Shea it Ain’t So.

Even in name, Shea must stay buried.

Talk about piling on. The New York Times has been relentless over the past two weeks in pursuing the  toxic financial situation involving Mets ownership and its tangled, mangled web with Bernie Madoff. But today, they went  a bit too far, courtesy of Clyde Haberman,  who took aim Citi Field. By “clinging to the Citi name, the Mets are saying they have no qualms about identifying themselves with a central player in one of the biggest financial debacles in the country’s history,” Haberman spouted.  

Yes, Clyde, that’s what they’re saying. And guess what? So would you if you were awash in gobs of debt and staring at the likelihood of forking over hundreds of millions of dollars to Madoff’s trustee — which would possibly lead to your relinquishing controlling interest in the team.    

This squawking about the Mets taking blood money from Citi has persisted for two years. Enough already. The Mets have  a deal with Citi to the tune of $400 million.  I don’t care if you’ve been bilked by Madoff or are swimming in cash, you don’t just walk away from a golden trough like that. Guilt by association goes out the window  when your debt service is more than most mid-size countries. Haberman drones on by saying that the city of New York “cannot compel the team and Citigroup to agree to a divorce, amicable or otherwise, but as the Mets’ landlord, the city could lean awfully hard.”  What the heck for? So they could drive the Mets out of business??   How would that be in the best interests of the city or the team?   Mayor Bloomberg should be  lot more embarrassed about snow removal, potholes the size of lunar craters, and Cathie Black’s potty-mouth than he is about the Mets and Citi.   

Haberman even goes so far as to suggest the Mets should bring back the Shea Stadium name.  With all due respect to the late, great Big Shea, where I spent 40 wonderful years as a Mets fan (I even own a chunk of the old dump. I keep it in  a corner of my office), but Shea is now a parking lot for a reason. It had its day and now is but a memory.  A nice memory, but one devoid of charm and filled with poor sightlines, filthy bathrooms, lousy food, rude staff, locust-like swarms of hot dog wrappers — should I continue? There are many reasons that Citi Field is a huge upgrade, starting with the fact that it is not Shea Stadium.      

I’m not carrying the torch or shedding tears for the Wilpons nor am I excusing Citi for its role in the economic turmoil we’ve faced in recent years. But this is no time for grand and sanctimonious public relations maneuvers. Separating themselves from Citi makes no business sense for the Mets. Their affiliation with Citi has not cost the Mets fans (only their dispiriting on-field and often scandalous off field performance can be blamed) nor sponsors. And considering the perilous financial  and legal situation face by the Wilpons, they should cling to their ballpark entitlement deal even if it was BP whose named graced the sides of their faux monument to Ebbets Field.

The only deal the Mets should be extricating themselves from is the one with Ollie Perez. Now THAT would be a good business decision!

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