This offseason I've enjoyed the Mets' frugality. The Mets act as if they don't have all the same advantages as the Yankees. New stadium (check). Their own TV network (check). New York City area (check). They do. They still might be No. 2, and always will be, just like the Jets will never be the Giants, the Islanders will never be the Rangers, and the Nets will never be the Knicks. All of that is fine, but they don't need to act like they're the Kansas City Royals, and should have taken a look at someone like CC Sabathia.
I find Mets fans are generally frustrated that nothing is changing with this team. The loss of Billy Wagner and the acquisition of K-Rod is a wash really, so the team is as good as it was going in to August 2008, and in the same division as a team that outplayed them two years in a row, and you'd have to assume that means second place again in 2009.
Yes, 30 blown saves (or whatever it was) don't help matters. But the Mets still need two starting pitchers, a second baseman, a real catcher, and a left fielder (yes, I want to believe in Dan Murphy, but I also wanted to believe in Keith Miller and Rico Brogna).
I spent a few days trying to find real numbers to show what a small market Queens is and thought they are hard to come by but I did find a few tidbits.
Sports Business Journal says the Yankees—on the YES Network—reached 312,000 households, the Red Sox 242,000, and the Mets 239,000. Comparatively 29,000 households check out the Orioles and a measly 8,000 the Nationals. So, a few more people watch the Yankees. However, if you play the now-dreaded "meaningful games in September" you can get over 800,000 viewers to tune in. (Memo to Fred Wilpon—let's change the goal to meaningful games in October).
(Taxpayer)field has 45,000 seats. New Yankee Stadium has 51,000. Someone with more time than I have can multiply the seats by pricing and come up with revenue numbers. At first glance, maybe the Yankees have a few more bucks (although who told the Mets to build a smaller stadium?). In 2008, the Yankees averaged 53,069 per game for a season attendance of almost 4.3 million. The Mets were No. 2 with 51,165 and 4 million (source ).
The Mets shouldn't blame the Yankees for the fact that they will choose to sell 6,000 fewer seats 81 times when Citi Field opens. Division rival Philadelphia placed fifth in those aforementioned attendance figures, and those Red Sox—who are having such a great century so far—somehow manage their lofty payroll with their 37,000 fans per game.
In 2008, Forbes Magazine valued the Mets franchise at $823 million. (source). The same publication valued the Yankees at $1.306 billion. For comparison, Boston was valued at $816 million and the World Champion Phillies at $481 million as of last April.
Without a doubt, the Mets have the money. They just charged me a $40 "order charge" on my ticket plan because someone needs to stuff an envelope (and send it to me, for which I paid a $25 delivery charge). Mine are just two tickets of the 45,000 that the new Citi Field holds. Let's assume the Mets sell out 80 percent of their games this year. Can we all assume they'll sell tickets to 36,000 people like me between all the partial plans, and we all buy two tickets? That alone is $720,000 in order fees and I'm being very generous with the math. Also don't forget your $20 million in taxpayer money being used to advertise a bank. They have that too.
We all hate agents like Scott Boras, but we need pitchers, and he has them. Get Derek Lowe and Oliver Perez in here. You have the money. Two years of choking has been awful. A new stadium is time for a new culture: winning.