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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Do The Right Thing Twice

Kudos to the Mets for hearing the voice of the people — with Mets Police as ever flicking on the microphone so that voice could resonate loudly and clearly — and changing Banner Night, which had been Banner Day, back to Banner Day. For those of you who missed it or aren’t immersed in hashtags, the Mets had scheduled Banner Day for a Sunday afternoon in late May. ESPN, as is its wont, printed up a banner that read, essentially, WE DON’T CARE, and plucked that game in particular for a Sunday night cablecast. Banner Night is not unprecedented if you know your Mets history, but it’s not an ideal platform for a promotion just refinding its mojo after an eternity of inactivity.

The Mets’ first reaction to ESPN’s bedsheet bullsheet, judging by their inertia, was no reaction. Then a sizable segment of the fan base that lives on Twitter got energized. That doesn’t always mean anything, as a sizable segment of anybody can be energized over anything on Twitter for five minutes. But this movement had legs. Enough #Mets fans made enough noise that the Mets responded. They came up with three dates (two afternoons and the transplanted night) and polled the delegation on when it wanted to fly its banners. Next thing ya knew, Banner Day was rescheduled to Saturday afternoon, May 11. Personally, I think the second weekend in May is a tad too early in the season for us to know who and what to hail on our placards, but the people spoke, and I say huzzah that we were heard.

All hail Mets democracy! All hail our benevolent management for occasionally putting its customers first! All hail something that works!

Someday, how about hailing the return of the Banner Day Doubleheader?

The Mets did the right thing, but it still isn’t quite right enough for my tastes. I was thrilled to have Banner Day back in 2012 and am glad it maintained its foothold for 2013, yet I don’t believe it will ever flutter in full glory as merely a pregame jaunt. Banner Day before a day game is better than Not Banner Day at all, but not as good as it could be.

Spirit wasn’t missing from the Banner Day celebrants last year. What was AWOL was an audience. Hardly anybody was in the stands at 11:30 in the morning and SNY’s cameras were still in their off position. The Mets’ network of record was busy airing a crucial infomercial, while most of those who held tickets for the Mets-Padres matinee were still getting in their cars or on their trains. I made a point of showing up at Citi Field early and I still missed the initial portion of the procession.

Banner Day is simply more festive when it features more people. People striding with banners. People watching from the stands. People watching from their couches. People already in a Mets lather from having watched one Mets game and preparing to watch another.

Only an act of God or ESPN can create a doubleheader these days, but as noted a couple of years ago in this space, there is modern precedent for reviving a staple from the past. The Oakland A’s received special dispensation from the Players Association to schedule a doubleheader in advance because it seemed novel and likely to attract a crowd (which it did). There’s also the Patriots Day precedent in Boston. There, once a year, they start a game well before noon because it’s their tradition.

Our tradition — a tradition too strong to die, even after sixteen years of dormancy — is Banner Day…the Banner Day Doubleheader. The stuff of legends. The stuff of extra-inning openers that kept the banners rustling in the wings for as long as it took. The stuff that kept Channel 9 must-see TV between games. The stuff that a stadium full of Mets fans stood to applaud when it was done.

The Banner Day Doubleheader: that’s the stuff. It’s good that Banner Day has returned. It will be even better when it’s whole.

Meanwhile, the management of Banner Day Press proudly invites you to march triumphantly to Amazon and order The Happiest Recap: First Base (1962-1973), where you can read about classic placard parades and so much more.

7 comments to Do The Right Thing Twice

  • joenunz

    August 1, 1972. That was a long night for this nine-year old. Tripleheader!

  • Patrick

    I agree but this goes over the Mets heads. This is a player union thing. And it is unlikely to be resolved in any fashion until the next CBA.

    To me it makes 100% sense for teams to bring back the double-header, each team should be playing at least ONE once a month in June July and August. They in the economic environment of todays sports landscape an untapped gold mine for baseball teams. I don’t even care if they force them into a weekday shoe horn. Tell me I am getting two games for the price of one and I am there. Good team or bad, it is an event markedly different than just your average day at the ballpark.

    Got to get the MLBPA on board though.

  • Schneck

    May is not a bad idea as far as fan morale is concerned. The Mets are kind of like a scratch off lottery ticket. April and May represent the time when you are scratching and full of hope. June, part of it is revealed and you see a bunch of zeroes. July forward is the part where you have revealed once again that you have won nothing are out 5 bucks. Better to enjoy the banners before you have that realization once again.

  • I’ve been looking at the old schedules and yearbooks and it seems that Banner Day, in the first 15-20 years of Mets existence, was often not announced before the season like the other staples: Camera Day, Family Day, Old-Timer’s Day, and the like. Seems like they picked a doubleheader a month or two off and said, “This will be Banner Day. Break out the sheets.” There were many twinbills to choose from, more than 20 per year in the 1960s (though about half of those were on the road).

    My own two cents was that once they stopped having the game as a doubleheader, the death knell sounded for Banner Day. Who wants to go there 2-3 hours before the game to see a parade. And shame on SNY for not cutting into its own parade of informercials to show it last year. Huzzah for Mets Police for waking the echoes! And FAFIF, for that matter.

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  • nestornajwa

    Yes, absolutely. Banner Day is on a respirator until it happens between two games. In a year or two, the novelty will wane, there will be fewer and fewer banners, maybe a drizzly morning causes a particularly poor showing one morning and… that’s the end of Banner Day. I’m calling it at 2016. Sorry.

    It would be great if the Mets would petition for a doubleheader. But Bud doesn’t exactly owe the Wilpons a favor, and even if he did, I seriously doubt this would be the one they chose. And the MLBPA doesn’t do “favors”.

    So maybe we came at this from the wrong angle. I think Banner Day attached to a single game would work better as a night game. And if it’s an 8:00 ESPN game, that’s even better, because the banners can start a little later and the best ones get on national TV. Great to see the Mets respond to fan concerns, but we didn’t think this one through.