3/18/09

The Shame of the Citi - Mike McGann

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It’s not surprising that people are angry. The financial meltdown has exposed the extent of greed and short-term thinking and the basic “screw-you” mentality of business in general. You’ve probably seen the furor over the millions of bonuses paid out to AIG executives -- some of whom were responsible for the meltdown of the company.

So what, exactly, does this have to do with baseball, and more specifically, the Mets? Another Bernie Madoff screed? Nope (although, after reading this, you may want to buy yourself a “I Heart Bernie” t-shirt). It’s the greed of the Wilpons.

Now, this isn’t another “Freddy Coupons” rant -- I have no complaint about the Mets’ payroll. No, this is about a team in new stadium, financed by public subsidized bonds and local improvements, located on public ground with ticket prices that out-and-out gouge fans.

Now, look, it’s no surprise to anyone that CitiField tickets are going to more expensive than those at the dear, departed Shea Stadium, but the extent of the price hike is startling. While having a normal suburban dad moment, trying to figure out when I could take my kids as promised out to the new park, I started pricing tickets. I was stunned.

The pricing is insane. For a gold game, in this case, a Monday afternoon game to see the Mets host the Phillies, field level seats beyond the dugout, 20 or 30 rows off the field are $180 each. That same ticket, by the way, 90 miles away at the home the World Champions -- and in an equally nice park -- is just $60. Even outfield seats on the lower level are $60, those same seats at Citizens Bank Park are $30.


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