FROM FAITH AND FEAR IN FLUSHING
READ MORE FROM GREG HERE.Outside it’s cold, misty, and it’s raining. We’ve got a FanFest; who right here’s complaining? Not anybody who thinks it’s sexy that the Mets opened Citi Field on the last Saturday in January for as much baseball as they could possibly produce without benefit of a baseball game.It was the first hopefully annual FanFest in Mets history. Mets history goes back a ways, yet they never before did this. They ran modest caravans and arranged diffuse appearances, half-heartedly and intermittently currying winter goodwill if it wasn’t too much trouble. A full-fledged FanFest, however, was some other sucker’s parade. Cubs Convention. Cardinals Winter Warm-Up. Red Sox Weekend. And whoever heard of those teams? The Mets were content to maintain a low hot stove profile. It’s not like folks wouldn’t turn out on Opening Day.For much of the 2010s, if you wanted a Mets FanFest, you did it yourself. Queens Baseball Convention, or QBC, was as DIY as it got. We, the fans, did that, though I use “we” broadly. In recent years, these original LGM Meetings were largely the work of two dedicated Mets fans, Keith Blacknick and Dan Twohig, with dozens of volunteers and contributors (I was among the latter) pitching in to put on a show, and hundreds of Mets fans investing in tickets just so we could all be in one place for a few hours between seasons. It was a great time wherever it was held, which was usually in a spot where the seams all but burst out into the frigid streets. QBC was an Off Broadway production, but it had heart.Thing is, QBC, its miles and miles of heart notwithstanding, shouldn’t have existed. Fans shouldn’t have to put on their own FanFest. Fans want to rally around the flag, even when the flag never got higher than fourth place the previous year and wasn’t projected to fly much higher the next year. We want to revel in our thing. The Mets have been our thing collectively since 1962. We don’t go on hiatus after Game 162. We embrace the Mets 365 days most years, 366 days this year. But ya got meet us halfway one day. We’ll come to you, but ya gotta open the door and let us in. Do that, and the reveling and embracing will flow.And so it did on Saturday. The first hopefully annual Mets FanFest clicked. At least I think it did. I was there, but I was officially in media mode, kindly credentialed by the club’s communications department, which meant tamping down my natural inclination toward the first-person plural and foregoing the myriad selfie lines that gripped and grinned with most every Met in creation.
Thanks for the kind words Greg. And he is right. We never should have had to have done this, but because we did, we proved to the Mets the fans wanted a fan fest.