“I’ve been listening to the fans,” said Steve Cohen during the March meeting of the New York and St. Lucie Mets Booster Club. For club president and founder Jim Fertita, landing Cohen to speak virtually at the meeting was an indicator of the new Mets owner’s willingness to connect.
As a long-time Mets fan himself, Cohen said he wants to improve the fan experience and is currently listening to suggestions made during the off-season. He made an early appearance in December when he and his wife Alex gave out gift bags at Citi Field to season ticket holders who were shut out of the COVID-restricted 2020 season.
As a believer in celebrating Mets history, Cohen has promised to roll out special days this season to bring back old-timers. In mid-season the team will unveil a statue of the late Tom Seaver, who led the club to its first World Series crown in 1969. Cohen is also considering a return of Banner Day, a longtime (1963-96) tradition during which fans march on the field as they originally did at the Polo Grounds.
Former GM Sandy Alderson, who was recently appointed team president, attended the fan club meeting and is also anxious to incorporate more Mets alumni into this season. As for the current team, Alderson is focused on player development for improvement during March instead of spring training game results.
Some of that improvement has already manifested with Jacob deGrom’s high strikeout rate over his past three starts. Noah Syndergaard, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, has already hit 97 mph in bullpen sessions.
The offense also offers hope. Pete Alonzo appears to have broken his 2020 hitting malaise and Dom Smith looks to continue his torrid hitting from last year. The off-season trade for Francisco Lindor looks like the steal of the season as “baseball’s best shortstop” has been one of the team’s leading hitting leaders in Florida and has been brilliant defensively. On March 31, the club gave Lindor a 10-year, $341 million contract extension.
Cohen said he’s he was looking forward to a “three- to five-year window” to make a World Series appearance. He concluded the meeting by saying, “I like the roster. We have depth and we are really competitive and I’m willing to improve the team at mid-season.”