Citi Field and the mob

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I’d say “only in New York,” but I spent a fair amount of time in my
legal practice doing construction law, and I learned that this kind of thing happens in
lots of places
:

The Mets shelled out $51.6 million in taxpayer money to contractors
shunned by the city for their ties to the Mafia, labor corruption or
bribery, The Post has learned. At least seven contractors the
city avoids were hired by the team to build Citi Field between 2006 and
2009, according to government records.

The tainted companies were paid from a $91 million pot the city Economic Development Corp. gave to the Mets.

It’s probably worth noting that a “tainted” company doesn’t mean a mobbed-up company any more than a company on some city-approved list is legitimate. There are tons of mob-connected or at the very least shady construction outfits on municipal approved lists all over the country because they made the right political contributions.

Likewise, there are lots of legit companies that are on non-approved lists because they wouldn’t play ball with with the right people. With “right people” usually being defined as a nogoodnik crony who got appointed to some mid-level job in the public works department because his brother-in-law knows people who knows people or something.  Big city construction is ugly.

And besides: which is the bigger misuse of money: $51.6 million to the mafia, or $36 million to Oliver Perez?

Sandy Alderson thinks Tim Tebow will play in the major leagues

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Based on his track record so far I don’t think Tim Tebow deserves to play in the major leagues on the merits. Not even close. But then again, I’m not the general manager of the New York Mets, so I don’t get a say in that.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager, so his say carries a lot of weight. To that end, here’s what he said yesterday:

Noting the Tebow experiment has “evolved” into something greater, general manger Sandy Alderson on Sunday said, “I think he will play in the major leagues.”

To be fair, Alderson is pretty up front about the merits of Tebow’s presumed advancement to the bigs at some point. He didn’t say that it’s because Tebow has played his way up. He said this:

“He is great for the team, he is great for baseball, he was phenomenal for minor league baseball last year. The notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he is not coming through the traditional sources, I think is crazy. This is entertainment, too. And he quietly entertains us . . . He benefits the Mets because of how he conducts himself. He’s a tremendous representative of the organization.”

I take issue with Alderson’s comment about people thinking he shouldn’t be in the game because of his background. Most people who have been critical of the Tebow experiment have been critical because there is no evidence that he’s a good enough baseball player to be given the opportunities he’s been given. I mean, he advanced to high-A last year despite struggling at low-A and he’s going to start at Double-A this year in all likelihood despite struggling in high-A. If he does make the bigs, it will likewise come despite struggles in Double-A and maybe Triple-A too.

That said: I don’t mind if they promote Tebow all the way up as long as they’re being honest about why they’re doing it and aren’t trying to get everyone on board with some cockamamie idea that Tebow belongs on the baseball merits. If they do put him in the majors it’ll be because he’s a draw and a good promotion and because people generally like him and he’s not hurting anyone and I can’t take issue with that.

That’s basically what Alderson is saying here and if that’s the case, great. I mean, not great, because Tebow in the bigs will likely also mean that the Mets aren’t playing meaningful games, but great in the sense of “fine.” Baseball is entertainment too. No sense in pretending it isn’t.