Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lowered Prices, Fired Coaches & More Non-News

With most of the baseball world focused on the plight of those teams fortunate enough to make the playoffs, Mets fans have undoubtedly zeroed in on the hopeful demise of the Yanks and Phils. Meanwhile, Sandy Alderson continues to go about the business in recreating the New York Mets organization. As if unable to go more than a few weeks without producing some headlines, the Sandy and the Mets put together back to back press conference worthy days this week.

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First came the well received press release that the team will be lowering prices for most season ticket holders this year. Discounts ranging in excess of 30% are sure to turn some heads, but the second half of that release included the arrival of 'dynamic' pricing. As a result, fans looking to see the Mets will be able to accomplish their goal when lower profile teams, such as the Pirates and Astros comes to down. Unfortunately, those who want to see more important games, or if demand in general starts to rise, so too will ticket prices.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that the Mets would institute a pricing plan where they were stand to lose money. As disclosed earlier this week, 2011 attendance dropped 8% from 2010. Therefore, it would makes sense that the team would act in a way to get more fans to the ball park. However, don't forget that ticket sales is only one aspect of how the teams makes money. Food and vendor sales is sure to make up the difference in ticket prices if the Mets successfully fill more seats via this new plan. With the Wilpons' wallets in question and Sandy Alderson working to stretch the almighty dollar, don't think for one minute the team stands to lose money through their new pricing plan.

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Wednesday brought with it another press conference to announce the dismissal of Chip Hale, Mookie Wilson and Jon Debus. I honestly don't see the role of a bench coach as anything more than a buffer between a manager and his players. I don't feel one way or the other about Hale, so I don't foresee much change coming as a result of his departure. Mookie's presence brought with it a bit of nostalgia, which is all many Mets' fans have left at this point. His function, outside of being the team's first base coach appeared to be pretty limited and as such, the Mets became the second team to send the former speedster packing. Finally the team released bullpen coach Jon Debus, who I'd never heard of before.

The thing is, anyone who is fortunate enough to make it to the major league level clearly knows how to play baseball. Some may require more polishing than others, but in reality the coaches are there to monitor, position and every now and then offer advise. Replacing these men with Tim Teufel, amongst others, will not add wins to the Mets season next year, and should really be an afterthought looking back next spring.

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And so, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sandy's work will ultimately be judged by whether or not he is able to retain Jose Reyes and through the acquisition of the other players he manages to bring in, as he reworks the major league roster. It will ultimately be the talent on the field, rather than the men coaching them that will bring wins to Flushing. When and if those wins start to increase, so too will the number of fans in the stands. Its a vicious cycle, but one we should know all too well at this point.

Sandy Alderson has a tough road ahead. While these little tweaks may be necessary when it comes to everyday business operations, they are not really news. Stay tuned for the free agent news, because it will be the Jose Reyes press conference that is really worth your attention. After that, pray for pitching...because until then these small changes, and maybe even the bigger ones to come, won't mean a thing.

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