Mets owners reportedly looking to build casino next to Citi Field

Fred WilponThe New York Mets owners are in such financial trouble they are looking to build a casino next to Citi Field, the New York Post reports.

The Post says the Mets’ development company, Sterling Equities, submitted plans to build a massive casino and hotel on the Willets Point development site in Queens, adjacent to Citi Field.

Live table gaming is illegal in New York except on tribal land, but the Mets reportedly are hoping some alternative plans might help their case. They reportedly have an agreement for the Shinnecock Indiana Nation to operate the proposed casino, and they are hoping the state legislature approves a constitutional amendment to legalize table gaming.

The team’s casino proposal reportedly was put forth in September 2011, about two and a half years after Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors an estimated $18 billion. The Mets owners insisted they were not in financial trouble despite being investors in Madoff’s company, though they were looking to take on minority owners in past years in order to raise funds.

The Mets were awarded 23 of 62 acres for the city-owned property and currently use it for parking. The city may not approve use of the land for a casino, but it’s notable that the Mets owners were attempting to do this.

As if Fred Wilpon (pictured) and Saul Katz were not getting enough money from fans by charging $7 hot dogs, $10 beers, and $100 tickets, they want to stick it to you at the blackjack table too. Real classy, fellas.

R.A. Dickey writes a heartfelt farewell letter to Mets and their fans

Professional baseball may be nothing more than a business to certain players, coaches and ownership groups, but it seems safe to say it means a bit more to NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey. The knuckleballer bounced around from team to team during his nine-year MLB career, but the New York Mets were the first one to give him a chance to prove himself as a full-time starter. It’s safe to say Dickey exceeded expectations.

In three seasons with New York, Dickey compiled a 39-28 record and an impressive 2.95 ERA. He struck out 230 hitters last season and made his first All-Star appearance at the age of 37. The Mets traded the right-hander to the Toronto Blue Jays last week, which inspired Dickey to write a heartfelt letter for the NY Daily News thanking his former team and the fans of New York. Here is a sample:

I never expected to be writing a farewell “holiday card” to Mets fans. I never expected to be doing anything but celebrating the joy of the season with my wife and kids and looking toward the spring, and the start of my fourth season with an organization that gave me maybe the greatest gift an athlete can get:

A chance.

A chance for a fresh start. A chance to prove that maybe I could be somebody on a big league mound, an authentic and trustworthy pitcher, not just a retread with a weird name and an even weirder pitch — a man who was so in need of financial stability that he had to get talked out of taking a guaranteed contract to go pitch in Korea.

The entire thing is worth a read, especially for those of you who think professional athletes only care about money. We have seen star players and popular general managers take out full-page ads thanking the fans, but very few put the type of effort into it that Dickey put into his piece. Kudos to the veteran for finding a way to genuinely express his appreciation.

H/T SI Hot Clicks
Photo credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Cheap Mets try to make it look like they spent big on David Wright when they didn’t

News broke early Friday morning that the New York Mets and David Wright agreed to terms on a 7-year contract extension. Wright is one of the best third basemen in baseball, so it’s wise of the Mets to keep him. But there’s one aspect of the agreement that is intentionally misleading. Don’t fall for the PR game.

If you look at the way the contract is being reported by WFAN’s Ed Coleman — who works for the team’s flagship radio station — what’s being highlighted is that the Mets are making Wright the highest-paid player in franchise history. They’re doing that because the Mets want people to think that they are still a financially sound club that is willing to spend big money, even though they’re not.

The truth, if Ed Coleman’s report for WFAN is to be believed, is that the Mets are giving Wright a seven-year extension for $122 million. Smart outlets are reporting the contract that way, because that’s what it is. Those falling for the Mets’ trick are calling it the “richest in team history,” or some variation of that phrase. If Wright is taking that contract, then he is agreeing to a below-market deal. Are you telling me Wright couldn’t get $150 million on the free agent market? I’ve got one answer for you: Do the Dodgers need a third baseman?

The only way Wright’s new 7-year, $122 million deal tops Johan Santana’s 6-year, $137.5 million deal is if you add in the $16 million Wright was already scheduled to make next season. The Mets are only giving him $122 million more in NEW guaranteed money. His contract falls short of Santana’s on an average annual salary basis, which means he’s not the highest-paid player on the team.

And how cheap are the Mets? They only beat Santana’s contract by a half-million dollars.

Again, this is all based on the contract details reported by WFAN. If their report proves to be inaccurate, I will apologize. Until then, don’t believe the spin on the deal; the Mets are not the big spenders they’d like you to believe they are.

Miguel Batista: Mets are the best team in baseball, better than the Nationals

If records mean anything to you, you probably don’t think the Mets are the best team in baseball. Or the second best, or the third best, or the…you get the point. New York is eight games behind the Nationals in the NL East. They are 4.5 games behind the second-place Braves. Currently amidst a brutal six-game losing streak, the Mets desperately need to avoid a sweep against Washington on Thursday night if they want to remain in the Wild Card chase. Despite their recent struggles, reliever Miguel Batista’s confidence remains sky high.

“Right now (the Nationals are) playing good baseball, but I don’t believe they’re a better team than us,” Batista told reporters after Wednesday’s loss. “They’re playing great baseball. But better team? I believe we’re the better team. We just have to play as we’re supposed to. Every team goes through a bad stretch, from the greatest to the worst.

“I remember I told (manager Terry Collins) two month ago: ‘I haven’t seen a team better than us.’ … We just have to believe how good we are and just go out there and perform. I believe we are the best team in baseball. We just have to play like one. That’s what we’re not doing.”

And now, for a return to reality. It’s nice that Batista still has confidence in his club, but the Mets are currently only a game above .500. Meanwhile, the Nationals seem to keep getting better. It’s starting to look like New York’s only shot at avoiding another missed postseason is a one-game playoff at the end of the year, and even that is slipping away. Maybe the Mets need to take a page out of the Batista Book of False Hope. Otherwise, their season could be over before they know it.

H/T DC Sports Bog
Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

R.A. Dickey gets photobombed by an unidentified Mets player’s penis (Picture)

In wake of Johan Santana’s historic no-hitter Friday night, Mets flagship network SNY was interviewing R.A. Dickey when one brazen Mets player, either headed to the showers or from them (it doesn’t matter), infiltrated the background of the shot, exposing that player’s own “R.A. Dickey” to millions in the New York metro area and nationwide via satellite (NSFW picture here). It’s not clear who said nudist is, but we’re guessing he won’t be getting Greg Oden’s sloppy seconds.

H/T @Joseph_Laura via Jimmy Traina

Mets wear NHL hockey jerseys on their visit to Toronto (Video)

With Toronto being in the American League and the only team from Canada in Major League Baseball, players on National League squads rarely get an opportunity to travel north of the border during the regular season. This weekend, the Mets are visiting the Blue Jays. Terry Collins and company wanted to make the most of traveling to hockey country, so the team decided to wear NHL jerseys of their choice.

“We like to have some fun in New York and for me the Stanley Cup Playoffs are the ultimate of the hockey season,” Collins explained. “We’ve got a lot of hockey fans on our club and in spring training we talked about taking theme trips. One of the guys said ‘Hey let’s take a hockey trip when we go to Canada.’ I told all the players to pick a team and we went to the NHL store and got the jerseys. You’ll see a variety of jerseys when they get off that bus.”

The team indeed brought a variety, including a Whalers jersey from Jason Bay. Bay, who is from Canada, said he grew up a Canucks fan but wanted to do something throwback. Somebody had to be that guy. The Mets have a long way to go if they want to catch up to the Rays and their crazy jackets or classy sweaters, but the hockey theme is a nice place to start.

H/T Eye on Hockey

Mets players use Beastie Boys songs as at-bat music (Video)

As you have probably heard by now, the music injury lost a legend on Friday with the passing of Adam Yauch. Yauch, who went under the stage name MCA, was a member and founder of the famous hip-hop group the Beastie Boys. He had been battling cancer since 2009.

With their most popular days having come in the 1980s and early 1990s, there are likely a lot of players currently in Major League Baseball who grew up listening to the unique sounds of the Beastie Boys and watching their whacky music videos. As you can see from the video above, the Mets decided to pay tribute to Yauch during their game against the D-Backs on Friday by using Beastie Boys songs as their at-bat music. It was a nice gesture from the team to honor a musician that probably influenced the middle school wardrobe of a Mets player or two.