Tuesday, December 9, 2008


NEW YORK baseball fans will no doubt be glad to hear that even if they can’t afford to go to the city’s two new ballparks next season, they will still be making a significant contribution to the clubs’ welfare.

The Associated Press reports that the Yankees and Mets are asking New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city for an additional $450 million in public bonds to finance the building of their new stadiums.

The news comes at a time when the Yankees have made an offer of $140 million to one player, CC Sabathia. The Mets are already committed to paying Johan Santana $137.5 million over the next six years.

In the Yankees’ application, the club is asking for another $259m in tax-exempt bonds and $111m in taxable bonds. This is on top of the $965m in bonds already granted for the $1.3 billion new Yankee Stadium.

The Mets are requesting an additional $83m, on top of the $615m already approved for their $800m Citi Field.

The reason? Rising costs, which are far greater than predicted in 2006, notably to replace the parkland on which the new Yankee Stadium is being built and construction of the Metro-North rail station nearby.

City officials claim they will still make a net profit on the bonds and that the new ballparks have generated thousands of construction jobs.

Taxpayers taken for another $450 million

But they’re certainly providing critics of the deal with plenty of ammunition to fire back that the cost to taxpayers far outweighs the economic benefits.

In the current economic climate, when people are losing jobs through no fault of their own, this story is bound to raise eyebrows.

As a fan myself, I know just how much pleasure the Yankees and Mets bring to the community in New York and far beyond.

Baseball remains America’s favorite pastime. It’s also an “industry” that generated a record $6.5 billion in revenue this year alone.

The salaries paid to the top players are obscene, the ticket prices charged so high that the average fan can no longer attend games on a regular basis.

At a time when the U.S. Government is having to bail out the banks and car manufacturers, surely Major League Baseball – and especially the moneybags Mets and Yankees – should be told to pick up the tab.

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