Even without hockey, with hoops up and football crashing, NY talk radio has had more than enough topics to keep busy. Good thing for the Mets (and Yanks) who have little positive to report.

Of course we don’t know what the club will be until they get to spring training. But the Mets have a lot of work to do to get beyond where the whole organization has been trending in recent years.

On the plus side of the ledger, the installment of Sandy Alderson, his braintrust and Terry Collins has solidified what had been rocky baseball leadership. They seem to have a plan, although what that is they haven’t declared. We suspect it’s stripping down and rebuilding although they’re afraid to say it. I do believe that Mets fans would be relieved to know there’s actually a plan (instead of just putting David Wright, cheap retreads and AAAA players out there).

On the other side you’ve got the House of Wilpon, teaming up with Bernie Madoff, legal and financial problems, turning into a small market franchise at big market prices, badmouthing their star players like Wright and Dickey (who do they think they are the Red Sox?).

Fans have not taken well to the recent fortunes as the attached chart from businessinsider.com shows. There is an aggregate 44.5% attendance slide over the past 4 years despite the shiny new Citi Field:

While reliable historical TV ratings are difficult to come by, according to sportsbusinessdaily.com the Mets have a 2.3 share in their local market, which is the 7th worst in MLB as of 2011.

It would seem that the Mets (and the Yanks) had terrible timing with the new ballparks but also badly overreached in terms of prices and amenities. It’s a given that their big revenues now come from local cable. And they may actually optimize their gate by higher prices and lower attendance. But it can never be a good thing for the ‘brand’ when you’re losing your fan base.

Personally I think the Wilpon’s will have a hard time ever getting Mets fans to warm up to them but giving their fans an actual reason to come out to the park would be a start.

Dave Graziano also blogs at BigDogSportsBlog.com about current sports news and opinion topics