A couple days ago, the Mets sent out an email survey. Lots of boring questions meant to "improve your ballpark experience," but one caught the eye:
"The Mets are considering adding a designated ‘quiet' seating section with lower volume PA announcements and no music or cheerleading. How likely would you be to purchase tickets in that section?"
The idea — though obviously just an idea, and not something that's being put into place at this stage — came in for some criticism. The Post, which probably now regrets its original headline of "The Amazin' Mutes," found people to call it stupid and boring. Local radio dudes Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton weren't kind either. But a Mets rep reached out to the radio hosts, and explained that the section would cater to families with autistic children.
Kids with autism (or anywhere on the autistic spectrum) can have sensory processing disorders, marked by overstimulation from things like loud noises, flashing lights; you know, the typical 21st century ballpark experience. So it might be nice for them and their families to have a safe space, along with anyone else who wants to see a ballgame but doesn't want to deal with the circus crap that surrounds it. And it wouldn't cost the Mets anything — they're not selling out anyway, so why not offer up a whole section to a special needs group, like many teams already do for those with peanut allergies?
It's a marketing move, too. This is a sizable target demographic (the survey question is to determine just how sizable), and the Mets are saying hey, we're aware you exist, why not come out to a ballgame? Maybe it's meant to sell more tickets; maybe it's meant to provide an option for families with limited public entertainment options. At least it's not completely cynical.