Tag Archives: The 7 Line

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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Mets fans organizing first Queens Baseball Convention


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Darren Meenan

Baseball may be out of season, but Queens residents can still enjoy the game this winter, thanks to a trio of die-hard Mets fans.

Shannon “Shark” Prior and Keith Blacknick, the pair behind blog site Metspolice.com, have teamed up with Darren Meenan of The 7 Line clothing brand to bring the first ever Queens Baseball Convention  (QBC) to McFadden’s bar in Citi Field on January 18.

The event is a fan fest for Mets fans of all ages to enjoy and meet team legends, including Ron Darling, who was on the 1986 World Series team, and Ed Kranepool, who was on 1969 championship squad.

“Even if I wasn’t involved in it I was going to be there,” Meenan said. “It’s something that will bring fans together, whether you’re a young kid or someone who just likes jerseys. There’s something for everybody.”

The idea came together after Blacknick and Prior considered how fun it would be for the Mets to have a fan fest, much like numerous teams around the league.

The pair contacted Meenan, who has a record of bringing Mets fans together, for designs and the marketing aspect of the event. Then they started to create fun events for the QBC and advertising it.

They expect to have many events there, including a baseball jersey parade, a children’s drawing contest, a panel discussion about the Mets, a banner parade, and an award ceremony for Mets players, among others. Kranepool and Darling will also hold autograph sessions.

The QBC trio is still adding more events and planning for more appearances, but aren’t saying what just yet. The Mets have not signed on to the event as of the writing of this article, but Prior said they are in discussions with the organization.

“Right now I just want to do the first year,” Prior said. “I am hopeful that this becomes an annual event that everyone can enjoy.”

Prices for the QBC are $35 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. It will run from about noon to 7 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets visit click here.

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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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NYPD officers sport 7 Line gear after drug bust


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Facebook/NYPD

The 7 Line, a manufacturer of non-traditional Mets apparel, just got some free publicity courtesy of the New York City Police Department

On its Facebook page this afternoon, the NYPD posted a message describing a recent Queens drug bust, where officers from the 103rd Precinct arrested a man for possession of two loaded guns and crack cocaine.

Along with the crime description, the NYPD also posted a photo of the recovered weapons and drugs, and the NYPD members responsible for the bust decked out in 7 Line gear.

According to the post, on February 1, a sergeant and two officers responded to a call of shots fired. While canvassing the area where the suspects possibly had fled, they saw a man exit a Ferndale Avenue home with a backpack, then return to the same house without the backpack.

They stopped and questioned the man, and recovered the backpack, which contained a loaded .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun, a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun and 1.5 ounces of crack cocaine. An additional 179 rounds of ammunition were also found inside the house.

The 26-year-old suspect was charged with criminal possession of a weapon,  criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

 

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The 7 Line calendar heats up Mets offseason


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

A few things happened for the Mets on opening day 2010: the team won; McFadden’s Bar at Citi Field opened its doors for the first time; and Darren Meenan officially started The 7 Line.

Three seasons later, the clothing line and the popular pub came together to celebrate The 7 Line 2013 calendar, adorned with some of the prettiest Met fans in the tri-state area.

The 7 Line, staffed by Meenan and longtime friend Lizy Saroyan, has taken off over the last two-and-a-half years, celebrating the culture of the team and the loyalty that makes Mets fans who they are.

Like the tradition of getting fan input on a new product, Meenan said he let fans vote on who would make the calendar, tracing IP addresses to ensure that selection was fair.

“The idea was, I don’t exclude anyone from trying out,” Meenan said regarding who made the 12 spots. “The fans actually voted on who would make the top 12. The first year was like a trial run, we weren’t sure what to expect. But…we knew it would definitely be something we’d want to keep doing.”

Last year, around 30 women tried out, he said, and the launch party was held at the significantly smaller McFadden’s in New York City. This year, the much bigger venue reflected the growing following of the line.

More than 50 striking young women tried out to fill in the 12 roster spots on the calendar. Courtney Fay, who will adorn the September page, was thrilled to be a part of something that was still so new, all the while so popular.

“It’s a really awesome experience,” she said. “It’s not something that everybody can say that they’ve done. There’s so many Mets fans, and there’s a lot of girls trying out for it. It’s an honor to be in it, to be honest. Especially to be in the second one: it’s so new, it’s still up and running…it’s really awesome.”

But while there was plenty to celebrate as The 7 Line christens another year of fandom, the brand has also given back in recent weeks. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the small staff of two began drafting a T-shirt that not only sought to bring all New Yorkers together— regardless of their team allegiances — but lend a helping hand. The calendar launch party also took in supplies for victims that were later brought to shelters, and a donation bucket for Sandy victims was passed around.

Meenan started sketching the shirt while having lunch at the Bayside Diner the Saturday after the storm. He had a computer design later that afternoon and the shirts went on sale the following morning.

All revenue from the “uNitY” T-shirts will go directly to relief efforts in Queens for Sandy victims. So far, around $17,000 has been raised to go toward Sandy relief.

“We will be splitting the money up and donating it to different local charities,” Meenan said. “Being that The 7 Line is a New York brand we wanted to directly give back to our neighbors who were affected.”

Saroyan likewise said the pair wanted to do something that would help Queens, while bringing together the community.

“It’s tragic when things happen like that, and especially when it’s so close to home,” she said, “and we wanted to help and we know that with such a crowd and such a following, we were able to make something that somebody could hold on to, like a T-shirt, and also help out.”

Queens natives design sports tees


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

These guys don’t thread lightly.

Queens natives who are die-hard sports fans have started printing their own T-shirts. But this team gear is a little different than what you find at a chain store, and can only be purchased online.

On the last day of the 2009 season, lifelong Mets fan Darren Meenan of Little Neck made a shirt that highlighted the team’s turmoils over the last few years, sandwiched by “I survived” and “Let’s Go Mets 2010.”

He officially started his brand, The 7 Line, on opening day of the 2010 season. It has grown to be a fan favorite, with some of the company’s popular shirts visible at Citi Field and across the country.

The key to making the merchandise unique, Meenan said, is social networking and keeping up with the team, but most of all, knowing what the people like.

“The common bond would be you’re either a fan of our Facebook page or our Twitter account and you interact with each other because you’re a die-hard fan,” he said. “The die-hard fans are so loyal it doesn’t matter if [the Mets are] 10 games up or 10 games back.”

The 7 Line, which is staffed by Meenan and fellow Little Neck native Lizy Saroyan, has even become popular with Mets players. On opening day this year, starting pitcher Johan Santana appeared before reporters after the game in a 7 Line T-shirt with the number 8 on its front that memorialized the late Gary Carter, who passed away before the season’s start.

“One of the biggest names in pitching and baseball wearing the shirt that came from here, it was pretty crazy,” Meenan said.

Another startup, We Bleed Blue, designs and prints Rangers T-shirts out of a Glendale basement.

When news broke that Rick Nash was traded to the Rangers on July 23, co-founders Brendan Gebert and John Rizzo said they instantly began brainstorming about making T-shirts of the skater.

Fans wanted something with the phrase “Nashty,” the founders and designers said, and they put several concepts on Facebook and Twitter to get feedback. The final product was completely from fan opinion, they said.

“We would never put something out there that we wouldn’t wear ourselves,” the founders said. “Some of our designs come from fan feedback, others come straight from our own imagination.”

We Bleed Blue has even made T-shirts at the request of players or their families.

Gebert and Rizzo said defenseman Marc Staal’s wife contacted them about making a shirt for him. The result, they said, was one that read “Our Staal Is Better Than Yours,” which is a reference to the Carolina Hurricanes, where two of Staal’s brothers play.

“We are very happy with the design and we look forward to wearing it when the Rangers play the Carolina Hurricanes this upcoming season,” the partners said.

The duo said they plan on extending their football line, as they’re both devout Giants fans. They said an expanded Giants line should be ready by the Super Bowl champs’ opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 5.

Check out the shirts at http://www.webleedblue.com/ and http://the7line.com/