The Mets Reach Out
Mets Go Gourmet With Cookbook
The New York Mets Jan. 28 announced a donation in the sum of $60,000 to area hunger related charities from the sale of the GourMets Cookbook sponsored by Stop & Shop. The Mets and Stop & Shop distributed the proceeds from the book equally between the Food Bank For New York and Island Harvest. Mets General Manager Omar Minaya and Faith Weiner, Senior Director, Public Affairs, Stop & Shop made the presentation at the Food Bank For New York City center in the Bronx.
The GourMets Cookbook, a collection of family recipes and clubhouse favorites of New York Mets players, coaches, and front-office staff, sold out its initial run of 5,000 copies on Mets.com, local Stop & Shop locations, Mets Clubhouse stores and the Mets Team store at Shea Stadium.
Food Bank For New York City is a major supplier of food to more than 1,000 emergency and community food programs in the five boroughs, the Food Bank helps provide approximately 250,000 free meals a day to New Yorkers who would otherwise go hungry. Those in need include women and children, the elderly, people with disabilities and the working poor. For every $1 donation, 97 cents goes toward food acquisition, distribution and programs.
Island Harvest, Long Island’s Source Authority on Food Rescue, serves as the bridge between those who have surplus food and those who need it, supplying hundreds of community-based nonprofit organization on Long Island with critical food support to help stem the advancing tide of hunger in our communities. A member of America’s Second Harvest, Island Harvest has delivered 43 million pounds of food, supplementing more than 33.5 million meals, since its inception in 1992.
Visit www.foodbanknyc.org and www.islandharvest.org for more information on the fight against hunger in the New York Area.
Bud, Official Beer At New Field
The New York Mets’ home venue will change in 2009, but thanks to a deal announced today, the team’s association with one of the world’s premier sports marketers – Anheuser-Busch, Inc. – will continue.
Anheuser-Busch and the Mets today announced a multi-year marketing agreement in which the world’s best-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light, become the Mets’ first Signature Partner at Citi Field with an unprecedented and comprehensive set of rights and benefits across multiple properties and platforms.
Budweiser, the Great American Lager, and Bud Light, the world’s best-selling American-style light lager, will continue as the exclusive alcohol beverage partner for in-venue signage for the Mets’ final season at Shea Stadium in 2008 as well as when the team opens Citi Field, its new world-class home, in 2009. In addition, the new agreement includes extensive media and enhancement presence during Mets television broadcasts on SportsNet New York (SNY) and Mets’ radio broadcasts in Spanish.
“We’re excited to be a part of the final season at Shea Stadium and to have secured a presence in Citi Field for years to come,” said Tony Ponturo, Vice President, Global Media and Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Mets fans are a special breed. As a marketer you hope some of that great loyalty rubs off through the association with Budweiser and Bud Light.”
“It is only fitting that an icon in sports marketing is our first Signature Partner at Citi Field,” said Dave Howard, Executive Vice President, Business Operations, New York Mets. “The undisputed leader in its industry, Anheuser-Busch is one of the world’s premier marketers. It has a unique ability to activate this sponsorship to connect the Mets with current and potential fans through its powerful network of wholesalers and retailers.”
Anheuser-Busch has been the Official Beer Sponsor of MLB since 1996, and also sponsors 26 of the league’s 29 domestic teams. As a part of its deal with the team, Anheuser-Busch has the rights to Mets-specific packaging and plans to recognize the final season at Shea with commemorative aluminum bottles and cans this season. The Mets’ longstanding relationship with Anheuser-Busch dates back more than a quarter century.
Mets Support 9/11 Families
By Liz Skalka
The Mets are Tuesday’s Children’s biggest cheerleader.
Started after 9/11, the nonprofit organization provides services and support to families and children affected by that day. Recently, they have expanded their services to help the families of rescue and recovery workers.
Kathleen McCarthy, events and marketing manager for Tuesday’s Children, said the organization would not be what it is today without the help of the Mets.
“If it was not for the Mets, we would not be anywhere near as successful as we are,” McCarthy said. “We owe a great deal of gratitude to them.”
In collaboration with the Mets, Tuesday’s Children has been able to put on a variety of events. They frequently hold meet and greet sessions at Shea where children get autographs and talk to their favorite players.
“Five minutes out of their day makes the kids happy people for the year,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said Tuesday’s Children frequently partners with other organizations, but the Mets are their No. 1 collaborator.
“They’re just amazing,” she said. “We ask them for anything and within five minutes they’re there to help us.”
In 2002, families from Tuesday’s Children were invited to the Mets’ Christmas party. The families have also been given seats to games at Shea and special picnics at the stadium.
Players from the Mets have been honored with Tuesday’s Children’s leadership award and in 2005 Tuesday’s Children held a special event honoring the Mets.
Even those members of Tuesday’s Children who have experienced the stadium through the organization will be sad to see it go.
“It will be difficult going to a Mets game at Citi Field,” said Marianne Fitzpatrick of Tuckahoe, N.Y., who lost her husband on 9/11. “It is at Shea Stadium where I was able to see my two children smile for the first time since their father Tom died. We have many great memories at Shea Stadium that I will forever cherish, as well as memories my children will cherish for the rest of their lives.”
Mets Step Up To Plate For Community
By Chris Urrutia
The New York Mets may often be an inconsistent team on the field; off of it, however, the organization never fails to step up to the plate and deliver.
Since the franchise’s inception in 1962, the Mets have always touched base with Shea Stadium’s surrounding neighborhoods. From creating jobs for local construction workers to building its new ballpark in the early 1960s, to its tireless charity and volunteer works in the present day, the team has long been directly involved with the existing communities adjoining their home stadium.
The Mets have contributed to the betterment of local neighborhoods since arriving in Flushing in 1964. Back then, as today, many of the organization’s employees are residents from areas such as Flushing, Corona, Bayside and College Point. Whether working in a management position in the front office or selling peanuts in the upper deck on game day, like former vendor Lou Herrera of Elmhurst, employees at Shea encompass residents in all of the borough’s communities, helping generate the economy in Queens.
“Shea was nearby, and an easy place to find work back then,” Herrera said, referring to his first year on the job in the late 1980s.
But the Mets have done more than just give jobs to the people in these neighborhoods. Through the Mets Foundation, a registered charity founded in 1963, the team has also distributed alms to the borough’s communities, consisting of “schools, libraries [and] hospitals” through various drives, fundraisers, and other forms of charitable works. The Mets and their sponsors are extensively involved in different programs throughout the year. Their purpose is “to positively impact organizations and individuals through the development of [these] platforms, programs and initiatives,” according to the team.
Less than a half mile from the lush green grass of Shea, at PS 92 in Corona, Mets employees devote their time to the school’s fourth and fifth grade students on a weekly basis in a program called Everybody Wins. “They spend time with the children by reading books with them, counseling them, and having lunch with them,” said Pat Baratta, principal, regarding the program, which is in its seventh year of operation.
Toward the end of the school year, when the baseball season is in full swing, the Mets invite a small cluster of about two dozen of the school’s students to Shea for a tour of the famous, majestic stadium where cultural legends such as The Beatles, Nolan Ryan and Pope John Paul II once graced New Yorkers with their presence. About 150 students are also rewarded with the pleasure of free tickets to a Mets home game toward the end of every May. Occasionally, a Mets player will visit the pupils at P.S. 92. “It’s such a great thing that the Mets are doing for [the children],” said Baratta. “They’ll always have those memories. We’re very happy and grateful for our partnership with the Mets family.”
Other educational initiatives the Mets Foundation participates in are: the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which “provides extensive mentoring and scholarships for college students;” Weather Education Day with CW11’s own Mr. G.; and the annual Summer Reading Clubs at public libraries in all five of New York’s boroughs, including all of the local branches of the Queens Library. The Summer Reading Clubs celebrates its 14th year of service to the City’s voracious young readers.
At the heart of the Mets’ charitable works for the sick or less fortunate of adjoining areas is the annual Run to Home Plate race for charity, in association with the New York Road Runners Club, sponsored by Delta Airlines. The 5K course commences across the street from Shea in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, progresses around the famed 1939/1940 World's Fair Unisphere, before the final leg carries runners back through Shea itself, with the expansive field serving as the setting for the home stretch and home plate the makeshift finish line.
Proceeds from the race are donated to the nonprofit St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside, the City’s largest rehabilitation center for children overcoming serious illness, and “which provides home care for over 4,000 recovering children daily,” according to Leslie Johnson, St. Mary’s Director of Communications.
“The Mets are great neighbors [to our community] and have been long-term supporters of St. Mary’s. We’re thankful for their generosity,” Johnson said.
“I’m not exactly a marathon sprinter anymore, but I do the Run [to Home Plate] each year because it’s for a good cause” said Phil Pauley of Bayside, a member of the Road Runners who ran in the event in 2007. “That’s why we were all there and why I continue to go,” he said, in reference to the large gathering on that August afternoon for the race.
The Mets are also involved in various winter coat drives for the poor as well as a yearly blood drive for the New York Blood Center at Shea. The organization and the Police Athletic League sponsor baseball games for neighborhood children at local parks, including Flushing Meadows. Other recreational initiatives at Shea include the Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament, a service that “gives the disabled a chance to once again play the game they grew up playing or watching,” according to a Mike Dawson of the United Spinal Association, the nonprofit organization which sponsors the tournament.