With the Olympic Opening Ceremony being held today in London, it is a good time to point out that the ceremony could have been held in Citi Field, with the Mets playing this season at Yankee Stadium.
Let’s go back in time to 2005, when New York City was feverishly bidding for the 2012 games. The centerpiece was an Olympic stadium over the rail yards at 34th street on the West Side. The Jets would later play there.
The stadium was always a contentious issue, as opponents and supporters argued for years over whether such a structure should be built in the area. Fat, incompetent James Dolan led the charge against the stadium, saying what was truly needed there was housing for the city’s unfortunate tupoor people, and pledged millions to make that happen. Of course, Dolan was more concerned about Madison Square Garden losing business to the new stadium.
On June 6, 2005, a month before the International Olympic Committee was going to make its choice, the state denied its portion of the funding, killing the project (shockingly, Dolan’s and MSG’s interest in housing suddenly disappeared).
The city was left scrambling, so it devised a scheme to use the new Mets stadium, which was already in the planning phase. The idea called for the stadium to be built in time for the 2009 season, except part of the outfield stands would be temporary. Then after the 2011 season the stadium would be expanded to handle the Olympics. The Mets would take up residence in Yankee Stadium for the year. After the Olympics the structure would be rebuilt to what we see today.
Of course, the IOC rejected the plan and awarded the games to London.
Most people in the city breathed a sigh of relief, fearing the traffic and security nightmares that are currently London’s problems. As for Mets fans, it probably worked out for the best. We got our stadium anyway in 2009, and we didn’t have to undergo the trauma of going to The Bronx this season to watch our team as tenants of the hated Yankees.