Thursday, March 29, 2007

¡Vamos Los Mets!

Moore's Law does not apply to the grand game of baseball. That's easy to prove because the national pastime does not deal in circuits etched onto silicon. But even metaphorically, the doubling of MLB innovation moves far slower than once every 18 months.

The most pioneering franchise since 1900 would have to be the Dodgers. They incorporated Branch Rickey's use of affiliated minor league teams (which he begun with the Cardinals), established the first full-time spring training facility in Florida, broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson, and moved from Brooklyn to become the only major-league team on the West coast.

The past twenty years has seen a stadium construction binge, the birth of interleague play, terrible television deals, and MLBAM, but these changes were directed from 245 Park Avenue rather than by any individual franchise. Still, we must not overlook how the Texas Rangers were often ahead of their time. They had:
And on May 5, 2006, the Rangers debuted their Los Rangers de Texas jerseys. It was a Cinco de Mayo promotion for the 35% of Texans that speak Spanish and, of course, merchandising - where the real money is made. It was not unlike the green jerseys teams have been pulling out on St. Patrick's Day, except that these were used in a regular-season game.

What really shocked me is that the New York Mets, who already have a great Spanish-language website - - didn't think of this first. Omar Minaya, the team's GM, has introduced plenty of Hispanic flourishes to Shea Stadium, including special Fiesta Latina and Merengue nights, P.A. announcements in Spanish and the between-inning entertainment of "Profesor Reyes."

I've had the same Bill Pulsipher Mets jersey since 1995, and though I've considered replacing the name across the back with TNSTAAPP, I've never bought a new one. Until, I hope, this year. Can fans request a specific promotion? I'm not looking for Dwight Gooden/Howard Johnson Audit Day, just an opportunity to proudly purchase a #7 Reyes Los Mets replica. Omar, are you paying attention?

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