that for Healey, purchasing a ticket plan and going to see the Mets in 2013 means supporting the Wilpon’s and nothing else. It means that you’re a schmuck, and that the people who attend the games with you are committing the crime of being accessories to schmucks. I go to Mets games because I love the Mets, and I love being at the ballpark. More than anything, the Mets are the players on the field. They’re David Wright and Matt Harvey and Jon Niese and Ike Davis and R.A. Dickey, and all the others.
Furthermore, going to baseball games isn’t simplistic; it’s multifaceted. I was a Mets fan before I attended my first game at Shea Stadium, but it was being at the ballpark that made me love the game and the team. It was the smell of the grass, and the aroma of the beer and hot dogs in the stands. It was the crack of the bat, and the snap of the glove. It was the roar of the crowd, and the camaraderie that was developed with the other fans. Being at a great game is euphoric. It’s a feeling you can re-visit whenever you want.
To repeat, going to baseball games isn’t just the act of watching players on a field. It contributes to the cultivation and continuation of relationships. It’s friends enjoying a day together, a father bonding with his son, a mother bonding with her daughter. It’s what helps mold future generations of fans. It can be an escape from reality, or serve as a distraction from personal sadness someone may be going through (as was the case with me when between his wake and funeral, I attended one of my ticket plan games the weekend my Grandfather passed away in 2008). If people choose to go to zero games, that’s fine. It people choose to buy games in the spur of the moment, great. Those of us who have ticket plans? We have our own reasons and are free to make our own decisions.
We’re not schmucks, Mr. Healey. I won’t label you, though, since I think you’ve already accomplished that yourself.