Tag Archives: new york mets

How Not to Succeed in Business

The New York Mets are a baseball team – and not a very good one. Even though they are located in the largest market in the country and have a still-shiny and new stadium and resources that dwarf those of most teams, their performance on the field has long been abysmal. The reason for their poor performance is clear: the team’s baseball executives, who in the past have essentially been handed a blank check to go out and buy the best players available, have done a very poor job of selecting the players to bring to their team.

But this isn’t about baseball.

Last week the New York Times reported about some of the team’s problems, including declining attendance. The people who know about selling tickets and raising attendance told the Times that there are a lot of things they can do to bring some more people to the ballpark but that ultimately, the single most valuable tool for bringing out fans is – you know this – a successful team that’s fun to watch.

Having a successful team in baseball is a matter of going out and buying the best players, and the Mets have long had the money to do just that. But will they?

This is a quote directly from the Times:

General Manager Sandy Alderson has indicated that the payroll, about $89 million this season, will increase only when the attendance does.

So in other words, when the fans start coming to the games to see the bad team, the team will go out and spend more money on better players and try to field a better team.

Excuse The Curmudgeon, but don’t the Mets have it backwards? Isn’t the usual path to business success that a company invests in making a great product, it engages in marketing to show off that great product to prospective customers, and many of those prospective customers become paying customers because they’ve come to realize that the company has a great product worthy of their patronage?

Isn’t that how it usually works?

After all, did Apple tell the world, “Start buying our Macintosh computers and we’ll invest that money in the development of new products?

And did Procter & Gamble put out a lousy toothpaste and tell the world that if they used that lousy toothpaste it would develop Crest?

Of course they didn’t. But the Mets apparently feel they don’t owe their fans a great product at all, that instead, the fans owe the Mets their patronage in the form of attending games featuring a lousy team and that if those fans turn out in sufficient numbers, the team will turn around and try to field a better team.

The Mets deserve their fate – and their fans deserve better.

Although as a Phillies fan, The Curmudgeon must admit that he’s pretty happy with things the way they are right now.