The holidays are over and if there’s one thing you, me, and the proverbial weird uncle can probably agree on, it’s that we’re now broke. I’ve got a big family, bought a lot of presents, and consequently, January is always a month of reckoning in the credit card department. On the plus side, I bought some Mets tickets for the fans in my life, and I definitely checked the promotional schedule before I picked the date—a freebie at the door is a whole extra gift for my loved ones! (#Christmashero) And one of the great things about the egalitarian spirit of America’s favorite pastime is that even the cheap seats get the promos (if the seat-sitter is willing to queue up early enough). So without further ado, an in-depth analysis of all the free stuff you can get this year at Citi Field!
(Limited-release items are marked with an asterisk.)
April 3 – 2017 Magnetic Schedule
It’s a schedule! It’s a magnet! It gives you valuable information while simultaneously keeping hold of all your expired coupons! Who cares—it’s the Mets’ home opener (against the Braves) and that’s enticing enough.
April 7 – “There’s No Place Like Home” Shirt
Citi Field gets a little chilly at night even at peak summer–especially in the 500s–so I’m sure fans at this April night game will appreciate the first of the free-shirt Friday giveaways coming with long sleeves. Of course, free shirt Friday shirts are all XL, which means the gals like me can only use them as a mini-dress or, say, a bedsheet. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
April 8 – Fireworks
Sure, you don’t get to put the fireworks in your pocket and take them home with you … but the memories. The way your kiddies’ and wives’ eyes light up at the sight—priceless! Seriously, though, who doesn’t love fireworks out over the bay?
April 9 – Rally Towels
Yeah, I know; the rally towel was invented just to get fans to shut up—to wave that towel rather than clap or bang on stuff. But did I save the towel I got at the 2015 NLCS game against the Cubs? Most definitely.
April 21 – Jose Reyes T-shirt
Dammit, I bought tickets to this game, and all I’ll get is the face of an alleged perpetrator of domestic violence—not really a mini-dress I want in my collection. But it’s the first of a series of free shirt Fridays that feature one specific player, and interesting turn from last year’s more collective designs.
April 22 – Matt Harvey Garden Gnome*
The Harvey gnome is the first of the promos not guaranteed to all fans—you must be one of the first 15,000 to arrive (Citi Field has a capacity of 41,922) to snag one. Gnome hopefuls will have to put their faith in the 7 express train, while the release of the Harvey promo in April suggests the organization’s has faith in Harvey being out on the mound (and not terrible) relatively early in the season.
April 23 – Mets Tote Bag
Tote bags are great baseball game bags, because they’re super easy for one guard to open and search while you’re being groped by the other guard in order to gain entry to the park. Now all fans can submit to future security-based humiliation in style by sporting this Mets-themed tote.
May 5 – Thor T-shirt
Now here’s a player-specific shirt to get excited about. Thor’s long, flowing locks would look great on a mini-dress! He’s also one of the only starters on the roster not to have been compromised in 2015. Hopefully he can lead the charge as the rest of the crew staff finishes healing up.
May 6 – Noah Syndergaard Hair Hat*
Speaking of long flowing locks, the first 15,000 fans can get their own set on this Saturday night game against Miami. The Marlins made a surprisingly good run at the start of last year, proving their young bats had power, so some Thor might be in order to keep them quiet.
May 7 – Mets Batting Gloves*
What will us mere mortals do with batting gloves? Can we use them as winter gloves? Can we hold onto them without losing one until winter? (Or at least, until we get off the subway?) The first 15,000 fans to the game will have to keep us posted.
May 19 – “Up the Middle” Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker T-Shirt
I have to admit, when looking at the graphic for this t-shirt I thought, who is that guy? … Oh! It’s Neil Walker! I hope Neil Walker’s not broken this year. We are going to need his bat to back up Cespedes, especially if we end up stuck with a nonstarter like Bruce.
May 20 – David Wright Starting Lineup Figurine*
I have no idea how a figurine might indicate its place in the order*, but what can we do besides appeal to the baseball gods that we might see David Wright in the actual starting lineup in May, and not just in plastic form. At least 15,000 people will have the pleasure of a starting Wright in their cubicles forevermore.
(* – Editor’s Note: Us oldies remember Starting Lineup figures.)
May 21 – Sunglasses*
Will they be orange? Will they be blue? Will they be orange and blue? 15,000 of us are about to find out. (The other 26, 922, blinded by day-game sun cresting the sky, won’t be able to tell!)
June 2 – Jacob deGrom T-shirt
The last we heard from deGrom was in early December, when his ability to snap without pain returned, a sign he said meant his post-surgery elbow and ulnar nerve were back to normal. deGrom is expected to resume regular spring training when the team reports to Port St. Lucie on February 12. Hopefully by June he’ll be in full ace force, and we can wear him in good health.
June 3 – Fireworks!
How much do you think Fireworks Night increases the percentage of marriage proposals at baseball games? Asking for a friend. Really though, what says romance better than beating the Pirates and then blowing stuff up?
June 4 – Bat and Ball Set*
I always feel a little wary of the giveaways that arm 15,000 fans with weapons and release them out onto the MTA, but that’s what’s happening at this final matchup in the run vs. Pittsburgh. At least it’s a day game?
June 16 – Tie-dye Mets Logo T-shirt
For the subtle hippie in your life, this white tee features a multi-colored Mets “M,” perfect to immediately drip mustard upon after receipt. As a bonus, consider the rainbow logo a quiet troll upon Daniel Murphy as the Mets meet the Nationals in their third of four 2017 series.
June 17 – TBD
Mystery! Intrigue! What amazing free thing will you get? No one knows—not even the Mets!
June 18 – Father’s Day Cap*
Snag some tickets for this Sunday game and Father’s day is a lock. You both get to watch baseball, drink beer, and, just like my Christmas scheme, the free hat feels like an extra gift you get credit for! #FathersDayHero
June 30 – Yoenis Cespedes T-shirt
I’m surprised that we made it to nearly July without any Cespedes promo, but there’s a lot to come, and this clever t-shirt design is one of my favorite of the season. Here’s to lots of big hits by Yo, especially in this game against those blasted Phillies.
July 1 – Asdrubal Cabrera Bobblehead*
Are bobbleheads going out of style? I feel like there used to be more of these floating around, but alas, Cabrera bobbles alone thus far, and only to the first 15,000 fans. If you need more creepy, big-headed junk in your life, queue up early!
July 2 – Batting Helmet*
It’s just like getting a free hat, except you can’t actually wear it anywhere outside the stadium. On the plus side, maybe we could use it to butt heads with Phillies fans in this series closer.
July 14 – New York T-shirt
It’s got some vague skyscrapers on it, and it says New York! Where and why, who knows? Maybe one’s the Citibank building or something … ?
July 15 – Fireworks
Just in case you didn’t get your Fourth of July fill.
July 16 – Minibat*
When I have writer’s block, I like to fiddle with my baseball glove. My dad—a programmer—plays with a minibat. There’s really no other use for it, but 15,000 people are about to get one either way.
July 21 – Let’s Go Mets T-shirt
I like the look of this black t-shirt—it’s classy, and might even fool a few people into thinking it’s something you paid money for. That is, if you weren’t swimming in it.
July 22 – TBD
What free thing will you jostle a stranger in line for? Will the A’s ever be good again? These questions and more to be answered on this Saturday night!
July 23 – Yoenis Cespedes Compression Sleeve*
Truth be told, I’ve never worn a compression sleeve, neon or otherwise, but a cursory Googling reveals that the things do in fact come in sizes, so I imagine this freebie will not be useful at all to the majority of fans (can I get a kid’s size?). Then again, I also don’t have huge arm muscles or hit a lot of home runs, so it probably wasn’t going to get a lot of use even if it did fit.
August 4 – Replica Jersey
Is it a t-shirt made to look like a jersey, or a replica of someone’s jersey? Hard to say from the illustration on the Mets’ website, though I’m guessing the former—kind of like the Cespedes shirt back in June, only blue. Either way, it’ll make a fine mini-dress.
August 5 – Bucket Hat*
If ever there were a limited promotion not worth getting to the park early for, it’s this guy. Bucket hats have literally not been cool since last century, and as far as I’m concerned 15,000 are 15,000 too many.
August 6 – Topps Commemorative Baseball Packs
Baseball card packs, I assume, in which case, yay! I spent a big part of my childhood collecting and meticulously logging my baseball cards, and to open up a new pack still gives me a thrill. Plus, everybody in the stadium gets some—trading party!
August 18 – Mets Double Logo Shirt
Free shirt Friday again falls on a game versus the Marlins. This design kind of reminds me of those Magic Eye* books that were supposed to make things look 3-D but I could never get to work. I’m pretty sure everyone was just lying about seeing the thing, right?
( * – Editor’s Note: It’s a sailboat.)
August 19 – Yoenis Cespedes Bobblehead*
Oh hey, here’s another one—so bobbleheads aren’t actually passé! Whew. The third and final Cespedes promo goes out to 15,000 fans on Saturday night. The compression sleeve looks way better on him.
August 20 – Toy Truck*
Not sure what this truck will look like, or what a truck has to do with baseball at all, but it’s a Sunday afternoon game, and I’m sure the kiddies in the audience will appreciate a new toy. 15,000 of them, at least.
September 8 – Let’s Go Mets T-Shirt
Wait, didn’t we already get a Let’s Go Mets t-shirt? Yes, yes we did. But this one’s bluer. And in a different font. And instead of the A’s, they’re playing the Reds. Yeah, you’re right, this does sound kind of the same. On the bright side, maybe Bruce will be inspired to hit a bunch of home runs against his former teammates?
September 9 – TBD
What kind of shape will the Fab Five be in by September? Will David Wright have turned to stone? Will Walker still be a thing? Who will still be standing and will it be enough to make the Mets contenders? TBD.
September 10 – Player Fathead*
My dad has a Bartolo Fathead that he hides around the house to terrorize my mother. Once he left it on the mantle and even scared himself. Sadly, the Bartolo (in Mets gear, at least) Fathead is now a relic, but never fear: I’m sure a Thor or Cespedes popping up in the bathroom mirror will be just as terrifying. Mothers everywhere rejoice that they’re only giving out 15,000 of these things.
September 22 – NY Mets Est. 1962 Shirt
It’s the year’s only gray shirt … like the hair color of those who will most appreciate this nostalgia-heavy design. But it’s a free thing for everyone on the opening night of the Mets’ final run against those Nationals, which, with any luck will be a close game with the playoffs at stake and a packed house.
September 23 – Fireworks
May they be in celebration of Daniel Murphy dropping the ball a lot.
September 24 – Magnetic 2018 Schedule
It’s the circle of life, Simba. We begin with a magnet; we end with a magnet. And of course the wish that we’ll get the greatest gift of all again this year—October baseball.
Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports