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The Origin of the Bobby Bonilla Story

This morning, the Daily News "reported" that the Mets, thanks to an apparent cash shortage in 1999, will be paying Bobby Bonilla $1,193,248.20 every July 1 until he is in his 70s. They attributed it to a "CNN report." We were very bewildered, particularly when we saw the CNN "report": a syndication of a Mental Floss article by a man named Ethan Trex.

Basically, last week, for Mental Floss, Trex went back through sports history and found the most ridiculous contract riders. No. 1 on this list was Bonilla. Back in 1999, the Mets waived Bonilla, but rather than pay him the $5.9 million they owed him, they deferred the payment, at 8 percent interest, until 2011. That comes out to nearly $30 million that will be paid until 2035. As Mets Police pointed out — a couple of months ago, we add — in 2035, David Wright will be 53 years old and likely throwing out the first pitch, or maybe taking Keith Hernandez's place in the booth.

This is a real thing that has been known for a while, which is why it seemed so strange that the Daily News — whose Mets coverage has always been solid, even when its (now-ex) reporters are not actually asking Omar Minaya for a job — would just now notice that "CNN" "reported" it.

We know Trex — not personally, but through his excellent blog Straight Cash, Homey, which tracks ridiculous jerseys fans sometimes wear to games; we personally love this one — so we called him. He was driving through Illinois; he had actually just passed through our hometown. He was a bit bewildered to learn he was a CNN "reporter."

"It was something that Rob Neyer (from ESPN) had written about eight or nine years ago," Trex said. "It wasn't something that nobody knew about. CNN syndicates Mental Floss content on their Living page sometimes, and I guess they picked up that one."

So if you were wondering what sources pass muster with the Daily News, know that Rob Neyer, Mental Floss, and every independent Mets blog don't pass. But CNN does. Google News is a handy thing.

None of this changes the real tragedy: The Mets will be paying Bobby Bonilla, when he is 73, more than they are currently paying Mike Pelfrey.

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Photo: Mark D. Phillips/AFP/Getty Images