Aug 25

What If Selig Treated Mets The Way He Did Dodgers?

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.

 

May 16

Fred Wilpon Praises David Wright With Superstar Label

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.

 

 

Mar 20

Wilpon needs to take Wright stance

Yesterday was a good day for the Mets. Not only did they receive a favorable settlement in the Madoff case, but completed the sale of 12 minority ownership shares at $20 million a shot for a total of $240 million.

WRIGHT: This has been a frustrating time for Wright.

The Mets claim to have lost $70 million last season, and the new money will pay off loans to Major League Baseball ($25 million) and Bank of American ($40 million). They should be able to sustain their operating expenses for this season.

The Mets have a three-year break before they required to pay any of the $162 million from the settlement, so there is some sense of relief in clarity as they attempt to budget until that time.

What then?

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Mar 19

Settlement favors Mets. Will it change things?

Whenever a mediator – in this case New York Gov. Mario Cuomo – brokers a settlement between two warring parties, despite the agreement and presumption of peace, there is a winner.

Cuomo said, “nobody gets everything they want in a settlement,’’ but the Wilpons got what they needed in Irving Picard’s “Battle for the Mets.’’

Sure, Fred Wilpon wanted to come away unscathed, but in the end the settlement was kind to him and the Mets. Wilpon gets to keep his team and could be on the hook for just $162 million, far more palatable than the initial $1 billion lawsuit, and later the $380 million ceiling ruled by Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

Picard saw earlier decisions going toward Wilpon; the Mets saw a long and costly trial.

“The closer you get to trial the closer you get to the reality of trial,’’ Cuomo said.

The reality of it is Wilpon could owe less than $162 because the settlement allows him to go after the $178 million they claim to have lost in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scandal.

Of the $178 million, Picard has already recovered $10 million. So, in essence Wilpon and Picard have formed an odd partnership.

On top of a shrinking settlement, the Mets don’t have to pay anything for three years. While this settlement eases the financial burden on the Mets and possibly offers more a sense of economic clarity, it doesn’t assure the Mets a climate of  “normalcy,’’ as suggested by Cuomo.

Since Carlos Beltran took that curveball from Adam Wainwright to end the 2006 NLCS, normalcy for the Mets has been blown division leads in 2007 and 2008, a shoddy bullpen, a string of injuries, a line of incomprehensible and suffocating contracts, two managerial changes, a front office overhaul and a slashed payroll of $50 million.

The Mets’ austerity forced the trading of Beltran and closer Francisco Rodriguez, and free-agent departure of Jose Reyes. It could also lead to trading David Wright.

What happened Monday was a victory for Wilpon, but it doesn’t immediately change the state of his team of the field. The Mets are projected to finish last in the National League East in their fourth straight losing season.

That is what normalcy has been recently for the Mets and that isn’t about to change. The three-year relief from making payments is likely to be the same window before the team becomes baseball relevant again.

This was a stressful and expensive ordeal for Wilpon, who saw the very real possibility of losing his team. This settlement gives him a second chance. Hopefully, he’ll make the most of it.

 

Mar 15

Don’t understand Judge’s ruling in Madoff case.

I am not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV. However, I thought in this country one was innocent until proven guilty. Isn’t that basic stuff?

Doesn’t that mean the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty? At least, that’s what I get from watching Law & Order.

RAKOFF: Don't understand his ruling.

I don’t get Judge Jed S. Rakoff’s reasoning the burden of proof falls on Fred Wilpon to prove his innocense. None of this makes sense. It doesn’t seem logical. And, Rakoff does not offer a legal precedence in explaining his decision.

First off all, the perpetrator in all this is Bernie Madoff, who is already serving time for his part in the Ponzi scandal. Yes, the Wilpons invested with Madoff and made money. But, didn’t they also lose money? Didn’t they have money in accounts with Madoff when this came to light? Doesn’t it make sense they would have pulled all their funds before the roof collapsed?

Since the Wilpons didn’t work actively with Madoff, I don’t understand why they should be held responsible for the losses of others. Why aren’t other investors the target of Irving Picard? On the surface that doesn’t seem right. It seems Picard is going after an easy, and public, target.

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