Mar 16, 2011, 1:40 PM EDT
Noticing recently that they were millions of dollars in debt, the New York Mets did the logical thing in spring training this year: they ordered some custom-made dirt for their Port St. Lucie, Fla., playing field. To the tune of $15,000.
But to be fair, they did split the cost of the dirt with the County of Port St. Lucie. That would be the same County of Port St. Lucie that just agreed to a four-year pay freeze for the County Fire District (pdf). Yes, the southwest Florida economy is in about the same shape as in much of the nation — and that shape would resemble a toilet seat. The City of Port St. Lucie recently laid off 24 police officers and three civilian employees, and many businesses in the area have been cutting back.
In the new edition of Webster’s Dictionary, there should be a Mets’ logo next to the word audacity.
The idea to replicate the Citi Field playing surface as closely as possible was first proposed by Chip Hale, the Mets’ third-base and infield coach. He suggested that the Mets should practice and play on the same surface they play half their real games on, and the notion was adopted after the Mets and the county of Port St. Lucie, which owns the stadium, agreed to split the $15,000 cost.
“It seemed like a no-brainer to me,” Hale said. “Why not make it as close to New York as possible? If it can help even a little bit, why not do it?”
OK, granted; a Major League Baseball team spending spring training in your town greatly helps your economy. But when the Mets call and say “we need eight grand for dirt,” if you’re the County of Port St. Lucie, the correct answer is “But your old dirt still works fine. We just froze firefighter’s salaries … you know those guys who would be saving you if your clubhouse ignited?” I don’t think the Mets would leave over the issue.
But I could be wrong. Look Mets, enjoy your dirt. I’m sure it will make all the difference, and we’ll be seeing you in the NL Championship game this year, scooping grounders against the Phillies like nobody’s business.
Port St. Lucie police chief: Cuts mean minor crashes, crimes won’t be investigated [The Palm Beach Post]
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