With no games being played, it’s a tough time for baseball sites. Baseball-Reference is asking people to share their newsletters while FanGraphs is asking people to become a member or up their membership level. The reasons for this are that readership at these major sites has dropped off significantly, creating a big loss of advertising revenue. Here at Mets360, we don’t have any revenue but we get paid in how many people read and comment on our stuff. And those numbers have dropped for us, too.
You would think that with many people stuck at home, that online sites wouldn’t be hurt too bad. You would be wrong. We’re committed to keeping the site going, helped along by the belief that we will have at least a partial season here in 2020. The challenge is to come up with storylines that make you want to come to the site and comment on a daily basis.
The offseason is typically the time to do history pieces and we’ve certainly run our share of those in the last month. But history pieces never do as well, on a readership basis, as articles on the current team. So, it’s a vicious cycle.
A Facebook friend of mine posted a question in a sports group and it got a surprising number of comments. As one who’s never been opposed to stealing a good idea, it occurred to me that question should be the theme to today’s article. The question was: What are the greatest individual performances you have witnessed in person?
My response was:
The most exciting play was seeing Billy Hatcher steal home in Fenway. Also saw Roger Clemens get put in the lineup and take a turn at bat, which he promptly delivered a hit. That was pretty exciting, too. Not mentioned in the original Facebook post but watching Pedro Martinez pitch on a regular basis in 1999-2000 was pretty special, too.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, you see there are five/six things listed and not one of them was by a Met. Part of that was having season tickets at Fenway and seeing some pretty good teams. And part of that was going to the majority of my Mets games in a period where they were, uh, terrible. My in-person list of Met stories are mostly on the sad side. Like watching them get one-hit by the Cardinals in 1978 or seeing the game where Dave Kingman tore ligaments in his thumb to derail his 1976 season or watching Sid Fernandez throw beachballs in Game 5 of the NLCS in 1988.
But let’s try to be positive. There was an early April game where Bruce Berenyi looked like an ace. There was a game in Atlanta where Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell hit back-to-back-to-back homers. And there was being there for the managerial debut of Joe Torre.
It’s funny how going to Shea was such a big deal yet it turns out that the things that hold the biggest memories for me were not the players nor the outcome for the most part but rather the people who went with me and the adventures we had.
There was my first game at age five with my brother Mike, being scared to death that when we were getting ready to cross the Verrazano that we would have to drive on the looping cables of that massive suspension bridge. There was the game with my brother Gary when he had a broken jaw which was wired shut and he spent the entire game trying to eat one peanut. At the end of the game he spit it out and hardly made a dent in the thing. There was the game with those two brothers and my sister Susan and we were sitting in front of a group that heckled Steve Garvey mercilessly all game. There was a night game with Dave and Allan where we just missed a ferry and had to wait an hour for the next one and spent the time talking to the homeless people sheltering there. And there was the doubleheader we went to where Dave’s car broke down on the BQE. And plenty more that you won’t be bored to tears with by me now.
Maybe it would be different if those 70s Mets teams I saw so much of won 90 games on a consistent basis. Perhaps then the memories would be about the players and the outcomes. Regardless, there are no regrets with how it’s all turned out. And there wouldn’t be this site without them.