It’s not all the time the Mets hit a home run on an idea, but this one’s time certainly has come.
With longtime media relations man Jay Horwitz becoming the new head of alumni relations, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon successfully filled two holes in the organization.
The first was finding a soft-landing spot for Horwitz, who at 73 has taken a step back from the day to day operation in the media relations department. He didn’t go on the road that much this year and passed most of his duties off to others in the department.
But Horwitz didn’t want to just go and play “Parcheesi” as he mentioned today at his presser, so he came up with the Alumni Relations job to Wilpon, because there was a void in the organization when dealing with former players.
As the Mets PR flack for 40 years, Horwitz built strong relationships with the players. They all seem to love them from guys in the 80s like Mookie Wilson, Darryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden to today with David Wright. They teased and prodded him, but all of it is in good nature. More importantly, Horwitz cared about those players. As NYSD’s Ray Negron wrote today, he would call the Yankees to check in on Doc and Darryl in the late 90s. To this day, he remains one of Gooden’s closest confidants, as well.
So, he’s the perfect guy bring players back in the fold and have events with alumni. Over the past 20 years, outside of anniversaries and events like the closing of Shea Stadium, there weren’t many alumni events in Queens. Unlike the Yankees, who hold an Old-Timers’ Day, every year, the Mets haven’t had one since the early 1990s.
Horwitz now has carte-blanche to create events like Ole-Timers’ Day and other type of alumni events. As the new team historian, Horwitz can also create ways of having former players inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame and even have more numbers retired over the next few years. Nos. 8 and 17 come to mind, but that’s going to be up to Jay.
First on the docket in 2019 will be the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets. It will be up to Horwitz to plan how the Mets will honor their first World Series team, while also creating events throughout the year. The same way you see the Yankees doing these events the “right way,” so will the Mets, beginning next season.
And that’s why this is a good day for the club. Even if the games on the field got soggy, the organization has firmed p a glaring hole, which many fans wondered why they wouldn’t do more with in the past.
Now if only the general manager search can be so smooth and smart.
Good luck Jay!