Sports

2021 MLB season about reconnecting with fans

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As told to Ken Davidoff.

On Sept. 29, 2019, the Mets wrapped up our season with an 11-inning game against the Braves at Citi Field. I came to bat only once, my first at-bat since July 26. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

When I hit that two-out, three-run, walk-off homer to end things on a high note for us, the Mets fans who stuck around roared in excitement. None of us, and I mean no one, knew that would be the last time we’d hear such a sound for well over a year.

With the 2021 baseball season getting ready to start, though, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome you back to Citi when our home schedule starts on April 8. It’s going to mean the world to all of us. Even with 20 percent of the seats filled, I’m sure, to us, we’ll feel like it’s a sold-out house.

We missed you dearly for a lot of our season last year. We felt like we missed that energizer. We missed our passionate fans that really propelled us to a lot of victories in 2019. We’re just super excited to see your faces in the stands, to hear you cheer us on and to just feel your energy.

With the seats empty last year due to COVID-19, I just think there were a lot of big moments in the game when it was so dead, it kind of felt like a practice game. It wasn’t the same intensity. It wasn’t the same adrenaline that you would have if you’re coming up in a big situation in a home ballpark where your fans are really affecting the pitcher, because they’re putting so much more pressure on the pitcher by cheering, booing, by being rowdy.

dominic smith signals to the mets dugout
Dominic Smith is ready to hear baseball fans once again.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

I think that’s just added energy and the ambience of baseball. It’s what makes the game so beautiful. It’s what gives us an edge when we play both home and road games. I think that’s what we missed the most in 2020.

For me, the really good players and the really passionate players play for the love of the game, to win and for the fans. Mainly the fans. My game, my life is deeper than playing and being a good baseball player. I want to build that connection. I want to learn about the fans that support me, that come out and really enjoy the art that we display on a nightly basis. I think that deeper connection makes you enjoy your job so much more. Sometimes fans, they don’t like you, but a lot of times, they just don’t know you. So to get fans to know who you are, where you come from, you just get that greater respect and they find that greater respect for you as well.

I think that connection that we have with fans was definitely lost during the pandemic. It’s something that is going to be a work in progress for the next couple of years because stadiums are going to open, but not to full capacity at first, and I’m sure they’re going to be pretty strict about how close we can get to fans and our interactions with them. It’ll take time to rebuild that connection.

I’m excited about our team, but we’ve always had a pretty good team on paper. We all know that there’s a lot of work to be done. We all have a chip on our shoulder and just have that blue-collar mentality that we’re trying to take into each day.

We’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re just trying to work extremely hard because we know how deep this division is. We know that nothing is going to be handed to us and given to us. This season, this division, a lot of teams are going to be coming after us and playing us with their A game. We just have to be extremely sharp and play our brand of baseball. We feel that if we play up to our capabilities, it’ll propel us to a World Series. That’s just our main focus right now, taking it one day at a time, working hard and getting into the playoffs and if we can do that, then I feel like at the end of the year, we’ll look up and be where we want.

And if that happens, it’ll mean so much more to have you, the fans, right there at our side.

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Janice Hill

Janice is a Co-Founder of NetDebaito Official & a family member of Brit Media 360. Our News HUB aiming to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific viewpoint for each story catered. Every project is a proficient journalisms' who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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