The former players clapped and clapped as he joined them for a group photo Old Timers Day.
The crowd behind the third-base dugout roared, then on separate occasions chanted, “Thanks, Steve.”
Steve Cohen The Mets were treated like heroes as they welcomed back some of their greatest players in franchise history for an event they last hosted in 1994.
“It’s their day, it’s not my day, OK,” Cohen said before Saturday The Mets beat the Rockies 3-0. “I’m glad I was able to bring them together. It’s better late than never. We have such a great history with the Mets and it’s important to celebrate that.
It’s one of many changes under Cohen’s watch around the Mets. From the Tom Seaver statue that was completed in May to his interactions with fans on Twitter to their high salaries at the pinnacle of the game, a lot has changed about the Mets with new ownership.
The current team is 35 games over .500 in the NL East, its best record this season since the World Series champion 1986 team.
“He’s brought a sense of optimism, and that’s the best way to go,” said former Met and current AM and ESPN analyst David Cone. “The whole fan base is confident now that it’s sustainable. Year after year, whatever it takes, it’s going to work out. It’s a great feeling as a fan. He seems to understand the modern way of doing things and what the fan base is responding to.”
A Mets fan growing up, Cohen said he doesn’t find it strange that the Mets don’t have an Old Timer’s Day every year like the rival Yankees. But once he took over from Wilbons, the idea was suggested and he was all for it. Current manager Buck Showalter praised Cohen for being willing to spend the money necessary to put on such a spectacular event.
“Trust me, it won’t go unnoticed,” Showalter said. “I told him, ‘Thank you.’ He didn’t want to hear it.
Cohen was excited about the opportunity to sit in the locker room with players from every era of Mets baseball and hear many stories from the former players he grew up watching. Those players raved about him and his passion for the Mets.
“He’s definitely turning things around,” Gooden said. “He knows it, and he gets it. … Nothing against the Wilbons, they were great, too, but he’s taking it to a whole ‘nother level. What I’m saying is getting the alumni back, putting the fans first and the organization, putting a competitive team back on the field. .
Both Cohn and Gooden believe the Mets can be a consistent winner, as they were in the 1980s. There is excitement about the team for this season and beyond. There is a sense of pride in the Mets’ history under Cohen.
Saturday’s Old Timer’s Day was memorable, drawing the likes of Pedro Martinez, Cleon Jones, Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Mike Piazza and Jose Reyes. Before the actual game began, the Mets had Willie Mays’ no. Retired from 24.
“These are simple things. I think the fans want to know that you’re interested and want to know that the franchise is listening. That’s what I’m trying to do,” Cohen said. “I’m doing this for the fans, so I’m listening to them. I don’t always have to agree, okay, but it’s important to me to know what they’re thinking, and it’s important to me that they know I care.