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Let's go, Mets, give us old timers

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  • Let's go, Mets, give us old timers

    Let's go, Mets, give us old timers
    By Anthony Mccarron

    Saturday, July 18th 2009, 3:26 PM

    Mike Piazza and Tom Seaver would be welcome sights at Citi Field, as would other former Met greats such as Brock Pemberton and George Theodore.

    Gratuitous photo of the week: Normally, John Daly's life choices turn your stomach, now it appears his wardrobe selections do as well.

    Way back in 1974 or 1975, my dad and I were at a ballgame when a forgettable Met named Brock Pemberton came to the plate. My father made kind of a mock "crazed-fan" face, eyes bulging, and screamed, "Yay, Brock Pemberton." I was only 8 or 9 and I thought it was hilarious and went into a giggling fit. My dad and I laughed about it for years.

    I'd love to see what Brock Pemberton looks like these days. Or George (Stork) Theodore. Maybe Hank Webb. That's why I'd like to see the Mets revive their Old-Timer's Day, which ended in 1994.

    Once a year, bring back the Mets' lovable past. Sure, they don't have as much history as the Yankees - what team does? - but there's enough there for a nostalgia trip every summer. And there are plenty of fans who look back fondly on those summer nights at Shea, when they hoped against hope that someone like Don Hahn could get a hit off Bob Gibson. Fans still want to see the players they grew up with, whether they won 20 or hit .120.

    The Mets have only been around since 1962, but that shouldn't matter, because no one from the earliest days of Yankee glory is attending Old-Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium today, either. And it's not just icons like Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford at the Stadium today - the Yanks are bringing back Aaron Small, too, among many others. Nothing against Small - great guy, great 2005 season - but he's just George Stone in pinstripes, right?

    Tom Seaver, the best Met ever, could come. The Yanks could never get their best-ever there because (you can argue it out) Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio are long gone. If you grew up watching the Mets, you cherish Seaver, Rusty Staub, Jon Matlack, Jerry Koosman, Craig Swan, Bud Harrelson.

    The Mets punted Old-Timer's Day because, in essence, it wasn't a success, says Dave Howard, the club's executive VP, business operations.

    "It wasn't popular, it wasn't effective, fans weren't responding and it wasn't selling very many tickets," Howard says. "The fans spoke volumes. It's a very expensive promotion and it wasn't producing the sales and marketing results we wanted for that investment."

    And, as Howard points out, the Mets have acknowledged their past in recent years, inviting the 1986 champs back in 2006 and bringing 45 alums back last year for the final game at Shea. On Aug. 22, the Mets will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1969 team with many of the players, Howard says. The Mets also arrange appearances when their ex-players are in town, which "helps them connect with the community," Howard says.

    OK, so it's not good business. Make it a one-day loss, then. If you believe that hit-and-giggle baseball is too silly, forget about the uniforms and the game and just have a ceremony. It's another way to connect with fans, the same fans who are pretty fed up with the Mets and their second-rate season so far.

    The Mets' new ballpark has been criticized for not paying enough attention to the club's history. The least they could do is bring back the players once a summer. Many Mets are already coming back this summer. Next year, bring back some more.

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