• Mets & Yankees Pull A First, April Fool’s

    Posted by on March 13th, 2013 · Comments (8)

    Via Anthony Rieber

    At about 1:10 p.m. on April 1, a Mets pitcher — probably Jonathon Niese — will throw the first pitch of the 2013 season to a Padres batter in Queens.

    At about the same exact moment, a Yankees pitcher — probably CC Sabathia — will throw the first pitch of his team’s 2013 season to a Red Sox batter in the Bronx.

    This is not an April Fools’ Day joke.

    The Mets and Yankees are scheduled to both open the season on the same day, at the same time, in the same city, for the first time ever.

    The Yankees’ marquee rivalry matchup with the hated Red Sox and the Mets’ . . . um . . . game against the Padres could have been staggered by time or played on different days. But Major League Baseball and the teams have decided this is the way it’s going to be, even though a Mets official admits it’s not what they prefer.

    “Our feeling is that while it’s not ideal to have both teams opening at home on the same day at the same time, it’s also an interesting opportunity to have the entire city and the surrounding area celebrate Opening Day in New York regardless of which particular team you follow,” said David Howard, the Mets’ executive vice president of business operations, said. “We think there’s actually some upside to it even though, again, we wouldn’t have chosen it.”

    Still, Yankees-Red Sox feels like Broadway and Mets-Padres feels like Off-Broadway.

    The Mets have to work to get their fans into the ballpark today while building for tomorrow. It’s a tough sell on most days — but Howard said he is “confident” the opener will be a sellout.

    “Ticket sales have been strong,” he said. “I think overall, both teams will do well. We both have significant fan bases and this is going to be a big game for us, as it will be for them. We’re still confident that we’ll be sold out.”

    Officials from both teams said it was important for them to have the opener April 1 followed by a day off so they could protect themselves against bad weather. Asked if the Mets considered changing the game time, Howard said they didn’t.

    “Our view is Opening Day should be a 1:10 start,” he said. “That’s our tradition. It’s something that our fans, our customers look forward to and moving to either a 4:10 or 7:10 start would we think severely adversely affect the experience in a number of ways.”

    Katy Feeney, MLB’s vice president for scheduling and club relations, said the teams control the game times and either could have moved if they wanted to. (A Yankees spokesman said the team didn’t consider it.)

    Feeney said a number of factors over the 162-game schedule contributed to both teams starting the season at home.

    “It’s something we do try to avoid,” Feeney said. “We looked at trying to change it, because it is not something we want. But when New York had three teams, it happened on occasion, too.”

    If the Yankees draw less than 48,000 on Opening Day, I think that’s a flag for bad things to come this season. They are usually good for 48-49,000 on their home opener in the new Stadium. And, the number for the Mets is 41-42,000. If they pull less than forty, that’s a message for them too.

    Comments on Mets & Yankees Pull A First, April Fool’s

    1. MJ Recanati
      March 13th, 2013 | 8:58 am

      First, just another example of incompetence by MLB HQ. Why schedule both New York teams to open at home at the same time?

      Second, given the weather patterns around here lately, would it surprise anyone if it’s pouring on April 1st? Two rain delays or washouts? Brilliant.

      And if it IS a miserably rainy day then that’ll surely factor into depressed attendance. No one wants to head to the ballpark on a day when they know they’re going to get soaked for 3.5 hours in cold, rainy weather.

    2. March 13th, 2013 | 9:08 am

      For me, MAYBE, this will tell us how many on O.D. are the corporate “no idea who is playing but my company gave me tickets and I’m going because it’s opening day” crowd – compared to the diehard, gotta go because it’s O.D. fans.

      The suits can’t go to both games.

      Also, FWIW, I know a lot of Mets fans who admit that their team sucks, but, they still get jacked over O.D.

      The numbers for both parks COULD be interesting

    3. 77yankees
      March 13th, 2013 | 9:45 am

      Remember the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the 70s & 80s? They’d get 76,000 on Opening Day then average 3,500 a game the rest of the season.

      I know it used to be the case but probably not anymore, but there were quite a number of people who used to work both Yankee & Met home games: parking attendants, ticket takers, concessions, etc. Would be quite a dilemma if it still occurred en masse today.

    4. MJ Recanati
      March 13th, 2013 | 9:50 am

      Steve L: For me, MAYBE, this will tell us how many on O.D. are the corporate “no idea who is playing but my company gave me tickets and I’m going because it’s opening day” crowd – compared to the diehard, gotta go because it’s O.D. fans.
      ——————–

      I’ve always hated the assumption that these people are not “real” fans or “diehards.” I wear a suit to work (a few times a month) and I work in a corporate culture — investment banking — that has hundreds of incredibly affluent individuals who also happen to be passionate baseball fans just like me.

      I’ve never sat in the nice seats for a couple of reasons: first, I have my own season tickets (as you obviously know) and second, because I’m not high enough on the food chain to get those seats (although I’ve been invited by law firms and accounting firms that have us as a client in other seats). But for the people that go, you’re painting with a very broad brush and it’s pretty unfair. Rich people and poor people both love baseball. Don’t generalize.

    5. March 13th, 2013 | 9:58 am

      @ MJ-

      Com’on. You see these people at the park. They have no clue who the players are, etc. Last year, I had two guys sitting in front of me who literally, taking their Yankees caps out of a bag because they just bought them…and they were gone after the 6th inning, probably at the bar or something, never to be seen again.

      There are people who go to the game just because they were given free tickets and want to be able to say they went there…

      To quote Blade, when asked about vampires, “They exist!”

    6. March 13th, 2013 | 9:59 am

      @ 77yankees –
      Good point. I forgot about those vendors who used to work both.

    7. MJ Recanati
      March 13th, 2013 | 10:15 am

      @Steve-

      There are some wealthy people that know nothing about the Yankees and show up for the free food and the good seats.

      There are also some people that sit in the nosebleeds that know nothing about the Yankees and show up because it’s fun to be outdoors for three hours in the summer, or because they’re tourists and visiting Yankee Stadium checks a box in their guidebook, or because they got free tickets from someone.

      I’m not saying that some people that sit down behind home plate read blogs and can tell you who the Yankees’ 24th best prospect is. But you’re wrong to generalize about the knowledge of fans in other sections around the ballpark and you’re even more wrong to create a relationship between fandom and wealth. As I said, I work with at least 30 diehard Yankee fans here, many of whom have seats inside the “moat” and all of whom earn more in a year than many will ever see in a lifetme.

    8. March 13th, 2013 | 10:37 am

      @ MJ – where did I ever say anything about fandom and wealth?

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