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Unintended Consequences and Keith Hernandez

A couple of days ago we received a press release from Sportsnet New York (SNY) announcing a promotion that they were doing before yesterdays Mets game. SNY, for those not from the New York metropolitan area, is a regional sports network, formed by the owners of the Mets, to try and drum up some extra revenue, just as YES has done for the cross town Yankees.

Anyway, SNY teamed up with Upper Deck, a trading card company, to produce SNY talent baseball cards. Fans attending yesterday’s game against the Braves would receive a pack, laden with SNY stars (below).

I was fortunate enough to attend the game (a great one I may add) and saw all of the cards firsthand (did you know that reporter Julie Donaldson’s favorite all time Mets are her SNY co-workers Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling? Me neither.). They were pretty cool actually, a neat way to promote the network. Unfortunately, when given to thousands of baseball fans at an important high energy game, there is a risk for unintended consequences.

It started around the fifth inning, what looked like confetti falling from the upper decks by left field. Then more fell. And more. By the eighth inning, everyone in the stadium had the itch, because they had discovered that the SNY baseball cards fluttered in the hot New York air like ticker tape after a World Series win. The PA announcer had to warn everyone to not throw anything from the stands on to the field, or the game would be delayed. Of course few cards made it to the field, most just fluttered down to the field level seats.

Probably the most interesting thing was that the fans were being very selective about who they threw over the railing. The Trifecta of Mets game announcers, Ron Darling, Gary Cohen, and Keith Hernandez, as well as legendary player/announcer Ralph Kiner seemed to, for the most part, be spared the indignity of having their cardboard alter-egos hurled out of the stands. The lesser watched SNY talent did not have that privilege. Miniature Julie Donaldsons, Matt Yallofs, Lee Mazzillis and Kevin Burkhardts were everywhere, with only an occasional recognizable face thrown in (probably by Braves fans).

Even though he was largely underrepresented among the floor bound cards, I first realized what was being thrown when I saw the Just For Men enhanced mustache of Mets analyst and former Seinfeld star Keith Hernandez float in front of our seats. It was hard to miss (below).

It was a fun night, and the cards were a good idea by SNY, but perhaps they should have considered the fate of whoever has to clean the aisles after the game before giving out thousands of Matt Yallof cards to Mets fans. If they stuck to the marquee names, they might have made the cleanup a little easier. But only a little.