Time for Mets to Perform Their Own Bailout and Save 53,000 Jobs

Tab BamfordSenior Writer INovember 20, 2008

Author's note: It is not my intention to drag B/R into any political or financial loyalties by writing this article.

There has been a great deal of press given to how poor the economic situation is in this country. There have been countless stories and television reports done describing the questionable spending habits of corporations while their bottom lines continue to fade. This is not a story of economics. This is a story of a baseball team truly helping their community and, indeed, the country.

I personally take issue with CEOs taking a huge salary if a company is failing, but that's not what I'm writing about today. If companies profits fall, that happens. If stock prices come down, that happens. When people lose their jobs, I can see how that could happen as well. But if a third party can directly control the well being and potential loss of employment for a larger group of people, I firmly believe it should be done.

Right now in Washington, legislators are arguing about whether or not they should bailout the auto industry, and which banks should get how much money to cover a decade of poor decisions and rip offs. I am writing today to ask the New York Mets to perform their own bailout package.

As you can see in the photo (in this case artwork) for this story, the new stadium for the Mets is named Citi Field. It is to be a gorgeous, $600 million facility with all the bells and whistles that New York expects from its venues. A large portion of the park's construction will be paid for by tax-exempt bonds issued by the city ($444 million and change), while the city and state would be on the hook for approximately $268 million over the next 40 years. My issues isn't with how the team is financing the building of the stadium.

My issue is this: Citicorp recently announced that, because of sagging profits, they will be relieving approximately 53,000 of their jobs. And yet their name will stay on a stadium that only seats 45,000. Does anyone else see the irony in that statement? A brand new major league baseball stadium seats fewer people than the sponsor plans to fire because the company can't afford their salaries any more?

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Citi is contracted to pay $20 million annually for the next 20 years to have their pretty logo on the marquee of the stadium.

My question: Could that $20 million save some, if not all, of those 53,000 jobs?

My response: I am calling on the New York Mets to provide ethics by force to Citicorp. Do not take their $20 million. Hand them their check back and implore them to do the right thing by keeping as many of those 53,000 people on board as they can. I am sure that there are dozens of companies that are financially sound enough to afford that size a contract to have their logo on the only corporately sponsored major stadium in New York.

We have enough problems in this country right now, and we have a lot of smart people trying to find ways to get jobs for millions of people in need. If a baseball team could step up to the plate and defend some people staring down the barrel of an unemployment line, isn't that what America is about?