Yesterday was the Mets’ opening day at Citifield. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the wind is howling mournfully between the empty seats.
It seems many fans have soured over what hasn’t been an amazing year for the Mets, forcing to the team to have what looks to be the first Opening Day without a packed house since 1997. The Mets will need brisk sales and a steady stream of walk-ins if it hopes to sell out today’s game. Less than an hour before the game, there are still plenty of tickets available online.
Last year the Mets had their public image tarnished over the public battle with Bernie Madoff victims, followed up with a drastic payroll clash where the budget dropped from $140 million to $90 million, the biggest in MLB history, and caused the Amazin’s to lose star player Jose Reyes to Miami.
With little preseason hype, the Mets have lost players and raised prices. According to seatgeek.com, where fans can compares ticket prices from 60 different sites, opening day seats averaged $133. Last year, when the Mets faced the Marlins, opening day tickets cost fans an average of $93.
Today’s attendance could set the bar for the rest of the year where fan turnout traditionally slumps in end of season games. It will be a tough sell when the Mets have what is arguably one of their worst ever rosters on paper. While expectations are at an all time low, the silver lining of today will be the return of Johan Santana, arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2004-2008, as he finally recoups from shoulder surgery last year.
In an effort to combat what will be a tough sales season for the struggling franchise, the team’s owners have released several incentives to fans. In an email yesterday, they promoted a buy-one-get-one-free ticket to fans who had already purchased tickets. Those had bought tickets for opening day can see them on Saturday or Sunday as they continue to face off against the Atlanta Braves.
If the Mets can’t pull it together this year, this tweet by Mets GM Sandy Alderson might become a reality.
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