I admit it: I am not excited about Johan Santana.
Any other year, I would be. But as Shea Stadium’s last season approaches – and mosy assuredly the last year of our season ticket plan – consider me nonplussed.
It is nothing personal. Johan is a great pitcher, got paid what he deserves and will make the team better in 2008 and beyond. But just below the surface, there is this feeling that the Mets are becoming less “The Mets” and more a team for someone else.
And when I read the coverage of Johan’s debut Wednesday, those feelings grow stronger. The NY Times was typical of the coverage. Here is the type of info that grates most of all:
The Mets hope the addition of Santana, and not last season’s collapse, can become the focal point when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla., next Thursday. The move also sent a buzz through the team’s fan base and organization that had not been felt since the team’s last major acquisitions, Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner, joined the Mets within days of each other in November 2005.
Despite an increase in ticket prices, sales are already 175,000 ahead of last year’s pace, according to Dave Howard, the Mets’ executive vice president for business operations, who added that the team had sold 75,000 tickets since Saturday, the day Santana passed his physical exam to complete the trade.
Howard said he expected home attendance to surpass last season’s record of 3.85 million and could potentially reach 4 million, which has become familiar terrain for the Yankees in recent years.
Read that again – the Mets may sell 4 million tickets. Which should lead journalists to ask the obvious question:
WHAT THE #%$* ARE YOU GOING TO DO IN 2009 WHEN YOU HAVE 13,000 LESS SEATS A GAME? AND WHY DID YOU BUILD A SIGNIFICANTLY SMALLER STADIUM ANYWAY?
But no one asks those questions. Not reporters. Not fans, who are lining up to pay $140 for Santana shirts. I guess if you can afford that, you will be afford Citi Field prices. But for those in the (apparantly silent) minority for whom these numbers are a reach, we will be sitting outside the new Mets stadium after October (or September) 2008. Good luck Johan.