One the same day I wrote about some of the early season travails of the two New York teams (New Yankee Stadium home run barrage, and just the opposite problem at Citi Field, or Shea II), I also commented about a widespread view among many Mets fans (guilty as charged) that the modern club pays scant attention to the great stars and teams of the past.
The next day the New York Daily News was reporting that a kind of pathetic spat had unfolded between the Mets’ front office and my favorite player of the 1980s, Doc Gooden. Seems Doc had signed a wall at the Ebbets Club bar at the stadium at the behest of fans, and the front office promptly announced it would be removed, which caused an uproar.
Dr. Freud might suggest there’s some significance to the irony of a front office that so admiringly fusses over the Brooklyn Dodgers (gone west five years when the Mets were born in 1962) while seemingly shortchanging its own history, but I’m no psychotherapist.
The row was mercifully short lived, but the mere fact that it developed at all offers a glimpse of the underlying discontent with how the old geezers and teams have been regarded by the Mets front office every year.
It’s not a precise analogy, but the once Brooklyn-based card maker Topps was much the same in terms of its philosophical outlook about its own storied past. When our hobby took off in the 1980s, getting Topps officials to pay much attention to its remarkable history was difficult if not impossible, but fortunately for collectors that view has ebbed quite a bit over the last 15 years or so.
In Topps’ defense, the company for decades considered itself as marketing confectionary products (and cards) to children; the hobby boom made it clear that there was a significant adult component, one that has doubtless grown in relative importance with each succeeding year.