There was an interesting story on-line the other day about a 12-year boy, Cade Pope, who wrote the owner of each NFL team asking the simple question: Why should I root for your team?
Took a lot of initiative on his part, but very little initiative was made by the league’s 32 owners as only one, Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers replied, and with it sent an autographed helmet of Luke Kuechly. Richardson wrote he would be “honored if the Carolina Panthers became your team.’’
Richardson’s letter was handwritten, by the way.
Of course, this got me thinking, what if Fred Wilpon were to get such a letter? How about Jeff Wilpon? What would their reply be? What would they say to some 12-year old kid without a team to root for?
What would be their magic words to make him a Met fans for life?
New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon declined talking to the New York media today, saying “I’m on vacation.’’
Wilpon traditionally offers a “State of the Mets Address,’’ each spring and still might, but offered nothing on his calendar.
“Wanting to play meaningful games in September,’’ is one of Wilpon’s Greatest Spring Training Hits.
Wilpon was asked specifically about a New York Post report saying general manager Sandy Alderson wants to stay another two or three years.
Alderson, as is the case when he wants to dodge an issue, said: “That was a guess on the part of the writer and the source. I haven’t talked to anybody about that.’’
So, when directly asked about his future, Alderson said: “Well, I have a contract that expires at the end of this year. My intentions might be irrelevant.’’
However, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon has been open in his support for Alderson, so it probably can be concluded if he wants to stay he will.
Josh Kosman of the NY Post is reporting that the Mets won’t have much money to play with this season and are expecting to lose more than $10 million this year as well as suffering a fifth straight year of declining attendance.
“There is little room this year to raise salaries,” said a source familiar with the team’s finances told the Post.
Last week, principal owner Fred Wilpon told reporters that the Mets’ money woes were over and suggested that he had the resources to boost payroll and sign some major free agents if that’s what Sandy Alderson chose to do.
“While attendance is expected to be down,” Kosman writes. “The team is banking on a small uptick in gate proceeds in its second season of so-called dynamic pricing, which allows ticket prices to be adjusted on the fly based on supply and demand.”
As I’ve said repeatedly and will say again, unless the product on the field improves, fans will continue to stay away. People don’t flock to ballparks and lay out a hundred bucks a game just because a team’s farm system ranks in the top ten. What matters most is wins and the players they pay to see.
As I’ve preached for the last two years, it looks like payroll will in fact be around $80 million in 2013 counting dollars that are actually being paid out. In July of 2011, many of my readers were aghast at that projection and yet here we are.
Next season, the Mets will have about $30 million in payroll commitments, give or take a few. Does anyone really expect Sandy Alderson to go out on a $70 million dollar spending spree? I don’t.
Read Kosman’s full article in the New York Post here.
Over a year ago the Dodgers and Mets were in deep financial distress when Commissioner Bud Selig strong armed Los Angeles owner Frank McCourt into selling the team by first taking financial control?
SELIG: What if? (AP)
He did so despite claims McCourt had worked out a regional television deal that might have eased most of the Dodgers’ problems. The Dodgers were eventually sold to a group that includes Magic Johnson, and yesterday they had the resources to pull off a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox and take on over $250 million in payroll. This, after trading for Hanley Ramirez.
Obviously, the Dodgers have deep pockets. Today, while watching R.A. Dickey win his 16th game and break the Mets’ latest five-game losing streak, I couldn’t help but wonder what might be had Selig treated the Mets’ ownership of Fred Wilpon with the same tenacity he directed at the Dodgers.
If for sale, what could the Mets, with the team, SNY and Citi Field brought on the open market? If the Mets had deep pockets I wouldn’t have made the trade the Dodgers because of the players involved.
But, seemingly unrelated resources could have bought other worthy players this team needs. Just wondering.
Last year, Mets owner Fred Wilpon called David Wright: ”A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”
That was when Wright was struggling and before it was learned he played a month with a small fracture in his back.
Now healthy and stroking line drives at a near .400 clip, Wilpon said this morning Wright was “playing like a superstar.”
Wilpon made his comments this morning at City Hall with the announcement the Mets would host the 2013 All-Star Game.
It is becoming more and more likely that if Wright plays in the game, he will do so representing the Mets.
The organization still faces a mountain of debt, but stung over the criticism of not making an offer to Jose Reyes – they should have just for show – losing Wright would be a serious public relations flop.