5 nonembarrassing ways Mets can up fans

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
11:37
AM ET
FansAP Photo/Kathy KmonicekWant to make Mets fans happy? Just win, baby.
PHILADELPHIA -- Mets marketers apparently are alarmed.

With Citi Field mostly empty in April and a Facebook study suggesting Mets fans are even outnumbered in Queens, team personnel awkwardly sent out an email blast asking “True New Yorkers” to sign a letter supporting the team. Fans were asked to write a positive note that may be presented to the players. It was signed, presumably under duress, by members of the '69 and '86 Mets.

Forget the minor league stuff.

Want to build a fan base? Here are five simple steps:

5. Stop embarrassing yourselves. The letter might have yielded some new contacts for ticket salesmen, but it came off as amateurish. Which is how the Mets come off far too often.

By insisting Matt Harvey was not a story, the Mets made Matt Harvey a story. Hopefully they’re not pushing Harvey toward the Bronx when he’s a free agent during the 2018-19 offseason, too.

Feel secure and stop overreacting to little things.

4. Embrace your history. Mookie Wilson clearly opened a nerve within the organization when he described himself as a “hood ornament” in his newly released memoir.

At first blush, Mookie’s criticism might seem ridiculous. After all, Tim Teufel is the third-base coach, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Bobby Ojeda work for SNY, Wally Backman manages the Triple-A team, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden have at least casual presences, and Mookie himself twice served on the coaching staff.

But it long has been a criticism of the '86 Mets that they’re held at arm’s length, even if their visibility has increased and that chatter mostly has receded.

We all know the Mets had to be dragged kicking and screaming into adorning Citi Field with blue and orange and into adding a team museum after the first season in the new ballpark.

The Mets recently wore seven different jerseys in seven games, including military fatigues. No one is saying don’t honor the military, but you wouldn't see the Yankees eschewing their tradition to wear camouflage. Many fans cynically viewed it as a money grab.

3. Spend money to make money. Want to energize your fan base? Spend some damn money. That doesn’t mean doling out six- and seven-year contracts.

How much better would the current team be with the likes of even modest additions, such as Stephen Drew, Joel Hanrahan, LaTroy Hawkins and others who would only bring the payroll to a still-modest $110 million or $120 million rather than its current $86 million?

2. Play the kids. This is not a slam against 40-year-old Bobby Abreu. He may very well help the Mets win games. But there was a myth forever in these parts that you couldn't build from within. Play Juan Lagares. Bring up Jacob deGrom. Stop looking at arbitration clocks and give the fans what they want to see.

1. Win. If you're a kid growing up now, sure your parents may indoctrinate you into the family tradition of being a Mets fan. But for the independent thinkers, the Mets are losing a whole generation of followers because of their lack of success. The Mets entered 2014 with consecutive collapses, then five straight losing seasons. That is tied with the Houston Astros for the longest active streak of losing seasons.

Want young fans? Win.

Say it three more times:

Want young fans? Win.

Want young fans? Win.

Want young fans? Win.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.88 106 141
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .295
HRL. Duda 19
RBIL. Duda 60
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .864
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 125