Put Fans in Madoff's Mets Seats

Perhaps the only thing more galling than learning Bernie Madoff has season tickets behind home plate in the Mets’ new ballpark is the price of the ducats: $40,095 per seat.

There are plans to sell the tickets, though the proceeds won’t amount to a drop in the spittoon with the Ponzi schemer on the hook for at least $50 billion.

Here’s a better idea: rename Madoff’s seats Fans’ Row, and let his victims and other folks slammed by the economy sit there – for free.

There’s a certain poetic justice to giving the ripped off a place among those who can afford $40,095 season tickets in a stadium named for $45 billion taxpayer welfare recipient Citigroup – rather than for someone who actually contributed something to baseball.

Putting the real fans behind home plate would mark a baby step toward reclaiming baseball as the country’s National Pastime – instead of greed.

In Seattle, the Mariners are doing the right thing by offering free tickets to the unemployed for certain games, as well as floating various discounts aimed at keeping fans in the ballpark during tough times. The least the Mets brass can do is set up Fans’ Row as reminder that baseball should be about a lot more who’s got the most money.

If you get anywhere near Citi Field’s behind-the-plate Delta Club Platinum seats – which probably won’t be very often, with Bernie’s tickets each averaging $495 a game – try to scooch over to the owner’s box, and say hi to Fred Wilpon.

Wilpon was one of Madoff’s biggest victims – and he’s one of baseball’s most dedicated owners, even if fans were sold out on the naming of the ballpark and the pricing scheme of the best seats.

Whether you sit in the bleachers or behind home plate at the Mets’ new stadium or just stand on the sidelines at a T-ball game this season, you’ll have a better, purer view of the field than Madoff, who likely will never see another ballgame in person outside of a prison yard match-up.

Maybe spending the rest of his life in pinstripes will turn him into a Yankees fan.

Hester watched scores of games from the nosebleed seats at Shea Stadium -- including Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. He  is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He also is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992.

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