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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Apr 21

Your passion lives even if the Mets don’t.

R.A. Dickey throws a knuckleball, and last night he pitched well, but not good enough to win against the Houston Astros. After the game, Dickey threw high heat, not only at himself, but his teammates.

“We have to find a way to be honest with ourselves about what kind of team we are. We can’t just keep telling ourselves, ‘Oh, we’re a better team than this.’ We may not be.’’

There has not been a better analysis of the Mets this season. Maybe not for a long time.

So, let’s be brutally honest.

Their pitching, both in the rotation and out of the bullpen is not good enough to win with in the National League. It might not even be good enough to win with in Triple-A.

Fundamentals, which was supposed to be their upside, has been poor in all aspects. They have not hit for power or in the clutch. They’ve given away too many at-bats both at the plate and in the field.

And last night on the bases was atrocious, from Angel Pagan’s slide at the plate to Jose Reyes being doubled off first in the ninth inning.

It does me no joy to write this, but it is the truth. I don’t see where Jason Bay’s return will provide immediate help.

However, we all knew this heading into spring training. This was supposed to be a bridge year until payroll was cleared the Mets could be able to spend next year.

Payroll will be cleared, but probably nothing significant by the trade deadline, so let’s not expect any flashes at mid-season. Major League Baseball has taken over control of the Dodgers, and who is to say the Mets aren’t next? Who is to say the handpicked selection of Sandy Alderson as general manager isn’t close to the same thing?

Ownership is in a state of crisis, and until that is resolved things will continue to be bleak for the Mets and the crowds thin at Citi Field, where they are a dismal 1-8 for the worst home start in franchise history.

Hell, the 1962 Mets did better than that at the Polo Grounds.

Three weeks into the season and the Mets have five victories to show for their efforts. The Angels’ Jered Weaver has that many by himself.

But, this is your team. You’ve cheered for them in gloomy times before and will pull for them again. That’s what loyal fans do.

All you Mets fans on this blog and the dozens of others that follow your team. All of you who watch on SNY and tune into WFAN, and to those who read the papers every morning. You do so because the Mets are your passion.

And, they are lucky to have you.

 

Feb 02

It’s the not knowing that’s hard

Usually teams have a rough idea heading into spring training of what to expect for the season. Not so for the 2011 edition of the New York Mets. They could move dramatically in either direction.

Sandy Alderson said he’s hoping for a competitive season, which means building up from .500 and laying the groundwork for 2012 and beyond. However, in the back of his mind, he knows it is possible he might have to blow up the team by the All-Star break.

With the Wilpons facing legal problems in the wake of their involvement with Bernie Madoff, we won’t know the full impact of their financial situation until after the lawsuits are settled and that could take a long time. While it seems doubtful they will be forced to sell controlling interest of the Mets, we can’t say that with full certainty.

And, with buying limited interest in the franchise not including a part of Citi Field or SNY, where’s the incentive for attracting new investors? That might be harder to pull off than imagined.

But, if things continue to spiral downward, it’s almost a guarantee Alderson might have to sell off some of the pieces on the field to cut costs to attract a new buyer. Carlos Beltran, gone after this season, would be the first to go. Next, I can see them dealing Jose Reyes for chips rather then spring for a long term deal. If the team tanks in the first half and he’s having a good year, Angel Pagan would draw interest.

They will attempt to trade Francisco Rodriguez, but with that $17.5 million option, that would be tough to do. About as hard as trading Oliver Perez. I’ve been hearing about wanting to get out of Johan Santana’s contract, but with him not available until at least the All-Star break, what team is going to want to take that gamble? Jason Bay’s contract makes him untradeable and David Wright, who might command the most, is the face of the franchise. You have to have some assets.

If everybody remains healthy and have good years, winning 85 to 90 games isn’t completely unrealistic. It is what the team is hoping for. You really can’t say building for because they did little this winter

However, if there’s financial pressure on the Wilpons, there’s no telling what this team could look like come July.

Sep 29

Manuel reflects on a season lost

It was interesting to hear Jerry Manuel evaluate his performance last night on SNY, admitting he pushed the envelope in bringing back Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, and the experiment with Reyes at third.

MANUEL: The dreams of success have faded.

Much of the self-evaluation had been written by posters at the time, but it must be remembered Manuel is working off different information and conditions that we were.

Quite simply, Manuel knew there was pressure on him to win this year, and that only made it easier to be tempted, especially when the player says he’s ready.

Manuel didn’t get into it, but there was inconsistency in how he made out his lineup, set up his bullpen and bench. Lest we not forget, it was Manuel’s insistence to stay with Jenrry Mejeia, who has been shut down with a shoulder injury.

I also didn’t like how Manuel handled Jeff Francoeur and John Maine, but there are always be dust ups in the player-manager relationship.

Last night Manuel was candid, forthright and honest. There was very little excuse making, other than to say the collapse of the offense played a major factor into the season’s outcome. And. I don’t look at that as an excuse as much as a statement of fact.

If this had been Manuel’s first season with the Mets, you could make an argument for another chance, but he presided over the September collapse in 2008 and last year’s disaster. There were extenuating circumstances after both that warranted a second chance, the bottom line is that through a myriad of reasons, the Mets have taken a step back since 2006, and in this market, with this stadium and the expectations, somebody will have to pay the price for failure.

Keeping Manuel with roughly the same payroll as this season is to tell the fanbase “our hope is that we stay healthy and improve,’’ which is something they’ve been saying since Carlos Beltran took that third strike from Adam Wainwright.

Keeping Manuel would be saying this year was acceptable.

Aug 06

Fred Wilpon gives Minaya a vote of confidence.

I think it’s safe to say things aren’t going to fundamentally change for the Mets any time soon. They might get hot for a week or two, perhaps even hang around on the fringe of the pennant race, but the foundation of this mediocrity won’t change.

There will undoubtedly be a managerial firing, but unless they bring in a heavyweight, the hierarchy will stay the same.

Speaking at an SNY function yesterday, Mets owner Fred Wilpon gave a vote of confidence to GM Omar Minaya. When asked Thursday if Minaya would be back next year, Wilpon said: “Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?”

Minaya is signed through the 2012 season and owed $2 million.

Manager Jerry Manuel does not have a contract for next season and it has been consistently reported the Mets have to make the playoffs if he’s to return.

S0, next year shouldn’t be that much different than this year.