Sep 01

Losing Einhorn not the end of the world.

Much like their bullpen, the Mets’ deal with minority investor David Einhorn collapsed, and with it the $200 million infusion the financially strapped franchise was banking on to help them maintain as the Wilpons fight for their team in the fallout of the Ponzi scandal.

Naturally, there’s a difference of opinion of why the deal unraveled, with Einhorn claiming the Wilpons kept changing terms of the original agreement.

Reportedly, Einhorn was concerned about the language in the contract that would have allowed him to eventually assume ownership of the Mets in three to five years if the Wilpons didn’t repay the $200 million. Einhorn wanted a clear path to ownership and bypass the approval of baseball’s other owners.

Einhorn taking shots at the Wilpons won’t help him should he pursue ownership of another baseball franchise. This is a tight fraternity, and as unhappy as many fans are with the Wilpons, they have allies in Commissioner Bud Selig and other owners.

Fans might clamor for new ownership, but it isn’t happening any time soon.

The Mets, meanwhile, insist they aren’t in dire financial distress despite the lingering Ponzi scandal. In a statement released by the team, the Mets said they have the resources to cover the remainder of the 2011 season and to continue business.

It must be remembered it was the Wilpons who walked away from this deal, a signal they don’t believe they are desperate.

However, the Mets did not say whether business would include re-signing Jose Reyes or how active they might be in the free-agent market.

Reportedly, the Mets are still seeking investors, but will explore the piecemeal route rather than try to hook somebody for another $200 million. This might prove to be a quicker way to raise funds.

This is not good news for the Mets, but not the devastating news made out to be on talk radio. For years, the Mets’ problem has not been an inability or refusal to spend, but to spend wisely. All we have to look at is the Omar Minaya era, and it wasn’t much better before him.

It ultimately lies with the Wilpons, and they seemingly put a management plan in place with the hiring of general manager Sandy Alderson. It takes time for these things to develop, but there have been encouraging signs this season, including how the team is playing and chasing .500.

After the last two years, who would have projected that progress?

We were told this would be a rebuilding, learning year, and that is what has happened. There’s been some miserable baseball, but there’s been some sound play, including the Mets’ current streak.

I know Mets’ fans don’t want to hear about patience, but that’s the way it must be. For too long the Mets have gone for the quick fix that invariably put them in this current hole.

But, I don’t believe this hole is an abyss.

May 26

Mets OK minority owner; still have major problems.

The Mets have the minority owner they hope will be able to bail them out of their major financial mess in the fallout of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Mets to get minority owner.

David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital Inc., will purchase roughly 25 percent of the team for roughly $200 million. The sale does not include any ownership segment of SNY. The $200 million will go toward paying down the Mets’ considerable debt, which includes repayment of a $25 million loan to Major League Baseball.

The Mets confirmed the sale this morning in a press release, saying Einhorn has a non-operating stake in the team.

“We are very excited about David joining our ownership group for several reasons,” owner Fred Wilpon said. “David’s investment immediately improves the franchise’s financial position. Equally important, David’s intelligence, integrity and success in both business and civic affairs provides us with another perspective in evaluating what is best for this organization and our fans, and we welcome his input. In partnership with David, we look forward to achieving our ultimate goal of again becoming World Series champions.”

EINHORN BIO

Einhorn, 43, co-founded Greenlight Capital in 1996. He is the author of “Fooling Some Of The People All Of The Time,” a book detailing his battles with Allied Capital. Considering how all this transpired and the parties involved in the Ponzi scheme, it is an ironic title.

Einhorn grew up a Mets fan and dressed up as Dave Kingman one Halloween.

“Having an opportunity to become part of the Mets franchise is exciting beyond my wildest childhood dreams,” Einhorn said in the release. “ I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets.  In 1975, I even dressed in a homemade jersey as a Met for Halloween.

“ I have been a baseball fan for my entire life and have enjoyed teaching the game as the coach of my daughter’s little league team.  I look forward to partnering with the Wilpon and Katz families through the good seasons, the tough seasons and especially the championship seasons.”

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