Timing, it can not be overstated, is everything. You want to sell something, you want to sell when demand is high. You don't want to be ambling the greater Yorktown area in late 1781 peddling King George commemorative medallions, y'know? So on some level you have to wonder how fortuitous a month October 2007 was for the Mets to put on sale…bricks!
One assumes the timing was meant to be spot on; with the Mets marching through October to greater glory, why wouldn't fans flush with pennant fever want to take advantage of the following offer?
The Citi Field Fanwalk is where Mets fans can become a permanent part of Citi Field through the purchase of individual engraved bricks surrounding the main entry of Citi Field. Fans will be able to recognize their family, friends and favorite Mets moments through lasting tributes engraved directly onto the bricks of the plaza outside of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
Obviously putting this sort of expensive “I am a Met, dammit!” trinket on sale shortly after the Mets themselves collapsed into a pile of bricks wasn't what whoever makes these decisions had in mind. If they could have seen what was coming, one imagines the offer would have been pushed up a few weeks, even a few crucial days:
The Tom Glavine Brick is perfect to fire or fling from any section of Shea Stadium should a passionless 300-game winner with the personality of a rock carry the immediate fate of your franchise in his hands come the season's final day and drop it so it smashes into a million little pieces before your team comes to bat. For a small surcharge, you can engrave a personal message of animosity to this poor excuse for a Met so he will be able to recognize exactly who disdains him and why.
But the Marketing Dept. wasn't nearly that creative.
As mets.com describes in detail, your brick, depending on how big it is and how much you want it to say, will cost you between $195 and $395 plus tax and a “convenience fee” of $5 to cover the replica brick you get for your very own home Fanwalk. What's convenient about that? Well, it certainly makes your wallet easier to tote around.
It's impossible to be party to a come-on like this and not roll your eyes. It's also impossible to consider it and think, “well, maybe if I move a few things around, I can find $200 for my brick.” Superfannisheness being what it is, who doesn't crave this ultimate in ÜberMet identification? Hey, I'm part of Citi Field! And not in the way Jimmy Hoffa is allegedly part of Giants Stadium! One of these days, the Mets are gonna walk all over me! As long as intimacy issues dictate that you're not going to be able to get inside Citi Field as often as you'd like*, the least you can do is be permanently outside it.
Yes, I both scoff at this scam and wonder if I should hurry up and get in on it. The immortality aspect of it appeals to our worst and best instincts. There'll be no denying you're a Mets fan if it's there for everybody to see. You are not a front runner if you're on a brick. You're in it for perpetuity. Why, you can be as enduring as Citi Field itself!
Which will be how long exactly?
Those of us who grew up alongside Shea Stadium, who are roughly the same age as the Condemned Man, probably never thought our ballpark would ever come down. But there it is, on the clock, 81 regular-season games to go (I'm not making allowances for postseason in 2008 — not after 2007 I'm not). It's such an accepted fact of life now that it takes some serious thinking to think how seriously stunning it is. In 1964, 1974, 1984, 1994, Shea Stadium was going to be here forever. Even in 2004, as city and team officials dickered into oblivion, it seemed impossible to believe it would be gone. Come 2014, it will be parking.
So how long will your brick remain in place? Maybe long enough so you won't know it won't be there forever? Shea Stadium will have served 45 seasons. Ebbets Field, whose ever mourned demise is eternally on our psychic tab, also gave its team 45 seasons. (The final version of the Polo Grounds put in 47 seasons for the Giants and two more for the Mets, but according to informed sources, the Polo Grounds and the Giants barely existed.) If Citi Field endures in the tradition of its wayward dad and its mythical grandpa, then let's chalk it in for being home to the New York Mets from 2009 to 2053.
If we are to assume baseball and the planet continue to revolve, then what? If Citi Field doesn't stand any more forever than any park besides Fenway and Wrigley, it will be replaced. Maybe in Flushing. Maybe somewhere else. I'll probably never know, so no skin off my nose, I suppose. Still, tough to believe a brick can make you a “permanent part” of anything. Maybe the Fanwalk remains at the doorstep of Jack Roosevelt Robinson's rotunda for the life of Citi Field, but Citi Field's life is probably as finite as everybody and everything else's.
Due to demographic trends, population movement and theological shifts, synagogues in the Northeast are merging in order to survive. Examining the reluctant coming together of 60-year-old Wantagh Jewish Center and 80-year-old Farmingdale Jewish Center as the brand new Farmingdale-Wantagh Jewish Center, Paul Vitello of the Times recently wrote:
What would become of the memorial plaques — those brass plates inscribed with the names of deceased congregants — attached to the walls and pews of the synagogues left behind?
When those plaques were installed, they were presumably up for the long haul. Who knew the long haul would carry an expiration date?
I don't mean to be sadly fatalistic about it. If all you do is focus on the pointlessness of everything, then you're on the road to total Nihilism (an extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence), which is only one short step above Glavinism (poor pitching that destroys all existence, combined with a rationalization that the results aren't devastating). But all I can think of with this Fanwalk thing, beyond the $5 convenience fee even, is an offer somebody will someday make to somebody else:
Authentic Citi Field Brick!
Engraved in 2008!
Laid in 2009!
Makes A Great Gift!
*Thanks to the wonderfully vigilant Loge 13 for the link to 100 Greatest Days in New York Sports author Stuart Miller's op-ed piece in the Times suggesting Citi Field capacity be expanded to 49,000 considering that once luxury suites are accounted for, only 33,500 seats per Mets game will be available to the general public as plans now stand.