Monday, August 14, 2006

One for the New York Fans

One of the best examples of spontaneous public relations was the standing ovation New Yorkers gave to Mike Piazza, baseball superstar and former eight-year player for the New York Mets, when he hit two home runs in one game for the San Diego Padres opposing the Mets last Wednesday night. Piazza's contract with the Mets ended in 2005. He joined the Padres in time for the current season.

Nearly 50,000 fans stood clapping for several minutes after each home run and kept it up until Piazza came out of the dugout and tipped his hat to the crowd. Fortunately, I was there to witness it!

Could this be the finest moment in Mets fan history? Possibly. The overwhelming reception given to an opponent who just "did damage" to the home team says a lot for the affection, esteem and respect we have for Piazza and the great contributions he made during his tenure here. (Of course, the Mets were winning. I wonder what the reaction would have been had the team been behind.)

In his last two seasons here, Piazza was occasionally booed as his productivity declined. Nevertheless, what lingers in all of our minds is how he helped the Mets win the pennant in 2000 … and all those other occasions over the years when his all-star offense helped win games.

What also lingers — and why I miss having this guy on our side so much — is the way he represented the Mets in media interviews. Often referred to during his days with the team as "the face of the Mets," Mike Piazza was discrete in controversial situations, articulate, honest, yet diplomatic. He communicated with enormous sincerity. He inspired trust. Indeed, he was a spokesperson role model. He commented after the game in a media interview following the near five-minute ovation he got on the first night he returned to New York about how touched he was. He said that he found it almost "surreal" and even difficult to play in New York for a team opposing the Mets. "I almost went back to the wrong dugout after the inning," he said.

It was also a pleasure to behold New York that night, often criticized in the U.S. media as a tough fan market, celebrate a former icon with such dignity, integrity and appreciation.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one NY fan to another, I say, LETS GO METS!
To start, I agree with a lot of the points you make. Piazza, for a while, was the king of Shea and will probably be rewarded by his number being retired. Met fans saw him take the team farther than they had been since the mid 80’s. His presence on the team is noticed and he is surely missed.
I think it was lovely that we (Mets fans) gave him two standing ovations after his homeruns and yes, if we had been losing, there would have been an awkward silence in the place of fanfare. But, if memory serves me right, Piazza did not fulfill many of the promises he made. Sure, he was great on camera, well mannered, modest, etc; nevertheless, under his “leadership”, we still had no World Series title. 3 hopeful years in a row, we watched as Bobby Valentines Mets choked in the post season and a less than clutch Piazza forget his PR promises.
You want to talk about one for the NY fans; all you need to do is open the Post. This is a season where we can afford to cheer for the other team and since we are the greatest fans in the world, we chose Piazza for our affection. To say that it may have been one of the greatest moments in Mets fans history is going a little too far. Jesse Orosco, Tom Seaver, or the last catches of the 1969/1986 World Series are much greater moments than the warm welcome to Piazza.
I would like to conclude by saying that I think David Wright is a great example of pr for the Mets and Baseball players across the country. He is well mannered, successful, young, and is part of an almost guaranteed National League Championship team. He is clutch and will certainly be a huge part in taking a run for the pennant.

Monday, August 14, 2006 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

I agree with all you say ... but this: Except for his last two years, Piazza fulfilled his promise to New York. One man can not make our team win the pennant. He was star power at its best, even when the team was not at its best.

Friday, August 18, 2006 4:53:00 PM  

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