After years of backlash, Mets finally embracing the history of the team
When Citi Field opened up in 2009, it was meant to be a new beginning for the Mets. Something was missing, however, that would have helped anoint the ballpark as the home of the team. The same could be said for their minor league complexes. Barren at first, the teams history is finally catching up to them.
The Mets recently announced they will honor Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza by renaming the street that is next to the Port St. Lucie ballpark. This comes after retiring his number in 2016. This is the second name change to an address related to the Mets; the team renamed 126th Street to Seaver Way last season in honor of Tom Seaver. Additionally, the Mets are in the process of building a statue for Seaver.
“Tom was a once-in-a-lifetime player and will always be remembered as one of the greatest players in Mets history. Tom truly lived up to his nicknames of “Tom Terrific” and “The Franchise,”” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “The address change to 41 Seaver Way has been in the works for a long time and is the first of our efforts to honor Tom. Today we are also officially announcing that we have commissioned a statue in honor of Tom that will be coming soon to Citi Field.”
Not only have they retired Piazza’s 31, the Mets will also retire the number of longtime pitcher Jerry Koosman. His number 36 will join players like Piazza and Seaver, as well as Gil Hodges and Casey Stengel. The hope is that more numbers are retired following this to honor the players who helped put the team on the map.
If anything, this is a long time coming. Shea Stadium showcased a number of Mets memories all around the ballpark. Citi Field was heavily criticized for being empty with Mets history when it opened, while focusing too much on Ebbets Field. As a result of the backlash, the Mets plastered images of iconic tam moments inside the ballpark. They also showcased plaques next to the bricks outside of the park. It wasn’t until recently that efforts to actually display its history came into play.
With other teams like the Braves, Pirates, Cardinals and even the Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium embracing physical aspects of its history, the Mets have finally joined the program. Led by a young core that includes Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, the Mets’ future will help celebrate its past. The hope is that more memories can be made by this current team to celebrate in later years.
The Mets embracing their history on and off the field is the best thing for baseball. Hopefully, there will be more celebrations of Mets moments that will last a lifetime along the way.
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