Monday, June 6, 2011

Freedom of Expression & Baseball -- America's Pasttime?

About six years ago, I became a more vocal baseball fan due to my relationship with David. Now I will admit before David I was rooting for the Boston Red Sox (and still do) but I started to root more for my boyfriend now fiance' team which is the New York Mets.

Now I remember my mom rooting for the Mets and knew the back story and history, but I have never been to Shea Stadium. That changed 6 years ago. So off David and I go to our first game together and what I saw before me completely stunned me.

No rooting, no clapping, no screaming...NOTHING. I could not believe it. Here are people who are alleged die hards and most of the time they sat on their hands.

Bring in Darren Meenan...and the dynamic of a diehard fan completely changed for me. He created his own Mets fan clothing line called the 7 Line and brings fans together who might not want to wear the standard run of the mill t-shirts you see in Modells. I sure do not.

On June 3rd he coordinated the "Dont Trade Reyes" Day where 500 people wore the Don't Trade Reyes t-shirt and stood along the Shea Bridge to Citi Field. Darren held up the sign that is in the picture above and nothing happened. It was talked about in the NY Post as well as other online sports outlets...but then...yesterday it was proven that Mets Security are just like any other assholes in the world of sports. Here is the story from Darren himself from his blog The 7 Line:I started the game off on the "Shea Bridge" and decided to go down to my seat in the 4th inning for Jose's at bat. The fans around me saw the sign and were pumped up on the message. We all want Reyes on this team. When he walked to the plate I told the fans around me that we would be chanting Don't Trade Reyes clap clap clap clap clap.... They were into it and it spread to the other side of the stadium in seconds. Now I completely understand that its obnoxious to sit behind someone holding a gigantic sign but it was up for about 20 seconds TOPS. It just ended up being at the right place at the right time and it luckily caught the attention of the ESPN cameras. I was told by a security guard that I can't hold up the sign when the game is in play. I agreed. That makes complete sense. After he got a hit I put up the sign again and a supervisor then came down to tell me that I can't have the sign up because it has a website address on it. Ok... again, makes complete sense. I am getting free advertisement LIVE on national television. Makes sense. I decided to leave the section on my own and walk back to my original spot. I agreed that I wouldn't show the sign anymore. They didn't kick me out right off the bat. I folded up my sign and while walking out (while fans booed of course.. they wanted me there) and people around asked how to contact me. I gave out about 10 business cards and that is what set off security even more. That is now soliciting I guess. The guard asked to see my ticket. I did in fact have one for that section. He then confiscated the ticket and asked me to leave on my own or leave in cuffs. I asked on what charge and he said "now you are trespassing, you don't have a ticket". Real classy. I've never been kicked out of any stadium before. At first I was pissed but in the end... it was worth it.

Now this is where my opinion comes in -- I say to Darren THANK YOU. Thank you so much for showing how much the Mets mean to you as well as Jose Reyes. It all boils down to one thing and that is MONEY. Yes I understand there are certain guidelines fans must follow in Citi Field regarding banners and such and again I say it is all about MONEY. For a corporation to get advertising on ESPN, the corporation must pay an advertising fee or ad rate of how long the commercial is and such as well as if a corporation wants to place a billboard ad in a professional sports team stadium that is another fee. What happened to Darren if you think about it in a financial standpoint, the NY Mets Security had a legit claim as he violated the guidelines as other media outlets have stated. In terms of fan relations, it leaves a poor after taste. The NY Mets are not exactly on a winning streak and are compared to a Triple A ball team who happens to be part of MLB. Citi Field on most nights is EMPTY and most fans sit on their hands and do nothing. Fans like Darren should be welcomed with open arms especially to illicit such a strong movement for the team as well as an individual player. Hopefully the security will learn from their mistake and fans -- if you are going to express your fandom, make sure you follow the rules.

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