NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets under new owner Steven Cohen are embracing Bobby Bonilla Day, an annual remembrance of a famously unsuccessful contract.
A promotion announced Thursday that allows a fan to book an Airbnb stay for four at Citi Field for $250 that includes use of the team gym and shower. The promotion includes throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mets play Atlanta on July 28.
Bonilla was released by the Mets in January 2000 after hitting .160 with four home runs and 18 RBIs the previous season, when a knee injury limited him to 119 at-bats. He had two seasons left on his contract at $5.9 million, and the Mets agreed to defer his salary at 8% interest and make 25 equal payments of $1,193,248.20 each July 1 from 2011-35, a total of $29,831,205.
Fans have lampooned the decision ever since as folly.
“It’s Bobby Bonilla Day — and for the first time, the New York Mets are inviting fans to take part in the July 1st excitement,” the team announced Thursday. “Today, Bobby is back to work, this time as the host of a stay at Citi Field like never before, available on Airbnb. Bobby and the Mets are inviting four lucky Mets fans to experience a night at the ballpark that will leave them with that bottom of the ninth, walk-off home run feeling.
The team, bought last fall by Cohen from the Wilpon and Katz families. said the fans can request the booking starting at noon on July 8.
Now 58, Bonilla was a six-time All-Star from 1986-2001. He hit .279 with 287 homers and 1,173 RBIs.
“As a born and raised New Yorker and a longtime player in the city, there is a special place in my heart for Mets fans and it’s wonderful to see the faithful back in some green seats in Queens,” Bonilla was quoted as saying. “This year, I’m joining in on the fun, trying on a new glove as an Airbnb host and hopefully giving a few folks the night of their lives at Citi Field.”
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The Associated Press