A lot has changed in the 29 years since the New York Mets last won the World Series, and fortunately for Mitch Modell, CEO of New York-based sports retailer Modell’s, it’s meant a business boom for the 120-year-old family-owned chain.
“When I was at the Mets game, you saw people wearing jackets from 1986 that they took the mothballs off,” Modell told CNBC about his experience Wednesday night in Kansas City. “And that’s why you gotta go to Mo’s!”
The Mets’ 2015 success has prompted a surge of people to purchase new blue and orange T-shirts, jerseys and commemorative gear. On the day the team won the pennant, Modell’s sold more Mets gear than in all of 2014. That’s right: One day outsold all of last year.
“We have printers, manufacturers, all over the country,” said Modell. “Planes, boats, yachts, 48 vans. We brought in all of our people from New England, Connecticut, Washington and Philadelphia to help out with the stores. Unload and set up the stores. We’re ready. We’re ready for war.”
Modell’s already had to change strategy because the Mets lost the first two games against Kansas City, with the CEO saying the company would have started preprinting “World Series Champion” merchandise had they, in fact, won those games. The store also had to reduce prices on the gear they have in store, because they’ll need to clear it out in huge massive quantities by the end of the week.
“My heart can’t take seven games,” said Modell. “But a Met win will light up the city.” He predicted that if the Amazins do come back, “it will be the biggest day in our 126-year history. It will be by far the biggest day ever.” Privately held Modell’s operates 150 stores through the Northeast.
Mets legend Darryl Strawberry knows something about comebacks. “We were down 0-2 in ’86, went down to Boston and we came back and ended up being the champ.” That was the last time the Mets won the World Series, and why so many of them have to buy new gear to replace their mothballed outfits.
Speaking of the current team, “they need to start being productive as hitters to make things happen.”
Strawberry also discussed other newsy topics. He is not a fan of the big rise in daily fantasy sports like FanDuel and DraftKings. “I think it’s crazy. It’s a distraction to what sports are all about. It’s too many outlets and too many different things from keeping what the real purpose of what the game is all about.”
Similarly, Strawberry didn’t love the rise of all the advance analytics in the sport. “I think old school was better. … Stats don’t always tell you how a good or bad a player is.”
Also in the news is the presidential election. Strawberry watched the most recent debate rather than attend the World Series game. “We are Americans and need to learn to come together. Our country needs to have a heart transplant more than anything so we can learn to love each other.”
And even more interesting: The Donald. As a contestant on “The Apprentice,” Strawberry knows Donald Trump. “One thing I like about Donald is he speaks his mind regardless.” “Of course a lot of people don’t like his opinions.”
“Donald is Donald.”