Mets Sandy Alderson Talks to Fans

Sandy Alderson crop
The truck left Citi Field today packed with equipment for spring training. Pitchers and catchers report in 11 days. I’m ready for some spring training games – I love this time of year.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke to fans gathered to see the truck leave and addressed some important topics from the offseason:

  • Jay Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Swarzak, and Jose Reyes signings bring the Mets payroll to $137M currently
  • The Mets are still looking for infield help and Neil Walker, Eduardo Nunez, and Todd Frazier are still in play
  • Mike Moustakas doesn’t appear to be a fit for the Mets because of cost, loss of a draft pick and international signing money
  • Asdrubal Cabrera wanting to play second base opens up some new options for the Mets to consider filling a hole at third base instead of second

Mets 2012 Home Attendance Down Again

English: Citi Field during the day

English: Citi Field during the day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surprise!!! Attendance at Citi Field was down again. Home attendance has been dropping steadily since the Mets moved into Citi Field in 2009. They went from 3.1 million tickets sold to 2.5 (2010), to 2.3 (2011), and now bottoming out at 2.2 million.

If you’ve been to a game this year, you know that they didn’t have the 27,000+ average tickets sold in the park. It was a ghost town unless R.A. Dickey or Johan Santana were pitching.

33% of the available tickets went unsold this year despite the team’s aggressive marketing tactics (you know what I mean if you’re on their email list). And they reduced ticket prices this season… Again.

Maybe the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson might start to get the idea that they need to win some games to sell tickets. That would be a novel idea.

Mets Attendance Down in 2012

Citi Field with Shea Stadium's Home Run Apple
Citi Field with Shea Stadium's Home Run Apple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to ESPN stats, attendance at Citi Field is down about 10% in 2012 through the first 19 home games. The Mets are averaging 27,683 paid per game. They finished 2011 averaging 30,108 in a park with a capacity of 42,000.

The Mets finished 2011 averaging 14th in MLB in home attendance. So far in 2012, they’ve slipped to 16th in the league.

Of course, much of attendance can be attributed to on-field performance. But the Mets have surprised early this season tied for third in the NL East and attendance is still slipping. The visiting opponents have a lot to do with interest in buying tickets as well. So far, the Mets have hosted the Braves, Nationals, Giants, Marlins, D-Backs, Brewers, and Reds.

The backlash against the Wilpons for the Madoff Ponzi scheme lawsuit also has something to do with fans staying away from Citi Field in my opinion. Allowing Jose Reyes to walk away in free agency because of related financial constraints didn’t help sway ticket buyers either.

It’ll be interesting to watch how attendance fluctuates this season. My guess is that the average game attendance continues to slide as the Mets begin to gravitate toward their predicted finish of an under-.500 team.

Mets Avoid Default on Citi Field Bond Payment

English: Citi Field at Night
Image via Wikipedia

A report by Forbes details the Mets bridge loan from Bank of America and how it was used to pay the debt payment on bonds that financed Citi Field. I wrote about the bridge loan on Monday and the story for the Mets gets worse as more details emerge. The Mets partially funded Citi Field with $547 million of tax-exempt bonds. A payment was due last month for $43.8 million and the Mets didn’t have the money to pay.

The holding company for the bonds, Ambac Assurance Company, had promised to pay the debt payments if the Mets defaulted. But Ambac went belly up in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy. So the Mets defaulting on the debt payment would have left the bond holders with nothing to show for their investment in the team.

The Mets still have payments coming due of $32 million in each of 2013 and 2014. So there’s still a chance they could default. But the Mets are planning to use the $40 million bridge loan to tide them over until they can sell pieces of the team to “small” investors in hopes of raising $200 million.

It’s a sad state of affairs for the Mets. Hopefully, it won’t end in bankruptcy court like the Dodgers and Rangers did recently. In the meantime, we’re the ones left holding the bag with a team that doesn’t appear to have a chance of a winning record in 2012.

Mets 2012 Uniform Changes

Tom Seaver and Tug McGraw Jerseys at Mets Hall...
Image by slgckgc via Flickr

The Mets are following on the heels of the new Miami Marlins’ uniforms with some changes of their own to the uniform. ESPN is reporting that the Mets will hold a press conference on Tuesday to display the changes. The word is that the Mets are going retro for their 50th anniversary in 2012 and that they’re going to reduce the black used.

I won’t complain about either change. The Mets have had problems embracing their past, most notably when Citi Field opened and the Mets forgot to include any team memorabilia or images in the park. So switching to a retro look of pinstripe with “Mets” on the front and no black shadows is fine with me. Also, reducing the use of the black alternate uniforms is a solid choice at this point. They’ve over-utilized the black uniform to the point that I forgot that it was the alternate it was used so often.

Brian Erni from MetsBlogalso reports that David Wright, Ike Davis, and Lucas Duda will be at the press conference. Presumably, they’ll be there to model the retro look uniforms. It’s interesting that Wright will be continuing to do everything the Mets ask of him despite the trade talk that’s been in the news this offseason. It would certainly be awkward if the was traded in the near future after attending a press conference on behalf of the team.

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Mets September 11, 2011 Game

I was at at the Mets-Cubs game last night with my father and I wanted to share a few images with you. As you know, it was another disappointing loss in a season filled with them so far. But the pre-game ceremony was more than worth the price of admission. The crowd was sparse as you would expect at this point in the season without playoff hopes. And the Cubs aren’t exactly a draw either.

There were representatives from pretty much every city service agency on the field before the game along with the kids from Tuesday’s Children. The NYPD and FDNY bagpipers and drummers were marching in a stirring ceremony that was filled with emotion. Continue reading “Mets September 11, 2011 Game”