Shea Stadium Down, Citi Field Up

As ad hoc groups of Met fans sojourn at the skeletal remains of their beloved Shea Stadium, many are wondering where they’ll say the first game will be played, when the new field opens with an exhibition game against Boston Red Sox on April 3.
The current economic earthquake has shaken the entire banking industry to its foundations. Now that it is receiving federal bailout money, there are calls for financial giant Citi to back out of the “Citi Field” stadium-naming deal with the New York Mets.
A bipartisan team of U.S. Congressmembers - Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Republican Ted Poe of Texas - have demanded that every cent of $45 billion in federal aid and $300 billion in loan guarantees be withdrawn unless Citibank “dissolve(s) the agreement they have with the New York Mets.”
That kind of pressure sits just fine with legions of Met fans.
Among those who made the most recent pilgrimage to the rapidly disappearing Queens icon, on a frigid Super Sunday, February 1, there was strong sentiment against the modern craze of corporate naming.
As they climbed atop pipes and piles of dirt for a long, last glimpse before the last sections of the grandstands are pulverized, torched and hauled away, fans pointed toward the new ballpark and set a goal to “get that sign down,” referring to the Citi logo and Citi Field name.
Despite published reports that the troubled bank is “trying to back out” of the deal, on Tuesday, February 3, both parties issued statements declaring that the naming rights contract remains in place.
Mets officials said that, “In conversations this morning, Citi reinforced that they will honor our legally binding agreement,” while Citi said it was “committed to the deal and that none of the bailout money it is receiving from the federal government will be used for the stadium deal,” according to published reports.
Met fans are hoping for a name somewhat more, rather than less dignified in a baseball sense, when the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club begins a new chapter in its history when play commences for the 2009 season.

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