Tag Archives: McFadden’s bar

First Queens Baseball Convention reveals spirit of Mets fans


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

New York Mets fans have heard this maybe a million times—they have a troubled franchise.

The team has not won a World Series in nearly three decades, and have been disappointing in the last five years as they have struggled just to stay above .500.

That’s just scratching the surface of issues, but even as frustrating as that has been, the spirit of Mets fans is alive and well, and was strongly represented by more than 400 fans at the first-ever Queens Baseball Convention (QBC) Saturday.

“It’s pretty exciting. We may not be in the playoffs every year, but it’s cool to see everyone, and the spirit of Mets fans,” said Andrew Hermida, an illustrator, who was selling his original Mr. Met drawings at the QBC.

The event, which was at McFadden’s bar in Citi Field, was organized by a trio of die hard Mets fans—Shannon “Shark” Prior and Keith Blacknick, the pair behind blog site Metspolice.com, and The 7 Line clothing brand founder Darren Meenan.

The premise was simply to celebrate the past figures of the franchise, a hopefully fruitful future, and just being Mets fan–and there was plenty for fans to do. Wearing orange and blue shirts, jerseys, caps, socks, shoes, and jackets, the Mets faithful played games, enjoyed Mets trivia, bought parts of the old Shea Stadium and Mets memorabilia, paraded in their jerseys, and talked about the past and the upcoming season.

“Hundreds of people paid $35 to celebrate a team that hasn’t won anything in years. It’s like some weird cult,” said Mets fan and comedian Jeff Hysen, who was the event’s MC.

Parents attended the QBC with their children, who brought their children, as generations of fans were present. The kids tried their hand at a dunk tank and got their faces painted.

The event surely attracted many fans for its guest speakers, which included former players Ron Darling and Ed Kranepool, members of the Mets 1986 and 1969 World Series teams respectively.

The former players signed autographs for fans, and had question-and-answer sessions. Even Darling, who is now a baseball broadcaster, was astounded at how much love fans showed their troubled franchise.

“You guys never give up,” Darling said about Mets fans during his forum. “I don’t know how you do it.”

That’s because to some, being a fan isn’t about winning.

“Sports is not about winning, it’s about enjoying the sport. I don’t think it’s exciting to be on the winning team every year. You have to have something to play for,” said Heidi Springer of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who attended the event with her husband and two sons.

The first QBC attracted a strong crowd, many of whom said they would like to see the event return. Organizers did say they would like to make it an annual event, but are just happy for the turnout of the first QBC.

“The good part about it is everyone that’s involved in it is a Mets fan,” Meenan said. “It’s really a team effort.”

 

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The 7 Line brand becomes part of Mets culture


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

In the bar where Darren Meenan once sold t-shirts, he now holds court. People shake his hand and wish him well.

Only about four years ago Meenan, a Queens native, founded The 7 Line clothing company.

Now he and his brand have become fixtures in Mets culture. It’s hooked a younger generation, he said, that might not have the fond memories of the 1969 or 1986 World Series.

“Although there’s not a winning team on the field right now,” he said. “I try to turn our events into a mini playoff atmosphere.”

The 7 Line launched its 2014 calendar, the third of its kind, at McFadden’s at CitiField on Saturday, November 16, kicking off another year for the burgeoning brand.

Eighty women applied to be on the calendar, Meenan said, and then it was narrowed down to 31 as a “little tip of the hat to [Mike] Piazza.” The former catcher was enshrined in the Mets Hall of Fame in September. In total, he said, about 34,000 people voted to select the 12 ladies to be featured.

The calendar was photographed by Bryan Dewitt over two days in September and hundreds turned out to meet the dozen calendar girls and pose for pictures.

“It’s really exciting to support a growing fan base,” said Nayi Castro, who will adorn the August 2014 page. “It’s really fun.”

The brand’s fan base has increased in the last three years. What started as a clothing line is now part of team culture.

Last year, The 7 Line hosted seven group trips to Mets games – five at CitiField and two away games – with double that amount set for the 2014 season.

Those games include trips booked to Yankee Stadium, Miami, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

“It’s the fans,” he said. “The fans are doing it. They come to the games. They have a great time. They tell their friends. And that spreads like wildfire.”

Chris Leuth has been the Mets ticket representative for Meenan for the last few years.

“It’s a pleasure. Darren’s a great partner,” he said. “When I met Darren, I knew there was a lot of potential.”

The evening featured raffled paintings of Mets third baseman David Wright by David Majowicz.

Majowicz, a Mets fan, said the fan base wasn’t something he pined for, but fell in love once it came.

“I don’t know if it was something I was waiting for,” he said. “But when it happened, it was immediate.”

Meenan, however, said the growth of “The 7 Line Army” had nothing to do with him, but rather fans who wanted something more.

“We call it ‘The 7 line Army,’ but we’re a great group of people,” he said. “We enjoy having fun. We’re very respectful when we go to other ballparks. I think that kindness is kind of addictive. We’ll go to a Cubs bar and everyone will have a good time.”

 

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