By Mike Steffanos
It's somewhat depressing for a lifelong Mets fan that opening day is right around the corner and I still have no access to SNY. I've more or less been called a communist in some quarters for what I wrote a couple of days ago about what Fred Wilpon owes Mets fans. Sometimes I write something and, after thinking it over, I come to regret it. Not this time.
I absolutely believe that Fred Wilpon does owe Mets fans a fair opportunity to see their team play. If you want to criticize me for that, fine. Yes, the New York Mets are a business, and Mr. Wilpon owns that business. Like most business owners, he has the right to make any legal choice regarding his business. There is an important distinction, however, between what a regular business owes its customers and what a sports franchise owes its fans.
If I bring my clothes to a laundry and I don't like the way they clean my shirts, I'm going to pack it up and go to a different laundry. However, Mets fans don't look things over at the start of the year and say, "the Yankees look to be more entertaining than the Mets this year, I'm going to switch." We stick with a team through thick and thin -- and there has been a whole boatload of thin with this franchise. Mets ownership owes the fans something more than a laundry owes its customers, period. And I'm not just some cranky crackpot for believing this.
Sports franchises are quasi-public entities, they're not your typical private companies, and don't play by the same rules. Fred Willpon did not invent baseball, and did not create the Mets. I, for one, have been a Mets fans long before Mr. Wilpon had any stake in this team. I always try to respect the opinions of others, but my mind is firm on this one. Fred Wilpon does not owe me a voice in personnel decisions. Fred Wilpon does not need to spend x amount of dollars on players in any given season to retain my loyalty. He does, however, owe me at least a fair chance to see my team's games. If I don't get that, I absolutely feel that it is within my rights to criticize him. Along with privilege, there are responsibilities that come with owning a sports franchise. If he doesn't like that, he can sell the team and concentrate on his real estate empire.
I doubt that anyone on either side of this question is likely to be persuaded by the other side's point of view, let's move on...
On a happier note
I received my 1986 World Series DVD set from Amazon.com today. I watched some innings from some of the games, including the game 6 comeback. Not only is it easy to navigate the DVDs to a particular half-inning, but the individual sleeves for each DVD has a clear listing of what happened in each inning. The picture quality was great for games that were recorded 20 years ago.
There are 9 disks in the set. Disk One contains the complete decisive Game 6 of the NLCS against Houston. All 7 World Series games are contained one to a disk on disks Two - Eight. Disk 9 contains the special features. When I get a chance to look them over I'll be back with a more in-depth review.
Needless to say, I'm a little down about wondering when I'll be able to watch Mets games this year. Receiving this set has put a smile back on my face, at least for now.
New York Mets: 1986 World Series
A&E Home Video
9 DVD Set