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Mets Won't Give Little Leaguers a Break

When they played at Shea Stadium, the Mets were known for being particularly generous to youth baseball programs. They routinely offered discounted tickets, and often had Little Leaguers come out on to the outfield for a parade before or after games, making the major leagues more accessible to kids that dreamed of playing in them.

Well, according to this story from Ralph Blumenthal at the New York Times, that's definitely not the case at the new Citi Field.

Blumenthal cites two examples in particular that underscore how the lack of cheaper tickets are affecting New York little leagues. Bob Reid, the President of Bayside Little League, said he bought 1,200 $13 tickets at a $4 discount last year, a package that also allowed his Little Leaguers access to the field for a pregame parade on the outfield warning track. He said that this year he was allotted 500 tickets, and all were the regularly priced $19 seats. Making matters worse is the Mets' new policy of not allowing the outfield parades, though the team claims to be "working on the logistics" of resuming the on field access.

Another Little League president, Michael Taylor of Lake View, was only sent information on full price group sales when he requested discounted tickets for the current season, leading his league to back out of its annual day at a Mets game.

Not going out of the way to help Little Leaguers get on a major league field isn't a crime. The Mets certainly aren't doing anything legally wrong, and everyone knows they have plenty of expenses to pay off (after all, that $12 million per year they're shelling out to Oliver Perez doesn't pay itself).

Yet at the same time, stiffing youth baseball associations on discount seats might not be the best move when the team is already feeling heat for not renaming its stadium amidst the economic turmoil surrounding Citibank. Throwing a few discounted seats the way of a handful of New York Little Leagues is probably a good practice for karma alone.

Has anyone had similar experiences with the Nationals or other teams? And is anyone else surprised that the Mets would pull the plug on what seems like a pretty generous and almost universally well-received promotion?

By Cameron Smith  |  April 10, 2009; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  Mets  
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I may be wrong, but my impression is that since Philly opened Citizens Bank Park on-field access for fans (kids run the bases, seniors stroll the bases, fire works night, etc.) are less frequent than they used to be, if they take place at all, any longer. Don't know about ticket prices, though.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | April 10, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen a "Little League Day" at the new Park like I have at Camden Yards YET! I've read the Nats are heavily involved in RBI leagues. They also have the field open for HS kids to practice on. I hope the community department of the NATS reads this and doesn't follow suit!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | April 11, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

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