Talk about your tempest in a teapot:
- When Dwight "Doc" Gooden attended the Mets' Opening Day ceremonies at Citi Field last week, he stopped by the Ebbets Club along the first-base line and mingled with fans who cheered him during his Met career. He shook hands, took pictures and signed autographs.
Someone thought it would be a nice idea if one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history signed a blank gray wall next to the bar. Gooden obliged, taking a black Sharpie and writing in script "Doc Gooden 84 R.O.Y., 85 Cy Young, 86 W.S. Champs."
Gooden took a picture next to the signature, and so did countless fans lucky enough to afford the price of a ticket that allows them access to the club.
But now the Mets, who have been criticized for not showcasing enough of their history in their new ballpark, plan to erase Gooden's signature from the wall, treating it as if it were unwanted graffiti.
"It's a brand-new building," said Jay Horwitz, the Mets' VP of media relations. "No one is supposed to write on the wall. It's going to be erased."
Citi Field is a beautiful ballpark, but the absence of Met nostalgia is glaring. The Ebbets Club is a prime example. It has a serving station for food and a nice bar for fans to grab drinks during game. But except for a picture of the old Ebbets Field, there's nothing on the walls other than televisions.
Gooden's signature was a nice, personal touch, something that could have been commemorated. Anyone with some vision might see into the future, when the wall might be decorated with the personal signatures of a number of Met greats.
What better name to start it with than Gooden's? In a few years, even decades, it could be one of the more special spots in the building. Instead, all the Mets see is graffiti.
As near as I can tell, "graffiti" is columnist George Willis' word, not the Mets'. But in all honesty, Gooden did engage in a bit of tagging, didn't he? If that were my blank gray wall, I'd be thrilled to have "Doc Gooden" on there, but all that other stuff, too? I sort of feel sorry for the guy, knowing that he doesn't think his name is enough.
If I'm the Mets and he'd signed just his name, I'd have thought, "Gosh, I sure wish Doc hadn't done that. But since he did, maybe it's not the worst thing in the world, but now that it's there maybe we should get Seaver in here" -- to name just one better name to start with -- "and maybe Jerry Koosman and Jesse Orosco and John Franco and Ron Darling and a few other guys."
This could have been cool. But you can't really blame the Mets for wanting to decide what's cool and what's not.