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Old 09-22-2009, 08:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Something to Remember From a Season to Forget

Something to Remember From a Season to Forget

On the stadium field level, the Mets are selling game-used items like bats (broken and unbroken) and batting helmets ($100 for one, $150 for two) at Citi Field.

The Mets are less than two weeks from concluding a season that everyone wants to forget. But they are ensuring that the disastrous 2009 will live on by selling game-used souvenirs, like an autographed ball from Josh Thole’s major league debut ($125), a lineup card signed by Daniel Murphy ($200) and a base autographed by David Wright ($750).



Barton Silverman/The New York Times
Also on sale is a lineup card from the first game at Citi Field.
Selling game-used items is hardly a newfangled idea. The Mets have done so for several years, according to Dave Howard, the team’s executive vice president for business operations. Other teams, including the Yankees, also do so. But holding what amounts to a garage sale — a bat used by Ramon Castro, traded in May to the Chicago White Sox, can be had for $100 — in the middle of a painfully disappointing season adds a droll twist.

“Obviously, when you start the process, you can’t anticipate how things would unfold,” Howard said. “But there’s still a high level of interest.”

Slowly and steadily, fans stopped by the Mets’ Amazin Memorabilia display located near the Ebbets Club on the field level of Citi Field. Two tables were loaded with laminated lineup cards, broken bats, game-used balls and other random articles, including a batting helmet with “B-Boy” striped across the front. Supplies are replenished daily, so the merchandise often changes. Everything is authenticated by Major League Baseball.

Among the items not for sale: Murphy’s grass-stained pants from his outfield tumble April 21 in St. Louis, the ball dropped by Luis Castillo with two outs in the ninth inning of the Mets’ June 12 loss at Yankee Stadium and the third-base bag Ryan Church stepped over in Los Angeles on May 18 (one of his helmets, however, was available for $100).

Usually, fans bid on more “premium” items, like batting practice jerseys worn by Francisco Rodriguez or Carlos Beltran, in silent auctions that end after the fifth inning. Most of those pieces were not on display Monday.

The Mets operated this display sporadically in April and May, and for every home game since June.

Aramark receives a portion of the proceeds from sales of game-used items in Mets team stores. But the team collects all revenue from items purchased at the tables. Howard declined to say how much money the Mets had taken in from the sales this season.

Jeff Rago, a middle school guidance counselor from Shelton, Conn., called the prices “a rip-off” but said he thought the $75 charge for a game-used, unbroken bat by Nick Evans was reasonable. “To pay $150 for a broken bat just because Omir Santos swung with it?” Rago said. To be fair, Santos’s bat cost $125.

A different selection could be found on the Mets’ official Web site. The online auction featured the rubber that Johan Santana pitched from on July 11 to set the record for victories by a Venezuelan-born pitcher (no bids, $1,000 opening bid); Cory Sullivan’s dirty pants from the Aug. 17 game against San Francisco (he went 2 for 4 and scored the Mets’ run in a 10-1 loss; one $75 bid); Santos’s bat that he used to knock in two runs against the Cubs on Sept. 4 (one $100 bid); and Brian Schneider’s game-worn black jersey from an Aug. 2 loss in Arizona (no bids, $300). There are also bases, balls and a chair from the visiting locker room at Shea ($200).

The Mets emptied their supply of batting helmets into a black bin — one for $100 and two for $150. Supplies of the helmets are hardly limited; J. J. Putz and Fernando Nieve each had three. Moises Alou, Gustavo Molina, Oliver Perez, Emil Brown had one, as did Valerio de los Santos (released in spring training) and Livan Hernandez (released in August). Hernandez’s helmet was identified by the name Leevo.

Leon Martin sifted through the helmets as he mulled whether to purchase a memento for his brother, whom he called a huge Mets fan. He seemed impressed by the overall selection, if not by the names on the brims. “I’d rather get somebody like a David Wright, a Carlos Beltran or a Johan Santana — something of value,” said Martin, a teacher, Yankees fan and self-described collector from Farmingdale, N.Y. But, he added, his interest “has nothing to do with wins or losses.”

He added, “It’s more the memories of what you were part of.”

David Norman of Woodbury, N.Y., said, “I don’t know why any people would want bases from 2009.”

Norman was planning to leave early unless Pat Misch threw a no-hitter (the Braves rocked Misch for eight runs in one and one-third innings). So he arrived early, too, and stopped by the tables with an item in mind. He wanted to see whether the extra-padded Rawlings S100 helmet that Wright wore on Sept. 1 in Colorado, in his first game since returning from a concussion, was available. It was not.

“I think that’s already been bought,” Howard said.

INSIDE PITCH

Chipper Jones hit one of three Atlanta home runs off Pat Misch on Monday night as the Braves cruised to an 11-3 victory over the Mets. All of the Braves’ 10 hits came in the first three innings. Daniel Murphy had two hits, including a home run.

Ken Belson contributed reporting.

Supporting article from Sports Collectors Daily
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Boy not many money makers up there!
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Someone has to help foot the bill for that new stadium besides the people holding Citi credit cards.

And they're wrong about everyone wanting to forget this season for the Mets, I'm enjoying every minute of it
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