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Why build a new stadium when all it needs is a coat of paint?

Mike SteffanosTuesday, January 31, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

In today's Mets news roundup, our first stop brings us back to what has become a familiar subject.

Baseball Prospectus: More stadium tap-dancing
In today's Baseball Prospectus Mailbag, Neil deMause answers some e-mails regarding his views on stadium financing. As I've been on this a couple of times, I would recommend reading the following postings if you haven't already done so:
1. Major League Franchises Need to Be in Major League Cities
2. Should Mets fans feel guilty about the new stadium? (scroll down)
3. New Mailbag; More on the New Stadium (scroll down)

My primary concern with Mr. deMause's views specifically deal with some statements he has made on the MLB policy that allows teams to deduct expenses incurred in building a new stadium from the revenue sharing money that is supposed to benefit smaller market teams. In previous discussions, I referred to deMause's ridiculous statement that equated this to forcing the other teams to finance part of the stadium. Remember, this is actually locally generated revenue -- it's a reduction in the money paid to other teams. No one is taking money spent by a Houston Astros fan in their new stadium to use in New York, though I'm sure revenue sharing dollars from New York helped build their new stadium.

Mr. deMause reveals some interesting things about himself in some of his answers, especially this one (emphasis mine):

I grew up going to Shea (Sunday plan, 1971-1979, before I contracted Doug Flynn poisoning and fled to the Bronx), so I actually have a soft spot in my heart for it. But yes, it's not the most attractive stadium in the world. On the other hand, a new stadium in the parking lot isn't going to make the outfield view of Flushing any more attractive, and I doubt the affordable seats at the new place will be any closer to the action than at Shea, so I'm not overly optimistic about a new building. Remember, the last stadium pre-sold as being modeled after Ebbets Field was Milwaukee's Miller Park, and look how that turned out.

Philadelphia is actually an interesting comparison--the city and state spent a ton of money on Citizens Bank Park, and they certainly bought themselves a nicer venue than Veterans Stadium. But then, that's an awfully low bar to set. Maybe it would be more cost-effective just for New York City to spring for a paint job at Shea--hey, they could even bring back those blue-and-orange corrugated-metal dealies that used to hang on the exterior--and a pair of binoculars for every fan.

So Mr. deMause was a Mets fan who switched to the Yankees because the Mets sucked. You lost me here, sir. This interesting piece of news disqualifies you as a real baseball fan, because we all know no real fan would even consider switching to the Yankees. I have nothing but contempt for frontrunners.

But let's get past that. No Mets fan who has stuck it out with their team -- instead of going over to the dark side as Mr. deMause has done -- has any doubt that the new stadium is needed, and will be a huge upgrade to the decrepit junk pile the Mets currently call home. As a fan, I can care less whether the outfield view is more attractive, or whether the affordable seats will be any closer. I also know a paint job isn't going to do it. I'm sure you and your new buddies in the Bronx had a good laugh over that one, though.

Look, I admit that I have an agenda here. As a Mets fan -- a real fan who has stayed with this team through the Doung Flynn years and worse -- I want a new stadium to replace what might well be the worst stadium in baseball. I'm in favor of what allows this new stadium to get built. Furthermore, although he's glossed over it today, I have a strong objection to previous statements by Mr. deMause that equated the deduction of stadium expenses from revenue sharing dollars as "a clever dodge of baseball's attempts to level the playing field for low-revenue teams".

Mr. deMause has an agenda, too, which he doesn't freely admit. He's so dead-set against these new stadiums he can't even concede the need for a replacement for Shea Stadium. There are valid points to be discussed regarding use of public dollars for sports teams, but you lose me completely when you are so in love with your own narrow point of view that you gloss over anything that might conflict with it.

As far as your cheery disclosure that you dumped the Mets in favor of the Yankees -- sorry, you're just a cockroach in my eyes. (My apologies in advance to any loyal Met cockroaches offended by the comparison to Mr. deMause.)

Baseball America: Another front office change for the Mets
Matt Meyers reports on Alan Wogan, the new Mets' director of minor league operations. Wogan, who worked for Omar Minaya with the Expos, made the following statement:

I have the utmost respect for Omar and I am familiar with the way he operates and the desires he has for the minor league system, and I think that can only help. That will help in getting to know the staff quickly and help all the working relationships.

Daily News: Carlos and Carlos
Christian Red, who did a great feature on Carlos Delgado a while back, reports on a Home Run Derby in Puerto Rico that was billed as "The Battle of the Carlos," an event that raised money for the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School. Red quoted Delgado on comments by Chris Russo and others that Omar is biased towards Latin ballplayers:

I want to congratulate (Minaya) publicly, because he's done everything within his power to make that ballclub better. I read a quote that Omar said, 'All I'm trying to do is field the (best) team that I can, whether it's Latin, American, Japanese or whatever.' If we're good and we happen to be Latino, so be it.

Carlos Beltran actually beat Delgado in the competition.

Mets Daily: Jeff Keppinger
John Strubel has a nice piece on Jeff Keppinger, who has become somewhat of a forgotten man within the Mets organization.

Mets.com: Spring Training Guide
Marty Noble has a feature on the Mets web site that fans planning to attend some of spring training will find useful.

Mets Geek: Fixing the relievers
Andrew Hintz has an interesting feature on Rick Peterson's success in working with relief pitchers, and the hopes that he might be able to do something with Jorge Julio.

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