— Days Without Shea —

Yes! Finally something worth posting about...Some new footage of Grank Funk Railroad rocking Shea Stadium!

Loyal Loge13 readers know how much I relish Shea Stadium's place in rock & roll history. Among the many unheralded moments: the night Grand Funk Railroad chugged into town and engineered some musical history.  The band sold out Shea quicker than The Beatles and on July 9, 1971, GFR shook up the house. Literally. All reports claimed the stadium was swaying and this video shows the removable infield seats and the visitor's dugout cascading to the awesomeness of Mark Farner & co:

Read more about the gig here and enjoy the footage below:

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Looks like the Fred & Jeff show will go on.

The Wilpons settled their civil suit with Irving Picard today, agreeing to pay $162M. In a sense, the Wilpons won by not having to go through a trial and risk paying $330M.

Of course, this is the same twisted definition of "winning" that Met fans have endured for years. We "win" when a player gets through an inning without a career-ending injury. We "win" when we only come in 4th place at season's end. We "win" when we move the fences in at our new stadium after three miserable years. And in a big win for Met fans, we get to keep the Wilpons as owners, ensuring years of mediocrity rooting for the underfunded, underwhelming home team.

What an unsettling feeling.

Here are the details:

New York, New York - March 19, 2012 - A settlement has been announced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding the dispute between the SIPA Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) and the partners of Sterling Equities and related persons and entities.

The essential terms of the agreement, which are subject to certain approvals, are that the Sterling parties have agreed to pay a sum to the BLMIS Customer Fund equal to 100 percent of the fictitious profits of approximately $162 million that were withdrawn by the Sterling parties during the six-year period prior to the BLMIS liquidation proceeding -- the District Court had previously ruled that the Sterling parties were liable for fictitious profits spanning only the two-year period prior to the liquidation proceeding -- and that the SIPA Trustee has elected to dismiss the amended complaint that alleged that the Sterling parties were willfully blind to the fraud conducted by Bernard L. Madoff.

The Sterling parties' customer claims - which total approximately $178 million - will be allowed in full and will be entitled to recovery on the same basis as other BLMIS customers. The Sterling parties' allowed claims are now assigned to the SIPA Trustee and any pro rata distributions will be used to reduce the Sterling parties' settlement obligation.

David J. Sheehan, Chief Counsel to the SIPA Trustee states, "The SIPA Trustee believes that this settlement represents the best possible outcome for BLMIS Customers with allowed claims, as it provides for the recovery of 100 percent of the $162 million in fictitious profits for the six-year period. We believe that this is a fair and just settlement. At the same time, the SIPA Trustee has withdrawn all willful blindness claims against any Sterling party. All settlements negotiated by the SIPA Trustee are predicated on the fact that the SIPA Trustee works for the best interests of BLMIS customers. Settlement terms are reached to create the maximum recovery for the BLMIS Customer Fund, taking into consideration factors such as the vicissitudes of time-consuming litigation and the financial situation of the parties involved."

The SIPA Trustee thanks Governor Mario Cuomo, who was appointed by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to mediate the dispute between the SIPA Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) and the partners of Sterling Equities and related persons and entities, over the past year. He also thanks the Wilpon and Katz families and the other Sterling Partners for setting a positive example by returning 100 percent of the six-year fictitious profits to the Customer Fund.

At the appropriate time, the SIPA Trustee will file a Bankruptcy Rule 9019 motion with the court, which will include details of the settlement.

In addition to Mr. Sheehan, the Baker & Hostetler Counsel to the SIPA Trustee who worked on Picard v. Saul Katz et al. include: Fernando Bohorquez, Regina Griffin, Tracy Cole, Karin Scholz Jenson, Lauren Resnick, Mark Kornfeld, Timothy Susanin, Kathryn Zunno, Jody Schechter, Stacey Bell, Melissa Kosack, Amanda Fein and Brian Song.

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Filed under: Baseball | Ex-Mets | Mets
by Kingman on March 9 at 9:16AM
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New York Times columnist David Brooks published an Op-Ed today that is actually worth reading: "Hey Mets! I just can't quit you."

Seven years ago, Brooks disavowed the Blue and Orange and decided to become a Nationals fan. As a relocated New Yorker, Brooks decided to take up with his new hometown's new team which -- presumably unlike Brooks' predicament -- has been stolen from precious Montreal fans by MLB & Bud Selig and dropped inside the Beltway. The Nats instantly became Washington's 4thmost popular professional sports team after the Redskins, Wizards and Georgetown Hoyas.

 Of course, the Mets haven't been much to cheer about during Brooks' exile, but now the scribe has had a change of mind. Or more accurately, a return to his "internal neural structures" of yore. Read on for details.

Of course, in the old days, Mets fans would not be inclined to welcome Brooks back. But the fact is: we need the money. So welcome home David! And please buy some souvenirs. Or a stake in the team.

Now if only Kingman's prodigal brother would see the light and convert back to his Mets faith.

Here's the column:

In 2005, I wrote a column saying that maybe it was time to abandon the New York Mets and become a fan of the Washington Nationals. My reasoning was sound. We were raising our kids in Washington. We had Nats season tickets. We were acquiring Nats paraphernalia. It would be so easy to join the fold.

Since then, the reasons to leave the Mets and follow the Nats have become even more compelling. The Mets have suffered a pair of bone-crushing late-season collapses that have changed the personality of the franchise. The team is mired in financial turmoil. It is expected to be mediocre for the next several seasons, at best.

The Nats, meanwhile, have a set of astoundingly talented young players and should be thrilling to watch for the next decade.

Yet the project to switch to the Nats has been a complete failure. Apparently, when writing that column seven years ago, I was suffering from the Rick Blaine Illusion (named for the character in "Casablanca"): the illusion that we are autonomous individuals who have the ability to shed and form our attachments at will.

We don't. I've since come to accept that my connection to the Mets exists in a realm that precedes individual choice. It is largely impervious to calculations about costs and benefit. It is inescapable.

Since I am me, I've read a bunch of social science papers on the nature of sports fandom, trying to understand this attachment. They were arid and completely unhelpful. They tried to connect fandom to abstractions about identity formation, self-esteem affiliation and collective classifications.

It's probably more accurate to say that team loyalty of this sort begins with youthful enchantment. You got thrown together by circumstance with a magical team -- maybe one that happened to be doing well when you were a kid or one that featured the sort of heroes children are wise to revere. You lunged upon the team with the unreserved love that children are capable of.

The team became crystallized in your mind, coated with shimmering emotional crystals that give it a sparkling beauty and vividness. And forever after you feel its attraction. Whether it's off the menu or in the sports world, you can choose what you'll purchase but you don't get to choose what you like.

The neuroscientists might say that, in 1969, I formed certain internal neural structures associated with the Mets, which are forever after pleasant to reactivate. We have a bias toward things that are familiar and especially to those things that were familiar when life was new: the old house, the old hometown, the people, smells and sounds we knew when we were young.

I'd say my attachment to the Mets is more like an old friendship. It's not as intense as it used to be. I watch about 40 games a year, mostly on TV, and read blogs like Amazin' Avenue and Metsblog.com. I'd like the team to thrive and win championships. But I really just want them to continue to be one of the allegiances that enrich life. I want them to continue to provide vivid moments.

A Mets at bat is more vivid to me than an at bat not involving the Mets. A Mets prospect is more consequential than any other prospect. Hustling players like Daniel Murphy, charming players like Ike Davis, and funny players like R.A. Dickey are more endearing because they happen to be Mets. I was in the media center of the Mets spring training facility in Florida this week when Ron Darling, the excellent pitcher from the great teams of the 1980s, sat down at the table next to me and started reading The Times. That was a vivid moment, evoking all sorts of memories, though I didn't try to talk with him.

There's a core American debate between "On the Road" and "It's a Wonderful Life." "On the Road" suggests that happiness is to be found through freedom, wandering and autonomy. "It's a Wonderful Life" suggests that happiness is found in the lifelong attachments that precede choice. It suggests that restraints can actually be blessings because they lead to connections that are deeper than temporary self-interest.

The happiness research suggests that "It's a Wonderful Life" is correct and "On the Road" is an illusion. So I'll die a Mets fan, exaggerating their potential, excusing their deficiencies. This week, in Florida, I even detected new virtues in the team. In the early days, the Mets were lovable losers, then miraculous winners, then, in the 2000s, big-spending disappointments. Now they are young and frisky, enthusiastic and charming. I'll enjoy following this team and exaggerating its promise. I have no choice but to love the Mets. Just as I have no choice but to hate the Phillies.

[March 10, 2012 6:36 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Paul said

Sorry Kingman, but I too will be sitting on the sidelines for the 3rd straight year. With no "SATURDAY ONLY" plan offered, I refuse to pay Major League prices for a Minor League Team. I also see no excitement to sit in a stadium that is 1/3 to half full so its a 55 HD TV for me.

[March 10, 2012 8:00 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ross Jones said

Living in Chicago, I completely relate to this article. You should always stay loyal to your childhood team. I still get excited when the Mets come to town no matter how they are performing in the standings.

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by Kingman on March 7 at 10:27AM
Great post over at MetsHotCorner.com about our favorite subject, Shea Stadium.

Definitely go over and read the entire homage to Shea. This graf especially rang true:

"It was a treat to sit in field level and all the good eats were down there - yet I still preferred a hot dog. You felt special in the Loge, but Mezz was just as good. You always found yourself in the Uppers with your second family, but that was the best spot in the park. You saw everything from up there and with your people."

Shea always was a tiered community, united by everyone's love for the Mets. In the new ballpark, thanks to endless promotions and corporate boxes, many in attendance are barely aware a game is going on. Fans migrate from restaurant to bar to center field to stores, occasionally glancing at TV's to check the score. Shea was where people came to see a game, because there wasn't much else to do (especially after they closed Casey's Pub!).

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This is all kinds of wrong...

Universal Pictures Stage Production has announced it is developing a theater version of Animal House. Casey Nicholaw, the Tony Award-winning director of "The Book of Mormon," will stage and choreograph the musical. Music will be written by...gulp...The Bare Naked Ladies.

What? Huh? I was almost able to accept this news until the Bare Naked part. Those boys had a couple OK tunes 20 years ago but what evidence suggests they are up for setting Bluto, Flounder and Dean Wormer to music?

 For most Met fans, this clip was an all too familiar presence when we were trailing in late innings back at Shea Stadium:

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