If You Sign Them, We Will Come
The attendance at Shea Stadium was holding steady drawing about 32,000 to 35,000 between 1999 and 2002. In 2003, the Mets saw a drop in attendance of 6,500 patrons per game and in 2004 that number has dropped even further to a loss of about 11,500 people per game off the 2002 average. That drop was obviously due to the last place finishes the year before in each season and the lack of big name signings outside of Tom Glavine, Mike Cameron, and Kaz Matsui. Let's not forget that the Mets were playing meaningful games for half the season and still having the least amount of fans show up since 1997 speaks volumes about how Met fans feel about the current state of the team. It was tough tracking down the average ticket price for a game at Shea stadium, but what I've found numbers ranging from $23 to $25 dollars a game over the past few years. So taking the middle number and using an estimate of $24 dollars a game, the Mets essentially are off roughly $22,356,000 in the ticket revenues that they received 2002. That does not even include revenue from concessions which should skyrocket that number to over $30,000,000. It is obviously not all profit, but a substantial amount sure is. If you take into account actually fielding a good enough team and making it too the playoffs, a game at Shea is worth roughly $1.3 million per game in tickets sales and that number will most likely double in concessions easily due to the increased consumption of alcohol to keep warm in the cold October days in New York.
If the Wilpons give Minaya the go ahead to bring in quality players and raise the payroll by about $20,000,000 from where it is currently this year, that would bring the Mets to about $104,000,000 dollars overall. Heading into the off season, the Mets will only be on hook for approximately $68,000,000. That would give Omar about $36,000,000 dollars to work with and that could without a doubt materialize into a lot of victories. I am by no means suggesting that they spend money just to spend it, but with the talent pool of players available this year, it can be money well spent. Tomorrow I will go ahead and outline how the Mets can re-stock for the 2005 season and keep within the above payroll constraints and go into the season looking like the strongest ballclub in the NL East. The resources are there and in no way would the Mets be overspending. You have to spend money to make money and like in 2002 when the Mets brought in Cedeno, Burnitz, Alomar, and Vaughn, there was excitement and people thought the Mets were going to be good. I'm one of those people and that was the first year I bought my Sunday package. That was the second highest attendance in the past 14 years when an average of 34,628 people showed up to each Mets game. The only season to beat that in terms of attendance in the last 14 years was the 2000 season when the Mets went to the World Series and averaged 34,821. To be in the largest market in the world and be 18th out of 30 teams in attendance is just ridiculous. There are plenty of Met fans out there, they just need a reason to show up to the field. The Wilpons need to give back to the fans. He needs to open his wallet this season and the fans will most likely pay for the players themselves if they product is there. Wilpon does take on risk that the team is injury riddled again and the fans don’t show up, but when you are in the biggest market in the world, you can afford to take risks.
"We're going in the right direction," Peterson insisted. "It looks like we're far off, but we're really not. It's been a war of attrition and it's got to go back the other way."
He's got that right. It sure looks like the Mets are far off, but I kind of agree with him, the Mets have serious health issues. If those can be overcome and they can add a big bat, this team could turn this one around quickly. He also defended Zambrano.
"I don't like him, I love him," Peterson said. "Working with him just for a couple of starts, it was exciting how quickly he learned some of the things we tried to do. Those were not simple adjustments to make."
Peterson was particularly impressed when Zambrano, known for erratic control and high pitch counts, tossed seven shutout innings of two-hit ball on Aug. 12, walking only two. "That was the first time in his career he ever threw just 94 pitches in seven innings," Peterson said. "And we only clocked him at 90, 91 when we know he can throw 94, 95."
I think we were all wondering what happened to Benson's arm and Zambrano's arm after they came over to the Mets. Both were supposed to pump the ball up into the mid 90's and both were topping out at 91. I think Zambrano can be nasty. Anyone that has watched him while he was in the Met rotation for a few starts knows that. But he was still damaged goods when he came over. The only major problem I have with what he said was this comment:
"With the pitchers we have and with the defense we can put out there to support this pitching staff, this club is definitely capable of doing what we did in the first half."
With two 39 year old pitchers and one 35 year old pitcher I think it is inevitable that you will see a drop off in production at the end of the year. The Mets have to find a way to get younger in the rotation and wave good bye to Leiter and give him a Rolex.
The best player Omar Minaya ever signed is Sammy Sosa. So it's no surprise that, with Minaya now running the Mets and Sosa now entrenched in Cub controversy, there already are media rumblings about a potential Sosa-Minaya reunion.
Don't get too excited just yet, though.
Don't get too excited? I do not think any Met fan in their right mind wanted Sammy Sosa's unproductive self to be at Shea next year. I can think of 17,000,000 reasons in 2005 and 18,000,000 reasons in 2006. According to the post, if Sosa is traded, his $18,000,000 in 2006 kicks in automatically basically rendering un-tradable. I'm not sure who starts these rumors, but Sammy would be a mistake of epic proportions.
Of more immediate concern for the Mets is their managerial search, and it appears that the Rangers' well-respected hitting instructor, Rudy Jaramillo, could be headed for Flushing in some capacity. Jaramillo met with the Rangers' front office yesterday and gave the impression he is pursuing other options.
"There's going to be some opportunities presented to Rudy," Rangers GM John Hart told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Maybe not as a hitting coach, and that would be a terrific thing for Rudy."
Jaramillo is a big favorite of Minaya's and is expected to interview shortly. Also at the top of the list is White Sox third-base coach Joey Cora, and the possibility of a second coming for Bobby Valentine. The former Mets manager will be in town this week, though it is unclear if he is willing to leave his managerial job with Chiba Lotte in Japan.
I like the idea of Jaramillo. Looking past the fact that he is the hitting coach in stadium that is made for hitting, he has done a good job with the young hitters. I'm pulling for him to be the hitting coach and the good news is it seems like a slam dunk he'll be here in some capacity.
"I'm very interested in [Philadelphia]," Baylor said. "It's a very competitive town. The team is loaded with some offensive guys in a real good hitters' park. Some guys they were counting on pitching-wise didn't come through for them. When they got Billy Wagner, I thought it was going to be a great advantage for them, but injuries really hit them. Most good teams have depth, and they didn't have a lot of depth pitching-wise."
Victor Zambrano has been playing catch off flat ground for the last few weeks and says he has no pain in his right elbow.
Some bad news:
Still, he's not sure when he's going to be able to throw off a mound. He is following a program put forth by the Mets medical staff and has no plans to deviate from it.
A program put forth by the Mets medical staff? Is this the same medical staff that put Reyes on a rehabilitation program? The same staff that failed to identify DeJean's broken leg for a month? Someone please help us. Am I the only one that does not see Zambrano actually making it through the entire 2005 season?
While I'm foolishingly making predications, I may as well just go ahead and predict Boston to take game one from Anaheim and the Dodgers will pull the upset and take down St. Louis today.