07.19.07

Matthews Lobs A Brick At Fred Wilpon’s Palace Of Greed

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:30 pm by

Though Newsday’s Wally Matthews is routinely the object of ridicule around these parts, there is at least one subject on which he and I are in full agreement : The Nihilistics’ back catalog has not aged well.

Sorry, that’s the subject on which Gary Matthews and I are in full agreement. But Wally’s got some salient points to make about the Mets’ new ballpark.

From the drastically reduced seating capacity – 42,000 as opposed to the current 55,000 – to the apparent elimination of affordable ticket plans, to the hard-sell announcements that issue from the video screens between innings, “informing” fans that only Shea full-season ticket holders will receive priority when it comes time to shell out for seats in the Mets’ new crib, it is clear that Citi Field will be fan-friendly only to New York’s wealthiest fans.

The Mets are getting the deal Walter O’Malley wanted 50 years ago, the one he wound up getting in Los Angeles. But they are doing it in reverse, downsizing the number of seats in order to increase the number of luxury boxes, and thereby vastly increasing revenue while decreasing the average fan’s chances of seeing a game live.

It will work out fine for the Wilpons and fine for their corporate sponsors and fine for the well-to-do clientele they are so avidly courting. As for the rest of us, well, they have a seat for us, too – in our living rooms, watching the Mets on SNY for the relatively modest monthly cost of a cable tier.

A few months ago, I wrote some columns detailing the plight of businesses in the Iron Triangle of junkyards, foundries and factories across 126th Street from Shea Stadium. Since then, Mets officials customarily greet me as follows: “Hey, how are your buddies in the junkyard doing?” As if displacing businesses and residents is some kind of joke. As if their lives and livelihoods don’t matter, or at least not as much as the Mets getting a new ballpark.

Sadly, a lot of fans and the local media have fallen in line, having swallowed the canard that Citi Field will be good for everyone, even those who are being bulldozed, trampled over and kicked out to make way for it.

9 Responses to “Matthews Lobs A Brick At Fred Wilpon’s Palace Of Greed”

  1. Rog says:

    Maybe the Mets will suffer the same sad fate as the Red Sox. Ever since 2004, only rich people can afford tix anymore thus creating a situation where the stuffed shirts in the seats don’t understand Boston sports enough to boo J.D. Drew when he swings at the first pitch and grounds out meekly to an infielder in the late innings. So glad I was living there back when you could always see somebody really embarrass the whole city with crude behavior. They may as well serve Martinis instead of beer at the concession stands in Fenway these days. Pink hat motherfuckers.

  2. Joel Hunt says:

    wouldn’t such criticisms – valid as they are – have been a little bit more timely before the city and state approved the plan for Citi Field? That is, the reduction in seating capacity was surely one of the first things mentioned when the plan was revealed, so why is this some big shocker all of a sudden? Of course the new stadium is for the wealthy, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to get rid of over ten thousand seats.

  3. GC says:

    I think W.M. is entitled to bitch about the eminent domain issues at any point. Yeah, you’re right Joel, this kind of thing would’ve served a greater purpose at an earlier date. Though it doesn’t seem as though a big outcry from the public or the press has stopped Bruce Ratner in Brooklyn.

    and yeah, the baseball for the wealthy thing is all relative. Wally is upset that some longtime fans might lose their partial season plans. If you’re going to Shea on the weekend plan, you’re not totally destitute. And it isn’t as though a Mets game is such a cheap option at the moment, either ($5 midweek upper deck seats aside)

  4. Joel Hunt says:

    it’s not so steep with no kids and a flask.

    But yeah, I think the main thing is Bloomberg learned his lesson with the Jets west-side stadium fiasco. And the lesson was: crush any and all opposition.

  5. jerry says:

    it’s all around bad for the little guy , from the seats to stealing peoples land. mr mike & the wilpons have and continue to only care about $

  6. Tom says:

    I’m a life time Met fan, it took me many years to be in the position now to afford a simple luxury like a partial plan at Shea, 13 games at ticket face value. There are thousands of people just like me, working folks with a passion for baseball. Not only have we been kicked to the curb for the wealthy friends for Fred, but have been screwed for years on playoff tickets. We get the worst seat while the seats we pay for all year go to brokers and other friends of Wilpon and scalpers. Last year I asked the guy inmy seat where he got his seats, he said a broker that had the entire section. When get offered post season seats its in the blind, paid in full without knowing where you may have seats. 90% of the time you get garbage seats. My 2000 World Series seats were 4th row from the top of the upper deck. My plan seats are in the Loge. Seems a bit unfair that I do not have a seating choice. If you win seats in the ticket lotto you do.
    The Wilpon’s have ruined something that has been a passion for me and my wife. Rising prices and one-sided loyalties, greed and that good old elitest attitude that ruin everything good in a city destine to decline. Most of the Plan Holders I spoke to over the past few home games have declined post season tickets, and about 50/50 will not renew thier plans next year if there is no change in the Wilpon loyality to money, instead of the fans.
    This is the worst blight for fans since the strikes.
    Once again the fans pay in every way for the greed of owners.

  7. George Costa says:

    Why is Fred Wilpon so cheap. Mets cut Glavine,Valentin,Green, LoDuca,…27 million cut off the payroll, while the Yanks increase the payroll like its nothing… Cheap Cheap Cheap Freddie Coupons!!!!!!

  8. George Costa says:

    Nice Cheap pitcher Fred just got from Tampa Bay today 112807. His ERA was 7.07 in 007 He is nice and cheap and can spot start.

  9. George Costa says:

    Why are the Mets cheap when it comes to stars?

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