As it currently stands, the Mets are to open the '09 campaign at shiny new Citi Field, which has risen next door to dowdy, yet noble Shea Stadium, which proudly carried the name of Bill Shea. He was the New York lawyer who brought the National League baseball back to the Big Apple after the Dodgers and Giants fled to the west coast.
Citi Field represents a “loser.” Think Enron Field, where the Astros once played. Or CMGI Stadium, the dot.com bust that purchased naming rights to Foxboro Stadium, now blessedly recast as Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots. Or PSINet Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens now known as M&T Bank Stadium after PSINet went bankrupt in 2002.
After two catastrophic back-to-back collapses, one would think the last thing Wilpon would want is to have his team play in a house that is hexed. The Mets wouldn’t play in “Black Cat Stadium” would they? [Perhaps, the black cat holds an honored place in NYM history. It was a game time appearance of a black cat in 1969 before Cubs third baseball Ron Santo that jinxed the Cubbies and helped propel the Miracle Mets to their first World Series win, a victory over the much favored Baltimore Orioles.]
Wilpon must consider the PR backlash to be suffered from taking money from an institution that is a ward of the U.S. Government. Taxpayers are on the hook for the federal promise to guarantee $300B in Citigroup’s toxic assets. People across the nation will be reminded of the Citi collapse every time a Mets home game goes on the air. The Mets simply don’t need the distraction.
Also does Wilpon plan to dole out free tickets to the more than 50,000 Citigroup staffers who either got or are getting the ax? Jeff also should consider Citigroup’s shaky long-time future. Odds are less than 50 percent that Citi will be around for 20 years. Is its successor company going to play ball with the Mets?