There is more optimism surrounding the New York Mets than there has been in a few years, but many fans remain unhappy with the team’s management. As a sign of their displeasure, one group of fans who root for the Mets has paid for two billboards outside of Citi Field, in order to voice their displeasure.
The billboards are both 10½ feet by 22¾ feet, and they're prominently displayed along the tracks of the No.7 train. Nearly impossible to miss, the signs make no mistake that they want owners Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz to sell the team.
"FRED, JEFF & SAUL, Ya gotta leave" reads one billboard. The other is straight to the point, reading "Sell the team" next to a picture of Mr. Met.
A 39-year-old Mets fan from New London, New Hampshire, is responsible for the two signs. Gary Palumbo raised $6,700 on Kickstarter to put up the billboards, receiving donations from 250 people.
"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," Palumbo said, via the Associated Press. "That was supposed to be last year, but with the Harvey injury, that kind of set everything back. And so once we went into this offseason and they signed [Michael] Cuddyer and then did nothing else, that was really the tipping point for me. That demonstrated that the Wilpons are still not financially capable of doing what needs to be done for the long-term best of the team."
Fred Wilpon became co-owner of the Mets in 1986, the year the team won their second World Series in franchise history. The team hasn’t won a title since, missing the playoffs in 24 of the next 28 seasons. New York hasn’t finished above .500 since 2008, and the ownership’s spending has played a seemingly important role.
Soon after Fred Wilpon lost millions in a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, the team’s payroll saw a significant decrease. After spending more than $142 million on the team in 2011, New York’s payroll was less than $95 million on the following Opening Day. Three years later, the team’s payroll of less than $106 million ranks just 19th in MLB. The New York Yankees are second with a payroll of over $216 million.
A year ago, there was a report that Katz, Fred Wilpon’s brother-in-law, was looking to sell his share of the team. Katz, however, denied the report.
The Mets aren’t a World Series favorite in 2015, but they are expected to be better than they have been in recent seasons. Their projected win total of 82 wins would be a three-victory improvement from last year, and eight wins better than their record in 2013 and 2012.