Whoops! In an attempt to curb the exposure of outside business interests, the New York Mets did the complete opposite over the weekend and unwittingly gave extreme exposure to something their very policies were designed to prevent.
But whether the Mets like it or not, the story of Darren Meenan, who runs The7Line.com, has been everywhere on Monday. This after the Mets-centric blogger was asked to leave Citi Field during Sunday night's game with the Braves when he repeatedly displayed a sign (above) that said "Don't Trade Reyes" and had his website's name printed underneath. Meenan's sentiment about Jose Reyes(notes), the team's star shortstop who has been the subject of intense trade talk, was apparently fine, the team said, and it was even visible on ESPN's national broadcast.
But the marketing of his website, which also sells t-shirts and other assorted goods, crossed the line and for that Meenan was asked to leave. His ejection led to an opportunity for Meenan's tale (and site) to be spread on baseball blogs and sports radio.
I was told by a security guard that I can't hold up the sign when the game is in play. I agreed. That makes complete sense. After he got a hit I put up the sign again and a supervisor then came down to tell me that I can't have the sign up because it has a website address on it. Ok... again, makes complete sense. I am getting free advertisement LIVE on national television. Makes sense.
Meenan goes onto say that he did not intend to display the sign any longer, but was then asked to leave the premises after he started handing business cards to fans that were requesting them (while booing security).
Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com has the team's official response:
According to the team, they repeatedly told Meenan he could keep the sign up so long as covered up the plug for the website. However, he kept the website visible. They say he was removed due to a 'lack of cooperation.' In addition, they say there were other fans with signs, sporting a similar message, but without the promotion of a website, all of whom remained in the ballpark.
Correction: Meenan brought the exact same sign to Friday night's game and wasn't targeted by the team in any way, so you wonder what changed to cause the team to actually start enforcing the policy.
At any rate, the team has probably learned a valuable lesson in all of this. An ejected fan will always have a much larger forum for his sign once he's involuntarily standing outside of the ballpark instead of in it. If the Mets' aim is to eventually trade Reyes by the deadline, they just gave a large voice to the segment of the fanbase that is vehemently opposing the idea.