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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 

If at first you don't succeed...

Now I've heard everything. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is so desperate to host the Olympics in 2012 that he now wants to back a new Stadium for the Mets.

The Mets would pay the cost of the stadium, which would open in 2009 and be built adjacent to the existing Shea Stadium in Queens. It would be converted for use for the Olympics if the city is chosen as the host for the Games.

The city and state would contribute $180 million for improvements to the infrastructure around the stadium and would pay an additional $100 million to convert the stadium to Olympic use.

The Mets' principal owner, Fred Wilpon, said he would not know the cost of the stadium until a design was selected, but he estimated that it would be $600 million.

It doesn't sound like the folks in Queens share Bloomberg's vision:

When New York wanted a World's Fair, the city spent 50 years, from 1889 to 1939, holding out for a location in Manhattan, without success. Finally, the city settled on Flushing Meadows and won the fair, which returned in 1964.

And so yesterday, a day after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that Queens would be the fallback site for the city's Olympics bid - his Manhattan dream having crashed and burned - few people in the Borough of Fallbacks were shocked. Once again, New York's utility borough would pick up after Manhattan, repairing what needed to be fixed, bearing the burden of the city's, and the nation's, Olympic hopes for 2012.

What a joke. If this deal ever happens, the city and the state is going to be on the hook for a lot more than $280 million since that "conversion" figure doesn't seem to include converting it back into a baseball-only stadium. Plus, how would you like to be the Mets in 2012; can you say "road trip"? They'd have to clear out of the new Shea for several weeks just to accomodate the Games, plus deal with the conversion construction. Of course, Wilpon just sees the dollar signs for the infrastructure and is willing to make any deal. But why can't Bloomberg let the Olympics go?

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