Thursday, January 15, 2009

Islanders on the power play

It seems my post after the Rangers-Islanders game this week regarding the enthusiasm Islanders players displayed in the face of outside pressures was spot-on. Newsday's Jim Baumbach reports today that owner Charles Wang is making veiled threats to move the team if Nassau County doesn't give him the approval he seeks to build out Nassau's "Hub" with his Lighthouse Project.
I, for one, hate this tactic.
The Yankees built their new stadium on the backs on state taxpayers by receiving tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction. So did the Mets. So, while our taxes go up, and ticket prices go up, the Steinbrenners and Wilpons (and Wangs) of the world -- already rich beyond most people's dreams -- sit back and rake in mountains of more money while we get squeezed even tighter. Have you seen the ticket prices the Mets have set for seats in Citi Field this year? I'd rather take my family on vacation than sit through games against Colorado and Houston this year. And let's not forget the personal seat licenses the Giants and Jets are looking to extract from us because their estimates of how much a new stadium would cost were ineptly low.
We talk a lot about fair play, and civility, and sportsmanship, and rightfully demand that our athletes possess those qualities. Don't we as fans have the right to expect the same kind of behavior out of team owners? We've supported their teams with our hard-earned dollars for years -- we buy the jerseys and hats, go to the games, pay for the privilege of parking miles from the stadium -- and the payback for that loyalty is the threat of a move if we don't give them even more??
We can at least be thankful that the East Meadow football team can't move to Massapequa because that district might allocate more resources for athletics, or that the Duke University basketball team won't play its home games at North Carolina State University because that gym holds thousands more fans and generates more revenue. But you get the feeling they would if they could, don't you?

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