Almost none of the "too big to fail" financial titans who imploded the U.S. economy have been punished. In fact, these "too big to nail" guys got taxpayer-funded bailouts and undeserved bonuses while millions of people lost their jobs. The unfairness of it all is galling to ordinary citizens.
So, citizens thirsting in vain for equal justice have to get punish-the-rich satisfaction where they can. That's why I'm thrilled that the New York Mets' 2011 season has gotten off to a mediocre start (21-22 as I write this post). Failure in Flushing means fewer fans going to Citi Field and less revenue for the wealthy Mets owners who benefited from their relationship with notorious Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff -- one of the few big money men to see the inside of a prison without watching Dead Man Walking (which was not about Sean Penn taking four errant pitches).
Irving Picard, the trustee trying to claw back money for Madoff's investor victims, is seeking $1 billion from the Mets moguls. Picard claims the owners knew, or should have known, that Madoff wasn't legit -- a claim these New York baseball barons deny with the vehemence of a 1984 Dwight Gooden fastball. Faced with Picard's lawsuit and declining attendance, the owners are trying to raise funds by selling a minority stake in the team. And they can no longer easily afford to increase their club's payroll costs, which is one reason why the Mets may end up in the National League East cellar this year. To misquote Leo Durocher, "Nice guys finish last, as should owners accused of doing not-nice things."
In short, the Mets moguls are sort of being punished, which is more than you can say for most "banksters" and other financial/Wall Street bigwigs who gamed the system for years. That "punishment" is like a well-turned double play -- i.e., verrry satisfying.
Full disclosure: I've never been much of a Mets fan since the team started in 1962. I felt sympathy for them during their bumbling early days, and kind of enjoyed their World Series-winning years of 1969 and 1986, but have attended only a few games at Shea Stadium and none at Citi Field (named after -- ahem -- a huge banking company). Maybe it's a geographical thing, because I'm in New Jersey and the Mets are in trouble ... uh, I mean ... in Queens.
But this is the first time I'm rooting against the Mets. Sorry David Wright, sorry Jose Reyes -- it's not about you. It's about your owners. The owners who had net worths the size of a steroid user's biceps, yet still wanted to increase their fortunes with the help of their "burglarizing" buddy Bernie.
Casey Stengel's 1962 Mets won only 40 games. How about only 14 in 2011? I realize the numbers don't add up because this year's club already has more than 14 victories, but Madoff's numbers didn't add up either.