Why the New York Mets are playing ball with a teen's prom picture request

The team doesn't field every DM, but it made an exception for one fan last week.

NEW YORK: The New York Mets’ communications team fields zany fan inquiries on a regular basis, usually asking for game tickets or how to meet players. However, when the team received a direct message from Staten Island teen Callie Quinn asking how many retweets she needed to get a player to take prom pictures with her, the request stood out.

Last Friday, Quinn wrote, "Let me be straight with you guys. I don’t have a date for prom. I think it’s because I talk about baseball too much. So how many retweets for you guys to send a player to come take prom pics with me so I don’t look like a complete loser???"

Will Carafello, the Mets’ senior director of social media, said that Quinn has sent the team Twitter DMs before. He described her as a passionate fan who lives and breathes the Queens, New York, Major League Baseball team.

"She would send us regular DMs, saying things like, ‘Hey, I am in class until 7:15 tonight. Good luck with the game,’" said Carafello. "We have heard from her before and we knew she was a fan."

But until last week, the Mets had not responded to Quinn. Carafello said it’s not possible for the team to answer all of the DMs it receives. However, when Carafello came across Quinn’s unique request, he was struck by her honesty.

"We have all been in high school, and no one wants to go to a dance by themselves," he said. "She was so transparent and very honest with the whole situation. We thought, if there is a way we can help out, let’s do it."

The Mets wanted to play ball with Quinn’s request, but realized there is a scheduling conflict for the date of her prom on May 25, when the team will be playing in Milwaukee.

Carafello came up with the idea that in exchange for 500,000 retweets, Quinn could be invited to Citi Field on May 18 to take prom pictures on the field before the game with Mets players.

"We sent [the idea] across the board and immediately got positive responses from upper management saying they liked the idea," said Carafello. "We toyed around. We’ve never done this before."

The team considered a challenge of 525,000 retweets, to reflect Quinn’s prom date, but it settled on an even half-million for the sake of simplicity.

"This way, people won’t be asking about why it’s such a specific number," said Carafello. "We thought 500,000 was the right number because it would be a bit of a challenge for her. If we set it too low and she met the goal in a day, it wouldn’t pick up any steam."

The Mets replied to Quinn with the challenge on Friday evening. She quickly took a screenshot of the team’s reply and tweeted it, asking for retweets and including the hashtag #CalliesMetsProm.

"Her tweet didn’t get much traction Friday night," said Carafello. "At that point, I got home and saw she was between 5,000 and 10,000 retweets. I started to rethink, ‘Oh shoot, did we set the bar too high?’"

But when Carafello woke up the next morning, Quinn was closing in on 100,000 retweets.
As of 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday, she had 338,000. Quinn has also received retweets from celebrity baseball fans such as William Shatner and Donnie Wahlberg, mascot Mr. Met, players Kevin McGowan and Josh Smoker, and for

mer Met star Curtis Granderson. Beat reporters have also covered and retweeted her cause.

Carafello said campaign has been completely organic, and noted that Quinn has been actively reaching out to celebrities on Twitter for help.

"[Quinn] is not shy; she is reaching out to everyone," he explained. "She is super active on Twitter specifically. If someone is going to [complete this challenge], it’s going to be her. We think she will do it sometime this week."

It’s too early to say if the Mets have benefitted from their involvement. But Carafello said he noticed on Saturday that the team had more social mentions not associated with its own content than usual.

"More people outside of our typical circle have been talking about it and mentioning us," he said. "We have also seen an increase in our [Twitter] following and a significant increase in our DMs with requests."

Media outlets such as CBS New York, the New York Post, and Yahoo Sports have picked up the story. The MLB Network has also covered the news on a few of its shows.

"We thought this was a cool opportunity," said Carafello. "This was a good way to connect with our fans."

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