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.