Citigroup agreed in 2006 to pay the Mets $400 million over 20 years for naming rights to the stadium, scheduled to open next year. Two New York City councilmen said last week that the $800 million ballpark's name should be changed to Citi/Taxpayer Field.
"The company is still an ongoing company and a vital company that is doing business around the globe," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday. "The taxpayers are backstopping what's going on in the global economy. It's not really Citi's fault that they're in this problem. There are a lot of other banks in the same situation — with naming-rights deals, also."
Wilpon is optimistic that Citigroup will survive the downturn, with taxpayers giving the bank $20 billion and guaranteeing more than $300 billion in toxic assets, but that's still only a fraction of the bank's $2 trillion in total assets. Citigroup's lack of culpability for its predicament could be argued though. Many of the bank's problems can be attributed to the greed, incompetence, and lack of oversight of its executives, according to a piece in last week's New York Times.
Like some baseball teams, some financial institutions can seem on top of the world until they collapse ignominiously and everyone wonders "What the hell just happened?"