A group of New York Mets fans fed up with the team’s owners funded a pair of billboards near the stadium this week demanding the team be sold off.
One billboard sports a blue background and reads, “Fred, Jeff & Saul, Ya gotta leave!” The phrase is a riff on the Mets’ slogan “Ya gotta believe!”
The second billboard is orange with a Mr. Met-like figure scowling to the words, “Fred, Jeff & Saul, Sell the Team.”
Both are featured prominently on Jefferson Avenue only blocks from the stadium where fans can’t miss them. The pair of ads will stay up until May 3.
The billboards were funded by 39-year-old Gary Palumbo, a Mets fan from New London, New Hampshire, who raised $6,700 on Kickstarter to pay for the ads.
Palumbo feels that the owners have seriously stunted the team’s growth with their budget-cutting response to losing so much money with Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff’s criminal investment scam.
“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. “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.”
Mets manager Terry Collins slammed the ads as a waste of money.
“I think it’s a waste of time, but that’s just my own opinion,” Collins said. “You want to spend $6,000? Go feed the homeless.”
This is just the most recent instance of fans of New York teams launching public campaigns to criticize team management.
Last year fans raised over $10,000 to put up billboards demanding that the New York Jets fire general manager John Idzik, which they did. This year, a New York Knicks fan’s letter to Knicks owner James Dolan went public after Dolan penned a bitter letter back to him. “As a knicks fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks,” the fan wrote. “Sell them so their fans can at least look forward to growing them in a positive direction.”
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