The Mets have routinely become punch line fodder on late night shows or even pop culture friendly cartoons. Heck, even other fan bases have their turn poking fun at them. And why? It seems like every time somebody sneezes near them, especially in 2009 or 2010, someone got a broken leg or pulled a hammy or was out for the season. Look no further than the infamous “Family Guy” cartoon when little Stewie Griffin is watching a game, and the season is over before the first pitch (C’mon, if you are a Mets fan, you have to have a good sense of humor about things).
Needless to say, the Mets have made themselves more of a target with the motto “Prevention and Recovery,” and they’ve done a good job of taking initiative of keeping their players safe. Ike Davis a year ago might have played with a bum ankle. The new Mets order have been proactive in getting him tested, and retested, so he’ll be 100% by the time he returns. David Wright two years ago might have played an entire season with a stress fracture in his back. Now, they DL him. What a novel concept.
But what has extended to the team itself has not trickled down to the safety of the fans. In fact, it was a running joke at Shea Stadium that the park was not built for nutty people who like to drink (especially the upper deck). As an example, my cousin had his arm broken when someone tripped in the higher rows of the old red seats at Shea and fell on top of him. Then there was the woman who sued the Mets when a 300-lb man fell on her at Opening Day, and nothing was done as far as compensation (yet).
However, events that occurred after the game on Monday, May 30, blew my mind to the point that I am concerned that maybe Safety First isn’t exactly a mantra of the Mets and their security staff after all.
Our very own Nik Kolidas had an unfortunate incident occur in the parking lot at CitiField, just outside of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. In his own words, this is what transpired:
“As I left the game against the Pirates (on Monday, May 30), I walked to my car which was parked by the exit directly 90 degrees to the left of the Rotunda (facing the stadium). As I got near it, I used a remote to unlock the car and lo and behold, some guy dressed as if he were playing a thug on TV gets into the car. I gesture to the stadium usher and tell him what’s happening. He does nothing. I get a second usher and he tells me to go find a cop. Nobody makes a move to secure my property or my own personal safety and all the cops were outside the stadium directing traffic.
The man was CLEARLY staggering around the lot with a bag to steal stuff and your staff did absolutely nothing. They didn’t even radio for a cop. Nothing. The guy had most likely been loitering around for quite a while and they never got a cop to ask him where his car was and what he was doing there.
Just to give you a sense of what could have happened in your parking lot, I had to get this waste of space out of my car myself and risk getting stabbed. If I was a woman or a person of smaller stature, it would have been an ugly situation. I then confront the guy after I got him out of my car in full view of the ushers and they didn’t even come near me. THEN I had to wait in line to get out of the stadium while I watched the guy look around for a more willing victim. He could have hurt me or I could have chosen to hurt him. In your lot. In front of several of your employees. I finally told a cop outside the stadium. I have no idea if anything was done.”
I remember back in the ‘80s (it was actually after Game 7 of the 1986 World Series), my mother’s car was vandalized by a couple of aggressive morons after winning the game. I understand that back then, 50K people were harder to manage. However, in this day and age where a couple of no-gooders can attack a guy in front of several eyewitnesses in plain view simply for wearing the opposing team’s jersey, I mean, shouldn’t this translate into better protection for the fans…you know, the people who patronize your facility, on a Monday night against the Pirates??
Given what has happened in the past several years under the watch of Mets security and safety department, no one really cares. No one cares unless there is a law suit and bad publicity involved (because we all know the Mets HATE that one). No, the only thing security seems interested in is inspecting your tickets with a fine tooth comb and magnifying glass to make sure you aren’t trying to sneak into the Caesar’s Club lounge (how DARE you!) or sitting where you are supposed to sit. Oh, and kicking you out as soon as the last pitch is thrown. I mean, how DARE Nik ask for security assistance in dealing with someone who a) tried to break into his car and b) might have been armed/dangerous because Joe from Bayside wanted to get home at a decent hour???
In fact, I think all security personnel at any stadium might be better served in learning how to protect their fans, especially in light of the Bryan Stow incident, because stuff like this happens ALL THE TIME. Not just in Los Angeles, as the media would like you to believe. But EVERYWHERE. Even Flushing. Is it going to be dangerous to visit Queens again? Are we back in the days of Abe Beame?
It’s evident that the Mets like to sweep their many issues under the rug, whether it has to do with legal issues, copyright, fan perspective or security. Seems to me they have their priorities ass-backwards in promoting Brooklyn Dodgers, as an example, or getting you to spend money for overpriced drinks in their clubs, but still not give a damn about the safety of their fans by passing the buck along and hope that nobody gets hurt.
A few days ago in San Francisco, policy kept firefighters and EMS folks from saving a man who waded into the Bay and subsequently drowned. So policy kept these professionals who are TRAINED in safety and not use, you know, what we call “Common Sense” to help a person who was obviously in distress. Seems like that happens in baseball stadiums too. Reminds me of when Bluto from Animal House is rallying the troops, “OH we’re afraid to go with you Bluto. We might get in TROUBLE!!!!!” Screw that.
Pass the buck, indeed. Should sound familiar, shouldn’t it, Mr. Wilpon?
By Taryn “the Coop” Cooper