Flushing, New York - The New York Mets have been a disaster at the plate, an abomination on the mound and a catastrophe in the field. Yet they've always managed to attract a base of supporters. But not anymore.
Tired of empty promises and finished with being associated with a losing organization, Mets followers have abandoned the team in droves. The Mets are officially down to their last fan.
He is Roger Crattemp, a 34-year-old accountant from Great Neck, who became a Met fan in early toddlerhood after his parents dressed him in a Babe Ruth uniform. "I was just a couple of years old, but even then I knew there had to be something better out there than being the Bambino."
Now, Fan Appreciation Day is any day that Roger comes to the ballpark. "The team responds well when there's an actual fan in the seats," says Mets manager Terry Collins. "Roger was with us during the two games we've won this year. He's like a good luck charm."
Unable to attract real fans with their miserable performances, the Mets are thinking of converting some of their less talented players into fans. "These are guys who really don't have the natural abilities to be in the game for the long haul," Collins says."But they're perfect for filling seats. We just have to teach them how to cheer and boo at the appropriate times."
Keeping the home stadium from looking desolate is a big part of the plan. The Mets are encouraging church groups and senior citizens clubs to hold their Bingo Nights and Bake Sales at Citi Field during Mets games. That Idea came from Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, who considers himself to be a bingo aficionado.
"That's why I love baseball so much, because it's a lot like bingo," Wilpon says. "The bingo card is like your scorecard in baseball. Fill it out the right way, and you're a winner."
But the "bingo's!" have been far and few between for the Mets and their single fan. That is why General Manager Sandy Alderson is calling on a higher authority for help. Alderson and his staff have developed a program called Pray for the Mets.
"We want to make sure that God is in our bullpen," Alderson says. "We've got Masses being said for us at St. Patrick's Cathedral. All of our playing fields and training facilities use real holy water in their sprinkling systems. And we're going to be holding a new event, called Prayer Night, during the regular season."
The first 10,000 paying ticketholders who show up for Prayer Night will receive a free set of David Wright rosary beads. "We've rearranged the markers so that they reflect nine innings, each with three outs. That way the fans can say a Hail Mary for each and every Met batter. I can't speak for God. But I think this will be a big hit with Him," says Alderson.
The Mets' one and only fan agrees. "I'm glad the Mets are taking a proactive approach to attracting new fans," says Crattemp. "Do you think God will buy me a beer?"