Let's get it straight from the start. When you buy something, you have the right to do whatever you want with it. The New York Mets can call their Syracuse baseball team the Mets, but they missed a great opportunity to rebrand and appeal to all baseball fans in the area, not just Mets fans.
If you're a Yankees fan, it's highly unlikely you're going to buy any Syracuse Mets gear. Same thing with the Red Sox or any fan of another MLB team.
Changing the name to anything but Mets would have been a shrewd marketing approach. Personally, keeping the Chiefs name would have been fine since it dates back to the 1930s but I understand why the Mets would want to make a change. Tying into Syracuse's history, maybe a name related to salt or the Erie Canal, would have been better.
Hopefully the Mets will continue to use the Salt Potatoes name as a once-a-year promotion but there's no way you change your name to that permanently.
The new Mets uniforms aren't spectacular but the hats do have some appeal. I bet they will actually sell better because some people will think they're connected to Syracuse University because of the blue and orange.
The Mets said they are committed to playing in Syracuse until 2043 because Onondaga County and the state will put in millions of dollars to improve the ballpark. That's good to know but I still wonder what happens in about 10 years if attendance continues to fall in the lower half of the International League. Is there an out clause tied to attendance? I doubt we'll know.
The one thing the Mets do have that will help them is current general manager Jason Smorol. Jason did a great job as the Auburn Doubledays GM back in the early 2000s and he's been doing the same in Syracuse.
Ultimately, he can continue to come up with great promotional ideas but there will always be some people who won't come out to the ballpark. If the Mets are going to succeed long term, it's going to take a combination of promotions, ballpark improvements and a winning team.
The Mets have not had a recent history of winning in Class AAA and Syracuse fans have a tradition of being fair weather (ask Syracuse University football).
It's important that the Mets do something that makes the team worth watching. Short term, that's going to be Tim Tebow making his Class AAA debut next spring. Tebow's pro baseball career has been debated as a gimmick but he does put fannies in the seats. The question is how long does the novelty last?
And ponder this: if the big league Mets struggle like they did last season, will Tebow make his MLB debut sooner than later? Obviously this depends on how Tebow performs on the field but if he does well in Syracuse, how long is it before he gets called up?
The Mets have to do something in Syracuse that they haven't done in New York in a few years, which is field a quality team that can compete for the postseason. No one expects the Syracuse Mets to win the IL title in 2019 but being in the pennant race after July 4 would be nice. The loyal Syracuse fans who are starved for any kind of postseason success deserve more than what they've seen from the Blue Jays and the Nationals over the last 40 years.
Winning isn't the lone thing that will keep baseball in the Salt City but it's important. Maybe by then Syracuse fans won't care what the team is named?