Photo: New York Mets fans rent billboard near Citi-Field urging owners to sell
The New York Mets have just four playoff appearances in the past 29 years. Their last World Series appearance was 15 years ago, their last World Series championship was 30 seasons ago. In the meantime, their cross-borough rival New York Yankees have won five World Series titles with seven American League pennants. Fans of the Mets have had it. And they’re taking their case to the people by renting billboards to try and coerce the Mets owners (father/son Fred and Jeff Wilpon with Saul Katz) to sell.
The campaign started in Port St. Lucie, the Grapefruit League Home of the Mets and hasn’t let up (see their MetsBillboard.com for more information). Fred Wilpon first bought a 50% share of the Mets after the championship 1986 season. The team which seemed stacked for several postseason runs made just one postseason before the team was broken up. By 2002, he and his partnership (including family Jeff and Saul) bought out the other owner for full ownership. Another scar on the Wilpon ownership was the Bernie Madoff financial scandal, in which Fred Wilpon was rumored to have lost nine figures (maybe 10) in the scheme. This fueled rumors that he would have to cut back on investing in a competitive team. They’ve maintained a relatively robust payroll and a new stadium, but success on the field has been limited. But with dueling aces Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey and an improving lineup, experts are predicting they will be in the playoff mix in 2015. Will fans be patient enough to wait? Or will they continue the pitchfork rally to oust the Wilpon ownership group? Time will tell.
– David Whitlock
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