Posted by Reese Kaplan at 11:00 AM
With so much focus on off-the-field actions by various pro athletes, the Mets took the bold and refreshing step to today to announce a telethon to raise funds to improve the on-the-field product by increasing payroll. Newly extended GM Sandy Alderson was quoted as saying, “I told Fred Wilpon that if we’re going to behave like the Kansas City Royals then damn it, we should be able to spend like the Kansas City Royals.”
Towards that end, the Mets have announced a number of new initiatives to bring more revenues into their empty coffers. The first (and arguably the most controversial) was the sale of billboard advertising space on the players’ jerseys. Unlike the stadium itself which sold exclusive naming rights to the highest bidder, instead each individual players’ shirt is up for grabs. Said Alderson, “Now we’re adding a new wrinkle to the jersey (wink, wink). Not only will sponsors be tripping over one another to get the Matt Harveys and David Wrights of the team, but it will also make our team more palatable to free agents whose jersey revenue can help fund their contracts.”
To buttress this fledgling effort, the Mets have opened up a fan friendly contest to make suggestions for who should sponsor whom. Already taken are Krazy Glue for Terry Collins’ tendency to keep rookies firmly planted on the bench after being rewarded with a promotion based upon their hot hitting in AAA. Also gone is Hunter Fan company, though it’s still in negotiation whether it will go on the back of Matt Harvey’s jersey, Jacob de Grom’s jersey or Curtis Granderson’s jersey. Jenrry Mejia will wear the Popeil Pocket Fisherman logo on his shirt, while 7-11 bought the rights to Bartolo Colon with a special “Big Gulp” insignia.
The team also visited the set of reality TV show Shark Tank to get some folks interested in producing some new promotional items for sale at the stadium. In the manner of the K Korner where people would drape the letter K when the pitcher fanned the opposing hitter, they’re now selling an orange and blue dunce cap which fans are encouraged to wear when, for example, Daniel Murphy makes a baserunning blunder or Terry Collins, well, is Terry Collins.
The other product that emerged from these sessions was an homage to the increasingly popular bobblehead promotions. The new “Bubblehead Deals” promotion is being billed as, “All the Contracts You Can Eat” and include the likenesses of Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Jason Bay, Chris Young, Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth, Bobby Bonilla and others posed while doing such things sunning themselves on the beach, playing golf, dating models and enjoying champagne while cashing Mets’ checks.
In the interest of generating revenue on the road the team is already planning a special series of bake sales, but they’re restricted to games played against the Rockies and the Mariners. Rumor has it the special brownies sold will include The Wright Stuff, Dude’s Doobies and Hung Jeury’s.
Finally, Sandy Alderson announced a shrewd new plan to make the ballpark a more affordable family destination. He’s teamed up with the New York City Police Department in the same way private enterprises have provided red light cameras and share the revenue generated with the local municipality. Starting with the 2015 season the Mets will lower the price of beer to $3.00 per serving, less than the price of a cup of premium coffee. While this move would seem counterintuitive to the goal of raising revenue, it’s not only about increased volume. There is, of course, the revenue sharing that will take place for the DUI tickets given out as people depart the ballpark. Said Alderson, “We’re all about safety. We want the fans coming back to enjoy another game with us. If they overindulge, then we’re glad to see New York’s finest keep them off the road. Ka-Ching!”
The true creativity in this plan, however, is the retro throwback approach to installing pay toilets at the ballpark. With all of that inexpensive beer, there will be a number of extra dollars generated each time a patron needs to use the rest room. Alderson boasted, “We take Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express and you can even sign up for a special Mets Dash card!”
Finally there’s the eBay style auction for the bullpen arm-burning selection. Telethon callers can pledge various donation amounts and the highest bidder gets to name the next relief pitcher for Terry Collins to use until his pitching arm remains attached by true grit and the uniform sleeve itself. There’s even a before and after photo op where the lucky winner can take a selfie with the reliever he or she selects while he’s still fresh-faced and energetic. Then towards August or thereabouts the winner can take another selfie to see the now haggard, wizened and dead-armed shell he’s become. This one has millions of dollars written all over it.
Come on, phone lines are now open.