Fred Wilpon’s goal when hiring Omar Minaya was for the Mets to play meaningful games in September. That ended with Sunday’s double-header loss at Philadelphia. The Mets are playing for answers and pride, and that’s about it. Some individuals have statistical motivations, and, of course, the Mets are playing to sell more hot dogs and T-shirts.
The Mets (63-81) need to run the table to finish at .500. Guess what?
The Mets are in Atlanta tonight to face the Braves, who are 7.5 games with 19 remaining, are close to seeing their season end. What’s working against Atlanta is that the Mets aren’t in first place. Cruel, but a degree of truth.
Turner Field has not been kind to the Mets recently, as they’ve lost 11 of their last 15 games there, with the Braves hitting .337 in the victories.
Pat Misch (1-2, 3.86) will start tonight for the Mets. Misch is looking to rebound from a horrid start against Florida in which he gave up five runs in six innings, including two homers. Misch has a 3.00 ERA in four relief appearances against Atlanta.
NOTEBOOK: Francisco Rodriguez is not be available tonight due to the birth of his twins in New York.
Dave Howard, Mets vice president, business operations, called into FOX Business News to confront author Erin Arvedlund, who said club owner Fred Wilpon lost up to $700 in the Ponzi scam and could be forced to sell the team as early as next season.
Howard said: “Her claims are outrageous, unfounded and grossly irresponsible…. The figures she’s throwing out are inaccurate and substantially overstated… We have said from the outset that the losses incurred from the Madoff fraud have not and will not affect the operation of the Mets. The team is not for sale, whole or in part. It is family owned and it will be family owned for the long term… There’s no need to sell… There will be no sale and I can’t state it any more definitively than that. Her source is bogus and her claims are false and irresponsible.”
The club has been vehement and vocal in its denies, while the author responded with a mousy “we’ll see.”
Yesterday on the blog we talked about a Reuters story which quoted Erin Arvedlund, author of “Too Good to Be True,” of saying the Wilpon family lost $700 million in the Madoff scam and would be forced to sell the team by early of 2010.
Fred Wilpon told the New York Times, “I’m fine, my family’s fine, my business family’s fine.”
WILPON: Says Mets not for sale.
Wilpon also said the family has an emotional attachment to the Mets and would not sell the team. Wilpon said the team’s revenue from its share of the MLB television deal, luxury suits, ticket sales, concessions, ad revenue at Citi Field and its share of SNY were not affected by the scam. He said the Madoff losses were significantly less than $700 million, but did not specify.
Wilpon paid $135 million to buy out Nelson Doubleday’s share of the team in 2002, and the Mets, according to Forbes Magazine, are currently worth $912 million.
Major League Baseball monitors the finances of each team quarterly, and president Bob DuPuy said the team is under no financial distress.
Martin Silver, owner of Syosset-based Star Industries, wants to buy the Mets from the Wilpons, and after speaking to potential investors said he could put together a $700 million offer.
“As a life-long Mets fan and a season ticket holder for over 25 years, I would not like to see the Mets organization fall into the wrong hands,” Silver write in a letter to Wilpons reported The Daily News.
Forbes magazine has put the value of the Mets at $824 million.
Although the Wilpons took a reported $300-million hit in the Ponzi scandal, Fred Wilpon told MLB the losses won’t affect the team’s operations.
A lot of things floating on in my mind these days.
-Congratulations to Mike Mussina for retiring on his terms. Part of me wishes he’d stay for 300 wins. But another part – a greater part – admires him for doing it his way. It doesn’t happen often. Will he get my Hall of Fame vote? Yes.
-I see where Hank Steinbrenner gave an ultimatum for the Yankees to sign CC Sabathia. I’d like to see Fred Wilpon do the same with a closer.
-The Mets seem torn between Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes. That should tell you of the concerns for K-Rod. And, concerns at this time are valid. I’d stay away, go with Fuentes and use the rest of the money that would have gone to K-Rod go for depth in the pen.
-Luis Castillo is staying to play second base. That seems apparent now. Their thinking is to hope for a comeback. It beats paying somebody to take him away.
-There doesn’t seem like a groundswell of support to keep either Oliver Perez or Pedro Martinez.