Shitty times for the U.S. economy and Citibank in particular have put a $400 million naming rights deal for the New York Mets’ glittering monument to avarice & greed new stadium in jeopardy, writes the New York Post’s Kate Sheehy.

Mets rep Jay Horwitz yesterday insisted, “There is no change in regard to Citi’s commitment to the new ballpark.” But David Howard, the team’s vice president of business affairs and main spokesman on the deal, for the first time deflected all questions back to Citigroup.

And the future doesn’t look good for the financial giant.

Citigroup’s stock woes are making it ripe for a takeover, and Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, HSBC and State Street Bank are already being talked about as potential buyers or merger partners.

The onetime banking titan closed at $3.77 yesterday, down 89 percent in the past year.

If Citigroup is bought out, at least the stadium name would presumably change. Still, mega-bucks would in all likelihood be shelled out by the new company for the naming rights because of the prestige and recognition that such a high-profile stadium will bring, experts said. Think “Goldman Sachs Diamond,” “Morgan Stanley Stadium” or “HSBC Field.”

Bleacher Report’s Tab Bamford is less concerned about the ballpark’s name compared to the fiscal insanity of a struggling firm dropping $20 million on a marketing exercise, pleading with the Wilpons to “perform their own bailout package.”

Citicorp recently announced that, because of sagging profits, they will be relieving approximately 53,000 of their jobs. And yet their name will stay on a stadium that only seats 45,000. Does anyone else see the irony in that statement? A brand new major league baseball stadium seats fewer people than the sponsor plans to fire because the company can’t afford their salaries any more?

Citi is contracted to pay $20 million annually for the next 20 years to have their pretty logo on the marquee of the stadium.

My question: Could that $20 million save some, if not all, of those 53,000 jobs?

My response: I am calling on the New York Mets to provide ethics by force to Citicorp. Do not take their $20 million. Hand them their check back and implore them to do the right thing by keeping as many of those 53,000 people on board as they can. I am sure that there are dozens of companies that are financially sound enough to afford that size a contract to have their logo on the only corporately sponsored major stadium in New York.