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Mets St. Lucie Clubhouse Degrades Minor Leaguers And Deprives Little Leaguers

The $57 million renovations of Clover Park, the Mets Spring Training facility and home to the St. Lucie Mets, are far behind schedule. Worse yet, due to cost overruns, some of plans have been altered.

The 360 degree concourse is gone. Worse yet, the Little League fields have been scrapped.

What did remain was a beautiful state of the art clubhouse for the Mets Major Leaguers. With this doubling as the Mets minor league affiliate, it was a nice touch seeing Tom Seaver in his Jacksonville Suns cap, David Wright in his Capital City Bombers cap, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry in their Tidewater Tides caps, and Edgardo Alfonzo in his St. Lucie Mets cap.

The irony there is not only was Alfonzo fired as a Mets minor league manager, but the Mets are also not permitting their minor leaguers to use the clubhouse. This means the clubhouse will lie dormant and unused approximately 10 months of the year and throughout the regular season.

Keep in mind, this comes at a time when Major League Baseball is threatening contraction of minor league teams partially because of the supposed inability to maintain adequate facilities. They’re also making the position they need to contract teams to begin paying living wages to their players.

Somehow, that didn’t stop the Mets from (mis)allocating municipal resources mostly towards a little used clubhouse instead of the originally promised Little League fields or other fan amenities. Part of the reason is the Mets were not willing to contribute more than $2 million over and above the $55 million in municipal funds provided.

Of note, the Mets receive 100% of the proceeds for the naming right. This puts in question how much cash outlay the Mets or an affiliate Sterling entity made.

Even if the Mets did provide the money needed for everything promised when the approval for the $55 million was approved, you can still question the wisdom of allocating resources towards a seldom used clubhouse while not allowing minor leaguers to use it. It seems unnecessarily duplicative to have multiple clubhouses.

As reported by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, the Mets justification for not allowing the minor leaguers use the clubhouse was ” to give minor leaguers a reminder of the status they’re working to earn.”

The position drew much ire and ridicule. Those responding was former Mets pitcher P.J. Conlon, who said, “As if having 6 dudes living in a 2 bedroom apartment isn’t enough of a reminder that you’re in A ball.”

Therein lies the problem. This is just insult added to injury.

The Mets are telling their minor leaguers they don’t deserve a living wage. They then create a great clubhouse, but they won’t let the minor leaguers use it because they need to know they’re lesser people not deserving of better amenities. Better yet, somehow we’re all supposed to believe a nice clubhouse would prevent them from working hard enough to make it to the majors.

In the end, the Mets built a clubhouse which houses Major Leaguers for just two months. That decision came at the expense of giving severely underpaid minor leaguers a little extra comfort, and it came at the expense of Little League fields.

The one thing it didn’t came at the expense of was the Wilpons or the Sterling entities. That expense came from St. Lucie and Clover.

Despite the Mets not having to reach into their pockets, they’re still well behind schedule on the renovations which are not scheduled to be completed until June.

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