After reading The Queens Courier’s exclusive front cover story last week about the Mets possibly eliminating some discount tickets for Little Leaguers, as well as a parade on the field, Queens State Senator Frank Padavan is urging the Mets to reconsider.
Padavan, who represents areas in northeast Queens and has sponsored many Bayside Little League teams during his long tenure as a legislator, wrote a letter to Mets CEO Fred Wilpon urging the organization to allow the leagues to continue their tradition at the new Citi Field.
“Some things transcend dollars and cents,” Padavan wrote in his letter. “Mr. Wilpon, I urge you to think of the youngsters who for years have enjoyed a day at the ballpark with their friends, teammates, coaches and parents and reconsider and do the right thing for the children. It’s a rite of passage that will leave a lifetime of memories.”
For the past four years, Little Leagues throughout the borough including Bayside, College Point, Glen Oaks, Fresh Meadows and Little Neck-Douglaston have participated in a special day at Shea Stadium where they purchased 1,200 discounted tickets from the Mets and got to lead a parade on the warning track of the field prior to the game. However, with the Mets moving into Citi Field – a ballpark with 15,000 fewer seats than Shea Stadium – it is more difficult to accommodate large groups.
Bayside Little League President Bob Reid said he spoke to a Mets representative on Tuesday, April 1, and they are still negotiating many details about the day including how many seats they can purchase, whether they would receive a discount and have the ability to have a parade on the field. There is talk of possibly moving the event to a weekday night, but it is still unclear whether the group would receive discount tickets or get to have the parade, according to Reid. A Mets spokesperson said discussions are ongoing.
Meanwhile, in his letter, Padavan said he hopes there is a quick resolution to the issue where the kids can continue to enjoy their special day.
“In light of the fact that the New York Mets organization enjoys generous tax breaks and subsidies from the state and the city that helped finance and build Citi Field, I believe like many others, that it is imperative that you give something back to the Queens community,” Padavan wrote. “Maintaining your commitment and providing the full and adequate amount of discounted tickets to area Little Leagues is a step in the right direction.”