10 Weeks Until Mets Opening Day!
Mets Opening Day 1997 – Saturday April 12th vs. San Francisco Giants (rainout)
I am not sure if 1997 was the first year the Mets started handing out magnetic schedules on Opening Day, but it’s become an annual tradition. (With one exception, which I’ll save for another post.) In 1997 the magnetic schedule was shaped like home plate, and was sponsored by Kahn’s Hot Dogs. If you look closely, you’ll see that all of the season’s scheduled promotions for 1997 were printed on the magnet, and that the magnetic schedule was also handed out on Game 2. Taking a further look at the promotional calendar, you won’t find banner day, but you’ll see Jackie Robinson’s 50th Anniversary Weekend, scheduled over the 4th of July Weekend, International Week in mid-August, as well as Kahn’s Homer Hankie Day. I may actually have this…
This was before the SNY era, and the S’s on the calendar meant the games would be broadcast on Sportschannel, and there were about 50 games broadcast on “free TV,” including WWOR-TV UPN 9. Does the UPN stil exist?
In 1997 I had a Saturday game plan and got this ticket as part of the plan, as the Mets opened on the road, with a west coast trip, putting the home opener on a Saturday after they returned. I don’t think there was any discount associated with a ticket plan, so what astonishes me is that somehow this ticket for Section 10 of the Mezzanine had a face value of $7.00. Of course this was also before the era of variable pricing, and the season before the Mets had lost 91 games, but this price meant my 13 games cost me just $91 per seat – for 13 games!.
I don’t have any memory of this game, and that must be at least partially because the game didn’t happen. The Saturday game was rained out, making the Mets open on Sunday April 13th with a doubleheader. But I have the torn ticket stub so I must have gone to Shea Stadium and collected my calendar and sat in the rain awhile? Anyway, despite the low price and the weekend doubleheader opener, the Mets did not sell out the home opener in 1997.
This was Bobby Valentine’s first Opening Day as manager of the Mets, and they went on to improve to 88 wins for the year. I thought I was the only one who remembers this year as a really fun year, until Greg Price mentioned it as one of his favorite years in his excellent book, Faith and Fear in Flushing. I will see if I can scan that homer hankie at a later date, and I am pretty sure I have the pocket schedule around here somewhere as well.