Monday, May 7, 2012

Gettin' Iggy With It: Nieuwenhuis, Yes! Niese, Not Yet!

Hi, everyone! My name is Iggy Beartran, the sister of Studious Metsimus co-blogger and bear about town, Joey Beartran. Although I’ve appeared in a number of photos used in Studious Metsimus posts, I had never written a blog post before because … well … I hadn’t learned how to read anything other than menus. Obviously, that also meant I hadn’t learned how to write either. But now, with the help of Joey and my twin sister Angel, I’ve learned that there is more to reading than being able to order a Mex Burger at Citi Field on my own. And now I’m sharing my first written words with you on a topic that is sure to be on the minds of all of our readers. Well, most of them. Okay, some of them. At least a dozen of them. Two, for sure.

So tell me, what do you think of those Jonathon Niese T-shirts for sale at Citi Field? What? You haven’t seen them there? Well, hey, you’re not alone. In fact, you can’t find Jonathon Niese shirts for sale anywhere inside Citi Field or at any of the team’s Clubhouse Shop locations in New York.

For those of you who are not aware of it, Niese has been a Met since 2008, when the Mets were still playing at Shea Stadium. Meanwhile, Ruben Tejada, who didn’t become an everyday player until this year, has an orange No. 11 shirt for sale at Citi Field. You can also find Justin Turner’s No. 2 shirt and Lucas Duda’s No. 21 on the racks. Duda did not become a regular until after Carlos Beltran’s trade to San Francisco last July and Turner has never been more than a super-utility player, a latter-day Joe McEwing, if you will.

That brings us to Kirk Noowen … Neuwin … Nieuwenhuis. (I told you I’m still learning. Don’t judge.) The Mets’ rookie outfielder has made quite a splash in the big leagues, providing clutch hits and superb outfield defense since being called up to the parent team when Andres Torres was placed on the disabled list after the Mets’ Opening Day victory. Still, he has just 100 or so at-bats in the majors, but that didn’t stop him from getting a spot on the merchandise racks at Citi Field.

That’s right, Mets fans. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has beaten Jonathon Niese to the T-shirt rack, as shown by yours truly in the photo below.

I can understand that the Mets are trying to capitalize on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ popularity. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to contact Madison Avenue advertising executives to get him his own shampoo commercial. But why does the team continue to snub Niese when it comes to T-shirt sales?

Jonathon Niese has shown steady improvement from year to year. The Mets acknowledged that by channeling Toucan Sam, following their nose on Niese and locking up their southpaw starter with a five-year contract, the first long-term deal given to a player in the Sandy Alderson era. Niese is the only player contractually committed to the team through the year 2016. But the way things are going in the merchandising department, it might take until then for the Mets to sell a Niese shirt to the masses.

The Mets are no longer selling K-Rod’s No. 75, Beltran’s No. 15 and Reyes’ No. 7. How about instead of trying to shove their surplus of Jason Bay’s No. 44 shirts down our collective throats, they realize that their homegrown pitcher who is going to be with the team for quite some time can probably sell a shirt or two in his own right?

Fans are excited with the team’s unexpected good start. They’re also excited that the team is succeeding mostly due to its homegrown players, like David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and yes, Jonathon Niese. If the Mets are going to sell their homegrown players’ shirts in the team store, then they need to add the shirt of the player they’ve committed the most time to.

It’s time for the Mets to get Iggy with it and add Jonathon Niese’s No. 49 to their team store inventory, reducing the space they have for Jason Bay’s shirts. If they’re worried about Bay’s shirts going to waste, they can always use his No. 44 shirts as tourniquets to be used for his next injury. Problem solved.

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