Category: Archive

Mets still holding out on Famine ship

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

The New York Mets are already planning their special "Irish Night" for the 1999 season, but as far as one group is concerned, the business of the 1998 season is not yet over and done with.

The Famine Ship Ltd. has been expecting a check from the Mets since Irish Night ’98 at Shea, which took place last Aug. 5.

The group expected to benefit financially from the game and send the money to Kerry, where reconstruction continues of the Jeanie Johnston, a sailing ship that made 16 transAtlantic voyages between 1847 and 1855 without ever losing a passenger.

The Famine Ship Ltd. and the Mets were on the same base last May when they jointly announced that a portion of the gate receipts for Irish Night ’98 would go to the Jeanie Johnston project.

The announcement was made at a reception at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan attended by former Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring, a patron of the project.

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However, the check never arrived at the Famine Ship Ltd.’s home base. In fact, there has been open disagreement between the group and the Mets over what portion of receipts, if any, are due.

The Famine Ship Ltd. says its participation boosted gate receipts during Irish Nights. The Mets have taken the position that Famine Ship Ltd.’s participation had little effect on fan numbers.

"Here we are in January, the Mets have ceased taking our calls and they are planning another Irish Night," said Jeff Cleary of Famine Ship Ltd.

According to Cleary, a planned meeting to resolve the impasse has been the victim of other events.

"First it was a case of wait until the end of the season, then it was the World Series, then it was the Mike Piazza deal and finally it was the sex harassment case involving the Mets general manager," he said.

Throw in the holidays and you have a recipe for a lot of extra innings, Cleary believes.

Meanwhile, Irish Night ’99 is listed for Saturday, Aug. 7. A feature of the evening will be green Mets caps for adult fans.

Cleary and his colleagues, however, would rather their green on pieces of paper with the faces of dead presidents.

"We are still expecting a check. We had a verbally contractual agreement with the Mets, a gentlemen’s agreement," he said.

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