Thursday, May 20, 2010

Are Mets willing to fill Citi Field with Yankee fans?

Citi Field - featuring Dodgers history, Giants colors and Yankee fans?

From SI's Jon Heyman:

[Mets] attendance is down 17 percent, which is the third biggest drop in baseball (behind only Toronto and Cleveland), and it's to the point where they are handing over Subway Series tickets to the Yankees to fill the stands for games that are normally sold out immediately.

It was bad enough when I was at the Luis Castillo game amid Squawker Lisa and tens of thousands of celebrating Yankee fans. But that was at the other team's stadium.

It was bad enough when Yankee fans' cheers filled Citi Field when Francisco Rodriguez walked Mariano Rivera with the bases loaded and Mariano then got his 500th save, but it was the end of the game and many Met fans had gone home in disgust.

Having a big Yankee presence at Citi Field is part of the fun of the Subway Series, just as it's fun to walk around Yankee Stadium in Met gear and see thousands of others Met fans. But a big presence is something like 20%. Not 50%. Or more.

Thanks to outlets like StubHub, the marketplace can determine who ends up going to the game. It certainly wouldn't be surprising for Yankee fans to have more interest in these games than Met fans. But Met management shouldn't be helping them along.

On Opening Day in Washington, the ballpark was filled with fans of the visiting Phillies. Nationals' management, eager to sell seats, apparently reached out to the opposition. From the Washington Post:

The Nationals did not discourage Phillies fans from coming in droves. If anything, the team may have encouraged them.

Phillies fans in the ballpark said it felt like a "home game," while Nationals fans felt that Opening Day had been "completely ruined."

When this story broke in April, the Nationals looked like a pathetic last-place franchise desperate to fill seats.

Now the Nationals have beaten the Mets five out of seven and are looking down on them in the standings. And Stephen Strasburg is on the way.

Meanwhile, the listless Mets are in last place and increasingly desperate to move tickets.

Next week, the Phillies come to town. Will Met management sink to the level of the Nationals and start promoting the games to Phillies fans?

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