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A Cup — A Plastic Cup


Hey, neat?

Tomorrow night, according to the periodic table of elements better known as the Citi Field Seating & Pricing Chart [2], is a Bronze game on the Mets’ home schedule. Tickets are priced from $15 in Promenade Reserved to $460 in Delta Club Platinum (Delta Club Platinum is, of course, the finest faucet money can buy). The $445 range encompasses 41 different seating levels, some more Terrific than others. You can spend $112 to get high on Baseline Box Gold, roam to Caesars Club Silver for $96 or just go with something that actually sounds like a seating section in a ballpark, like Left Field Reserved, for $40. Your choice.

What will you get for between $15 and $460 Friday night? You’ll get the Mets playing the Giants, Mike Pelfrey (shoulder tightness [3] willing) versus Jonathan Sanchez, a matchup of a team that’s been on a bit of a roll — a 7-2 spurt has elevated San Fran into first place — posing a challenge to our boys who have cooled down since their last historically hot homestand. Depending on how much you value baseball, it’s a perfectly attractive game and you are, by all means, encouraged to consider purchasing whichever ticket fits your desires and/or budget.

Also, if you buy a ticket and enter among the first 25,000 ticketholders, you will receive a cup. A plastic cup. A cup with a picture of Johan Santana, one of the Mets logos [4] and the words LET’S GO METS. It is “presented” by the company that makes the sausages sold at Citi Field, so I suspect the company’s trademark will appear, too.

You may want a cup that features those characteristics. You might say, “Hey, neat!” Johan Santana is still, recent unnerving drop in velocity [5] notwithstanding, a pretty popular guy with Mets fans, and the whole notion of LET’S GO METS presumably continues to maintain resonance [6] with the same audience. I personally don’t give a damn about the company that makes the sausages, but you know the old saying: There’s two things in this world you never want to let people see how you make ’em — laws and the Mets’ promotional schedule.

You may want that cup when you come face to face with it. When you’ve paid between $15 and $460 for that ticket and then attempted to self-scan it five or six times before the scanner beeps and you are permitted to pass through the Kozy Shack turnstiles (after you and your belongings have been searched, patted down and wanded), you may be wordlessly handed that cup and indeed say, “Hey, neat!” Or you may say, “Oh.” Or you may say nothing. Again, your call.

What I’m guessing you won’t say is, “Oh boy, a plastic cup! This was that little extra bonus that attracted me to the stadium tonight.”

I don’t think you’re gonna say that at all. Even if it’s a most handsome cup, I don’t think a single ticket buyer will have been moved to dig deep because of a plastic cup. Even if it’s got Johan Santana’s picture. Even if it says LET’S GO METS. Even if you’re a fan of the sausage company.

You know what this particular promotion is billed as? Collector’s Cup Night. That implies there is an active effort underway among Mets fans to collect plastic cups. That there are vibrant, growing plastic cup collections all about Metsopotamia. That there is something to collecting plastic cups beyond not throwing them into the trash or leaving them under your seat.

I have, mere feet from where I type, probably a dozen different plastic cups featuring the Mets logo and a complementary design highlighting a given year’s star players or marketing slogan. They come from disparate and sometimes desperate Mets seasons. They came with a Diet Pepsi, most likely. Elsewhere in the Prince household, there are more Mets cups of that nature. Some predate Pepsi’s Mets sponsorship and came with a Diet Coke, maybe even a Diet Rite if we reach back far enough. I like to display them here and there. I don’t like to throw them away. When my wife decided to indulge her latent green thumb a few months ago, she asked if she could use one of them to pot a plant. Sure, I said, we have plenty of them. After a fashion, they are not really fit to drink from anyway, so you might as well fill one of them with dirt and seeds and hope for the best.

But I gotta tell ya, I don’t collect plastic Mets cups. Nobody collects plastic Mets cups. We collect stuff with Mets logos, sure. And we keep our cups because they have Mets logos, but it’s not a hobby or a passion or an obsession, not one I’ve encountered in my Met travels. Therefore, to host a six-game homestand and have as your only promotional date a night dedicated to giving out plastic cups…I can’t see that working.

This is the best the Mets could do? Collector’s Cup Night? It’s a false construct. Nobody seeks out these cups. They’re not collected. Collections of them just happen. At best, you go for a soda and you decide to spring for the difference between what the soda would cost in a paper cup and what it will cost in a plastic cup. When I told Stephanie that Friday was going to be Collector’s Cup Night, she asked, “Don’t you get that with the ten-dollar soda?” Yeah, I said, something like that.

You wind up with the cup because you bought the soda. Or you wind up with the cup because somebody else bought the soda and you’re not too proud to scoop it up when that person doesn’t care enough to take it home. It’s not why you went to the game. It’s just what you wound up with when you left. That, I am convinced, is the extent of plastic cup collecting.

You don’t buy a ticket priced anywhere from $15 to $460 so you can get the Collector’s Cup. You’ll take it if they’re dispensing it. You’ll be damned if you don’t get what’s coming to you for the price of your admission. You’d prefer not to be Fan No. 25,001 and not get your cup.

But no way — no way in hell — are you going to look at your pocket schedule or visit mets.com and say, “I think I’m going to go Friday, May 7, because it’s Collector’s Cup Night.” No, it’s not going to happen. And the organization that plans promotional nights has to have a hunch that it’s not going to happen. That organization, in concert with its sausage supplier, might want to sit down for as many as five minutes and discuss the matter. They might want to acknowledge to one another that a Collector’s Cup is neither a legitimate enticement to buy a ticket nor a suitable reward for having bought a ticket.

It’s a plastic cup. You get it with the ten-dollar soda.


• Though “Attend Collector’s Cup Night” just missed the cut, check out the newly released paperback version of Matt Silverman’s 100 Things Mets Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die [7]. It has been updated with more thoughts, more facts and more things to know and do. I’m particularly partial to No. 81: “Read the Mets,” but all hundred are top-notch.

• Today is New York Met and New York Giant icon Willie Mays’s 79th birthday. If the Mets are marking the occasion [8] during the visit of the Giants this weekend, they are keeping it a well-hidden secret. Nevertheless, you can celebrate the life of the Say Hey Kid by reading this great story [9] about Willie and a member of the Mets’ broadcasting family by James H. (Jim) Burns.

AMAZIN’ TUESDAY is returning May 18, 7:00 PM, to a NEW LOCATION: The Two Boots at Grand Central Terminal [10]. We’ll have more details next week, but mark down the date, the time and the special guest speakers: Taryn “Coop” Cooper of My Summer Family [11] and Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods [12].

• Every day is a good day to read Metstradamus, who can now be found at a new URL: metstradamusblog.com [13]. Belated fifth-anniversary wishes to the only blog that deserves a permanent place in the Angel Berroa Rotunda [14].

• Reminder for fans of Jane Jarvis’s music, Mets-related and otherwise: a jazz memorial in her honor is taking place at St. Peter’s Church in Manhattan this Monday evening. Details here [15].

• Reminder for those who love New York and want to know more about it: Peter Laskowich is kicking off his spring and summer history tours next weekend, May 15 and 16. Some are baseball-centered, others give it to you without horsehide. Every one I’ve been on has  literally [16] and figuratively [17] been a trip. You can get in touch with Peter through New York Dynamic [18] to learn more..

• Finally, heartiest of congratulations to Sharon Chapman on having reached her initial imposing fundraising goal of $3,600 for the Tug McGraw Foundation. Thanks to readers like you and a lot of other generous folks, Sharon has earned her entry into the New York Marathon this fall. Befitting someone who has undertaken a long run [19], Sharon’s not done trying to help out the fight against brain cancer and other insidious diseases. She is going to try to jack up her total to a Tuglike $4,500 and we will, as Official Wrist Sponsor [20], continue in the coming months to keep you apprised of her and the Foundation’s activities [21]. We’ll also be sharing a few more Tug stories along the way. If you can, please donate here [22].