September 12, 2014

OT: The Mets Are Being Sued

This has nothing to do with civil rights or criminal law. But as a long-suffering NY Mets fan (I know, it's a redundency), this pending employment lawsuit screams out for attention. Or maybe I just wanted to vent. Either way, thanks to Above the Law for the piece.

This is a team whose ownship placed all their monetary eggs in the Bernie Madoff basket, leaving the team with all the spending power of a book of green stamps and some coupons for Subway. Rather than sell the team to people with the intellectual or financial ability to operate a professional sports team like competent adults, the Wilpons continued to stumble about; assuring fans they had the money to sign top shelf free agents, while giving away their assets and slicing payroll. While very publicly sacrificing talent level (and wins) for saving, they hiked their ticket prices to match the crosstown rival Yankees and then wondered why the stadium was empty.

Charged with the unenviable task of persuading people to pay increasingly high ticket prices to see David Wright and eight random guys play ball, Leigh Castergine appeared to be doing good work. At least according to the complaint that she filed recently in federal court. But in true Mets fashion, having hired somebody competent, they not only fired her, but left themselves wide open to a costly lawsuit.

The key event according to Castergine was her unmarried pregnancy. She details owner Jeff Wilpon's various demeaning and abusive comments to her, as well as sundry management tendencies that will bring a knowing tear to the eyes of Mets fans everywhere.  As ATL's Joe Patrice says, if the lawsuit doesn't work out, "she can succeed in writing the definitive insider account of sporting failure."

Anne Vladek, a titan of the employment lawyers' bar in New York, is representing Castergine. The Mets ought to be concerned. Very concerned. Vladek's last high-profile action against a metro area sports team resulted in a $9 million dollar verdict against the NY  Knicks and (thankfully) hastened Isiah  Thomas's exit.

As for Patrice's query as to how anyone can still be a Mets fan after all these years, all I can say as a Mets fan is, Joe, that's a fair question.

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