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How Another Thirtieth Lives

During the endless (or so it seemed) New York City newspaper strike of 1978, when checking one’s phone for headlines was somehow not an option, a parody of the so-called Paper of Record made the rounds. Not The New York Times [1], it was called, the brainchild of George Plimpton, the industrious correspondent who would go on to scoop all competitors regarding the tantalizing prospects of fireballing Sidd Finch seven springs later. I mention this because if you ever wanted to see what Not The New York Mets’ Ownership looks like, read this letter [2] from a guy who runs a much different baseball team.

To post a note of this nature, you have to follow something akin to the advice Steve Martin once offered [3] for being a millionaire and never paying taxes:

First, win the World Series.

From there, I suppose it’s easy to emit graciousness and take a few miles off one’s triumphalist fastball when you’ve just been crowned champions of the baseball world (and had plenty of practice at it), yet Larry Baer, San Francisco Giants president and CEO, gives good letter [4] even when the Giants go home at the same time as the rest of us. The man is, per something I learned watching The Simpsons, an anagram of Alec Guinness: genuine class [5].

“We’re back in our offices now, confetti still stuck to our shoes, and diving into the preparations for 2015,” Baer began. “But my first order of business is to thank you.” And that he does.

• He noticed that Giants fans “showed up with Panda hats and Hunter Pence signs and orange everything”.

• He credited the Giants’ success to “what happens when a community lifts a team, and a team lifts a community […] when we’re all in this together — the fans, the players, the coaches, the front office, the ownership group, every usher and vendor in the park”.

• He praised the Giants front office as a bastion of “exceptional, tireless and passionate employees. They collaborate, they innovate and they are customer-centric and community-centric. They are the unsung heroes of our organization…”

• He thanked Giants fans “again for carrying us through” to victory.

• He signed off by telling them, “We look forward to seeing you at FanFest in February!”

FanFest, in case you’re not sure, is an offseason celebration of the team, put on by the team, for the fans, because fans like being fans of the team. Many teams hold FanFests. The Mets don’t. (Though these guys [6] do, and it’s lots of fun [7].)

As delightful as Baer’s letter is from a warm & fuzzy not to mention results-oriented standpoint, it’s also instructive to see what’s not in it. No urging Giants fans to send in their season ticket payments right now so you don’t miss out on all the 2015 action; no links to the team shop so you can buy more official championship merchandise before it’s out of stock; nothing about signing an oath declaring one’s True San Franciscan-ness. I’m sure the Giants are more than happy to accept their customers’ cash contributions, but Baer (and his communications people) didn’t decide this was the moment to pounce. Instead, this was the moment for everyone to enjoy.

Can’t imagine receiving anything like this from the admittedly preoccupied folks who own the Mets [8]. Their traditional messaging tends to be more commercial and less emotional [9]. Then again, there hasn’t been a World Series parade to come back to the office from in a while [10]. I’d be willing to read just about anything they’d write us when there’s confetti still stuck to their shoes.

Time has flown since the World Series ended, but its conclusion provided a good jumping-off point for a lively four-sided conversation among the fellas at Rising Apple and myself. You can listen to it here [11].