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MLS set and ready to “boost the MLB coffers” with move into Citi Field – except, not really

Jan 4, 2013, 2:45 PM EDT

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Some stories are so silly that I need some time, and maybe even a second or third cup of coffee, to get my arms fully around it. They look so out of place that I need some extra minutes or hours to ensure I have not missed something – or to determine whether I’m having a Back to the Future moment, where I’ve somehow slipped back in time.

This morning we saw a story out of New York that says baseball’s New York Mets are interested in bringing an MLS team to Citi Field.

Well, isn’t that special? Personally, I thought we were past the time in Major League Soccer where NFL teams or MLB clubs thoughtfully and graciously propose that one of those cute little professional soccer clubs take advantage of their fine facilities. “I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we get a soccer team in here to fill some dates. I mean … there’s a soccer league here, right?”

I shake my head.

This is a little bit like me saying I have some interest in dating one of the darlins from Indie music group Those Darlins. Perhaps (and, truly, this a ginormous “perhaps”) there was a time in the past when this might have been possible.

But that horse is way, way out of the barn.  Now it doesn’t make sense for about 117 different reasons – not the least of which is that I am absolutely positive none of them want to have a thing to do with me.

So why would I ever consider getting the word out that I might be interested in one of them? Great question.

And yet, here you go. According to this story: “The Mets are ‘very interested and fully capable’ of bringing Major League Soccer to Citi Field, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) announced Thursday.”

Right. Except for that part about actually landing a team. Because that’s not really their call. It may come as some surprise to a local politician, but the Mets (or anyone else beyond the MLS board of governors) don’t get to say who joins or doesn’t join MLS.

This is just local politics, I suppose. It’s someone saying something to local press to look like they are standing up for local constituency.  I guess.  But it generally demonstrates an ignorance of a situation … not to mention a certain amount of disrespect for MLS.

An MLS spokesperson (someone who works as a special PR consultant on the league’s ongoing efforts to build a stadium and add a team in Queens) says in the piece that the idea is a “non-starter.”

According to the story, “The move would boost the baseball team’s coffers and eliminate potential competition from a $300 million MLS soccer stadium proposed for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.”

Yes, because what Major League Soccer is most concerned about is “boosting the baseball’s teams coffers.” I am sure that if I were to sit and have a delicious café latte today with MLS commissioner Don Garber, one of the first items on our “chat list” would be how MLS can best add money into a sport that has a 100-plus year head start in generating U.S. fan interest.

What MLS really is interested in: developing that 25,000-seat stadium at the eastern end of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and then identifying the right group of soccer backers who want to own Major League Soccer’s 20th franchise.

That is the venue that makes sense for MLS. And what makes sense for MLS (certainly in conjunction with community interests and concerns) is where this story starts and stops.

  1. charliej11 - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    First of all aren’t the Mets are struggling financially ?

    Second, they can structure it so they are independent and it works very nicely. See the Seahawks and Sounders, overlaping ownership, share a stadium, share support staff, etc, Works very nicely. If this isn’t that, then forget it, MLS can and will do better.

    Third, please do NOT let NY be the 20th team, 23rd maybe. Is MLS not going to expand until 2016, after adding a team or teams for many years prior ? That would be a shame, the money is there, waiting to be invested. Fans want teams. IF you are going to have that low of a salary cap, then make it because many teams need it that way, not 19 teams with a ton of money coming in. IF it is 19 with a ton of money raise the cap.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Well, I’m afraid you are trying to put ketchup back in the bottle on “NY as No. 20.” MLS wants it. Badly. We can debate about whether that’s best for all … but I’m pretty sure its gonna happen.

  2. number2shirt - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Note the caption on the picture … “City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., who is running for Queens Borough President”

    There’s your motivation for the ridiculous comments.

  3. jpan007 - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    This proposition from the Mets is just a win for the Mets and opponets of the NY2 stadium
    .

    • joeyt360 - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:24 AM

      Right. It’s a red herring meant to rouse up NIMBYist opposition to a stadium they don’t get a piece of (amazing how much more they liked the idea when they figured to own the thing). As such, the reason why it exists is that it sounds plausible to neighborhood activists who know nothing about the logistics involved (and frankly don’t want to).

  4. knowyrproduct - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Personally, I thought we were past the time in Major League Soccer where NFL teams or MLB clubs thoughtfully and graciously propose that one of those cute, little professional soccer clubs take advantage of their fine facilities. “I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we get a soccer team in here to fill some dates. I mean … there’s a soccer league here, right?”

    You’d be right, except in up here in New England where that’s pretty much ol’ Bobby K’s attitude.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Fair point. I do stand corrected! (Although that is a whole other, and rather sizable, jar of New England pickles, isn’t it?)

      • knowyrproduct - Jan 5, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        It is- when are we are we going to get a story about it?

  5. danielofthedale - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Playing in NFL stadiums, while not ideal are still 100% full covered with grass/field turf. That whole dirt covered bath path thing would be much harder for soccer players and fans to get past than the caulk lines on a football field.

  6. valiantdraws - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Not to mention the fact that Sounders and Revolution only have to share those stadiums for a little while. A couple of months, and those guys only play 8 home games, and maybe a couple more if they make a deep playoff run. Baseball teams play the entire run of the MLS calendar and they play what seems like every goddamn day.

    MLS should run as far from the Mets as possible.

  7. iamjimmyjack - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Someone tell the Wilpons to shove it up their you know what

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