New York Mets fans have had enough of the Wilpon Family ownership of their team. Fans who attended the team’s home opener yesterday were greeted by billboards outside of Citi Field which call on the Wilpons to sell the team.
One says “FRED, JEFF & SAUL Ya gotta leave.” This is a play on the famous saying coined in 1973 by Mets reliever Tug McGraw “You Gotta Believe” which referred to the Mets surprise comeback to win the division title that year. A second one simply says, “Sell the Team.” They are located on Roosevelt Ave along the 7 train subway elevated tracks.
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A Mets fan named Gary Palumbo raised $6.700 in a Kickstarter campaign to pay for the signs which will remain until May 1st.
Mets fans put the Blame for their team’s woes in recent years squarely on the shoulders of Fred Wilpon. They have long decried what they perceive as a dysfunctional team management while they watched the cross town rival Yankees have more than 20 straight winning seasons with what appears to be a well-oiled machine for management.
Wilpon was embroiled in the whole Bernie Madoff controversy a few years ago. He took his money out of Madoff’s fund before the pyramid scheme collapsed leading many to believe that he was complicit in the fraud. Federal officials forced Wilpon to pay out more than $100 million in compensation to Madoff’s victims.
His personal financial woes, Mets fans believe, caused Wilpon to be too frugal on spending in salaries for Mets players.
As Palumbo told ESPN, “They asked us to be patient through the Madoff issue and to let them go through their rebuilding process, and then they said when the time was ready, they were going to reinvest back into the team and get it ready for competitiveness.”
“That was supposed to be last year, but with the Harvey injury, that kind of set everything back. … The Wilpons are still not financially capable of doing what needs to be done for the long-term best of the team.”
The good news for Mets fans was that they won their home opener yesterday 2-0 over the Phillies.
About the win Wilpon told the New York Post, “I’m excited about this team and I’m hopeful. One doesn’t know — we’ve all been around a long time — but the fact is I like the guys on this team. I think there is a lot of talent and I think there is a lot of character.”