Talking Chop posted the e-mail that Braves President John Schuerholz sent to fans following their Metsian collapse in September this season. It reminded of the e-mail the Mets sent out after Game 162 in 2007. Here is a comparison of the two messages. First up is the Mets' message, which I've dug out of my e-mail archives:
Dear Mets Fan:
All of us at the Mets are bitterly disappointed in failing to achieve our collective goal of building upon last year's success. We did not meet our organization's expectations -- or yours. Everyone at Shea feels the same range of emotions as you -- our loyal fans -- and we know we have let you down. We wanted to thank you for your record-breaking support of our team this year.
Equally important, Ownership will continue its commitment in providing the resources necessary to field a championship team. Omar will be meeting with Ownership shortly to present his plan on addressing our shortcomings so that we can achieve our goal of winning championships in 2008 and beyond.
You deserve better results.
Many thanks again for your record-breaking support.
The New York Mets
Timing: The e-mail was sent October 1st, 2007, the day after the Mets' final game.
Salutation: "Dear Mets Fan." It's like receiving junk mail addressed to "Valued Customer".
Negative words: "bitterly disappointed", "failing", "let you down", "shortcomings"
Player references: None.
General manager references: Omar has a plan and he likes his plan.
Valediction: "The New York Mets." The entire organization sent this message.
Overall thoughts: The Mets took action quickly, sending the e-mail when the hurt of the final game was still fresh. This sent a message that the front office and ownership were just as stung by the collapse as fans. They couldn't sit around doing nothing -- they needed to communicate something.
Unfortunately, the execution of the e-mail is poor. It comes off more like a mass press release rather than a personal note to the fans, as if Fred Wilpon asked an intern to write up a brief 100 word message to send out. And do it posthaste, intern! If someone from ownership signed the message, it might be more effective. Remember that this was pre-Madoff, and the Wilpons were not nearly as loathed four years ago as they are today. Some support for the star players who carried the team all season, and were subsequently ridiculed for not being leaders or whatnot, would be welcome too. The general sentiment of the e-mail is appreciated though.
Here is the Braves' apology:
Dear [first name of fan -- in the case of Talking Chop, "Martin"],
On behalf of the entire Braves organization, I would like to thank you for all of the great support you showed us this season. Your continued involvement in this team plays a pivotal role in our ability and drive to succeed. While there were many exciting moments during our 2011 season, unfortunately, we fell short of our ultimate goal. Together, we share in the disappointment and frustration of how and when this season ended.
For a majority of the season we owned one of the four best records in baseball. We had five members of our team representing the Braves at the All-Star Game, and we had the two best rookies in the league on our team - either Kimbrel or Freeman will surely win the Rookie of the Year Award. We witnessed an historic hitting streak by Dan Uggla and his incredible defense all year. Throughout the season, we began to see the remarkable depth of talent in our young players.
However, our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal.
Like you, I am very proud of the history and achievements of your Atlanta Braves organization. However proud we are of that legacy, I would like to reiterate to you that our focus is on the future and our goal for next season is to win a World Championship for you, our loyal fans.
Once again, I appreciate all you do to support the Braves organization and team. I truly hope you will continue to be part of the great atmosphere and community we all share in Braves Country.
Timing: The e-mail was sent October 6th, 2011, about a week after the Braves' final game.
Salutation: "Dear [first name of fan]". A program is obviously used to plug the recipient's name into the e-mail but at least an effort is made towards personalization.
Negative words: "fell short", "disappointment", "frustration", "unacceptable", "missteps", "weaknesses"
Player references: Youngsters Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman earn shoutouts. Dan Uggla receives effusive praise to the point of absurdity:
We witnessed an historic hitting streak by Dan Uggla and his incredible defense all year.
That's incredible, as in "genocide is incredible!", as opposed to "the Amazin' Avenue Annual is incredible!"
General manager references: Frank Wren and the upcoming offseason he will spend repairing weaknesses is mentioned. Some weaknesses Wren would be wise to ship to the Mets include:
- Jason Heyward
- Brian McCann
- Brandon Beachy
- Mike Minor
Valediction: "Sincerely, John Schuerholz." Despite the paucity of World Series titles for his team over the last two decades, Schuerholz is respected by Braves fans for his work as architect of all those playoff teams. Receiving the message from him and not just "The Atlanta Braves" provides some minor reassurance that there is someone competent supervising.
Overall thoughts: The Braves' e-mail is the opposite of the Mets' -- the execution is strong but the timing is poor. The mentions of young players hint at the Braves' bright future, which they certainly have. It carries a more hopeful tone than the Mets' e-mail. However, it was sent as the two NLDS series were heating up, reminding fans of the collapse in the heart of the postseason they won't have. Composing something before the playoffs started would have been advisable. Additionally, adding "P.S. [incompetent manager] has been relieved of his duties" would have been a good idea in both the Mets' and Braves' cases.
The idea of a professional sports team apologizing for its performance is a bit comical, yet somehow refreshing, considering most governments and corporations rarely show public remorse for their mistakes. It won't go a long way towards assuaging the hurt of collapse but it's better than nothing.