Yankee Stadium Prices Illustrate Two New Yorks: The Rich One at the Game, the Other Watching at Home

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The revelations last week over beer prices in major league baseball stadiums gives us a chance to use it to illustrate what has become a central topic in this year's remarkable mayoral campaign--the city's shrinking middle class and the ever broadening economic gap between the rich and poor.

This all began when the Team Marketing Report released this year's version of a report looking at stadium costs in major league baseball. (More after the jump)

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The Sleazy Mets

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Last month, Mets GM Sandy Alderson called R.A. Dickey "one of our two core players" in the Mets organization - the other, of course, being David Wright. On Thursday, Alderson changed his tone: "It would be a little unusual to trade Cy Young winner " - everyone is assuming, rightfully so I think, that Dickey will received the honor next week. "But I can remember a time when we traded for the leading hitter in the National League [Willie McGee of the Cardinals, acquired by the Oakland A's in 1990], so it happens."

Yeah, right, it happens. It isn't because GMs are tight wads, or because they make phony comparisons like Willie McGee in 1990 to R.A. Dickey this year, or because Alderson wants to double-talk about the Mets' post-Madoff financial state compared to that of one of the lowest revenue teams in baseball, the Oakland A's.

Oh, and by the way, since you're the one who hauled out this bull shit comparison, you're the one who picked up the star player at Oakland, not the one who let him go.



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In Mets-Rays Match, Will R.A. Dickey Reach MVP Status?

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I'm trying to remember -- was last night the first time ever that Yankees fans rooted for the Mets and vice versa? The two teams helped each other out by whipping the others' division rivals, and in doing so, I think, helped give good definition of their teams' respective character.

The Mets, beating Tampa Bay 7-2, bounced back nicely from their recent slide of six losses in seven games. But I don't think that seven-game stretch was as bad as most of the press seem to think.

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Get Your Mets No-Hitter Tickets! (Actual No-Hitter Not Included)

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What is "real"?
Bummed that you missed out on history when Johan Santana (with assists from Mike Baxter and Adrian Johnson) hurled the first no-hitter in Mets history? Now you can remedy that retroactively, by buying "reprinted" tickets to Johan's no-no from the Mets website:
As a loyal Mets Fan, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to purchase tickets from this historic game to ensure you have a memento that can be passed on for generations. Your tickets will be printed on Season Ticket Holder stock.
Beginning today, Monday, June 11 at 10 AM, simply click the "Buy Your Johan No-No Tickets" button to secure a mint ticket from the milestone game. There is a 4 ticket limit per customer.


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Johan No-Shows Letterman


Mets fans are still basking in the afterglow of Johan Santana's no-hitter, among them Jon Stewart, who began Monday night's Daily Show with camera phone videos of him and his family celebrating in the stands at Citifield (see video embedded below).

About 45 minutes later David Letterman celebrated, too, with a "Top Ten Pitches Johan Santana Used During His No-Hitter." My favorite, was No. 5, "The sinking split-finger spit-knuckle curve change up." But No. 1, "The 'Thank God there's no instant replay' ball" drew a big chuckle. I wonder if Johan himself would have laughed if he had been there.


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No Need To Asterisk Santana's No-Hitter -- Despite Lousy Call

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Pause for a moment and watch some (or all) of Johan Santana's gem and savor it before moving on. Okay -- the ball Beltran hit in the 6th inning was fair. No doubt about it. Third base umpire Adrian Johnson blew the call, and his terse "No comment" after he viewed the replay says it all.

That said, until robots make all the calls in major league baseball games, the occasional a bad call is just one of the breaks. No one should talk about an asterisk being pasted to Johan's no-hitter, at least not until a committee goes back in time and reviews every no-hitter and perfect game to determine that similar calls weren't made in those games.

I thought Carlos graciously took the high road when he shrugged and said, "I thought I was fair, but it wouldn't have changed the game anyway." I also like the way SportsNet New York was stand-up about the call, replaying it several times from several angles so you could clearly see the white powder flying as the ball hit the line.

Judge for yourself by clicking here.

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How Are The Mets Only One Game Out Of First Place? No...Seriously -- How Are The Mets Only One Game Out Of First Place?

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Trying to find a hook on the Mets this year is as hard as getting a straight answer about the team's finances. Right now, as they get ready to play at Miami tonight, they are 18-13, in third place, but just one game behind the first place Nationals and a half-game behind the Braves,. They are, incredibly, 4 ½ games ahead of the last place Phillies, whom they just swept in their home park for the first time since 2006.

You'd think Mets fans would be dizzy with excitement, but most of the ones I know seem to be more like dizzy with ... well, just plain dizzy. What is going on? Is this for real? Can it last?

Almost no one is talking about the games per se, they're asking "How are they doing it?" I have an answer for that: I don't know, and if anyone else does, I wish they'd tell me.



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Mets Thief Charles Samuels Banned From Citi Field For Life

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A Queens man who's been part of the New York Mets organization for more than 30 years is officially banned from the team's ballpark for life after pleading guilty to stealing more than $2 million worth of Mets memorabilia from the franchise.

Additionally, former Mets clubhouse manager Charles Samuels, 55, was sentenced to five years probation and must pay about $80,000 in restitution to the Mets and various state and city tax agencies.

Samuels started his career with the Mets in 1976. By 1983, he was named the team's equipment manager before becoming the clubhouse manager, and ultimately its traveling secretary.



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Good News for Mets Fans: We're Just $83 Mil More in the Hole!

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And you thought losing Jose Reyes was bad.

A short time ago, U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled that Mets principal owners Fred Wilpon, the Wilpon family, and their businesses and charities must pay at least $83.3 million to the trustee -- that's Irving Picard, in case you haven't been following this for the past year and a half -- who has been trying to recover funds in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal.

That's just part of it -- and what may eventually prove to be a small part. Judge Rakoff also ruled that the two sides will go to trail March 19 over an additional $303 million that Picard is seeking, turning down a request from the Wilpons' attorneys to limit their liability to the $83 million and thus remove the need for a trial.

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Are the Mets Not Playing Kosher?

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If some can claim that Barack Obama violates religious freedom by forcing insurance companies to provide birth control, then what can we call the situation developing at Citi Field?

Yesterday, Judge Jack Weinstein tossed out a lawsuit brought by Kosher Sports against the New York Mets for prohibiting them from selling kosher hot dogs, sausages, knishes, pretzels, and peanuts from four different carts on Friday nights and Saturdays -- the Jewish Sabbath. Which means, if this holds up upon appeal, no Kosher dogs on the Mets' first Saturday home game on April 7 against the Braves. Apparently, Mets officials "at the highest levels" -- the phrase used in the Mets' press release --  are worried that the sale of kosher food on the Sabbath "undermines credulity with Sabbath-observing fans." 

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