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.

 

Aug 16

Today in Mets’ History: Mets sweep Pads to begin 1969 run.

After falling 9.5 games behind Chicago several days earlier, the 1969 started to right their ship to make a run at, and eventually overcome, the Cubs in the National League East.

McANDREW: His 1969 card.

Pitching would be their catalyst, and on this day in 1969 Tom Seaver and Jim McAndrew combined to sweep San Diego in a doubleheader, 2-0 and 2-1, and Shea Stadium.

Seaver and Ron Taylor combined to limit the Padres to four hits in the opener, and were backed by run-scoring singles from Tommie Agee and Bobby Pfeil in the fifth and seventh innings.

In the nightcap, McAndrew and Tug McGraw combined for the victory. Cleon Jones homered in the fourth and Jerry Grote singled in the game-winner in the seventh.

With the sweep, the Mets began a stretch where they won 12 of their next 13 games to move from ten games behind the Cubs to trailing by two on Aug. 27.

FIRST GAME BOX

SECOND GAME BOX

 

Jul 16

Today in Mets’ History: Mets beat Cubs again in key ’69 Series at Wrigley.

Things got a little hotter and tighter in the National League East as the Mets won again at Chicago on this date in 1969.

Tommie Agee, Art Shamsky and Al Weis all homered as the Mets won, 9-5, to move within 3.5 games of the first-place Cubs.

BOX SCORE

The Mets took a 6-0 lead after two innings, but after the Cubs came back with four in the second against Don Cardwell, they pulled away for the victory.

Jul 10

Today in Mets’ History: Matlack throws one-hitter.

On this date in 1973, the Mets’ Jon Matlack threw a one-hit shutout at Shea Stadium over the Houston Astros, 1-0.

Tommy Helms doubled in the sixth for Houston’s only hit, and Duffy Dyer’s double drove in Rusty Staub for the game’s only run.

With the victory, the Mets improved to 36-46, sixth place in the National League East, 12 games off the pace.

It was a different time then, but the message is the same. Those Mets didn’t give up on the season and reached the World Series. The road is different today, but looking  back history tells us good things can still happen in this season.

BOX SCORE

 

Jun 14

What your confidence level in the Mets?

In a way, he’s playing just like his team.

David Wright is swinging free and easily, which is exactly how his Mets are playing as they enjoy the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today before starting a three-game series in Cleveland.

WRIGHT: Has found his stroke.

“There doesn’t seem to be any anxiety or rush to his swing,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said of Wright, who homered twice Sunday in Baltimore. “It’s kind of like it is sitting on a tee for him.’’

Well, the Orioles were like a ball on a tee over the weekend, a team ready to be swatted, but the Indians, a team also struggling is playing better of late.

So are the Mets, who are 1½ games out of first in the National League East and a season-high seven games over .500. The Mets are playing exactly like the promised they would.

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