It’s Only a Matter of Time Now

Well, the lid blew off of the pot this last week. The New York Times story that Uncle Saulie is looking to sell his share his share of the Mets, while quickly denied, signals that the Wilpon Financial Crisis has reached a critical mass. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I don’t see any way that Fred and Jeff wriggle out this time.

The facts seem to be these: (a) the Mets are a drain on the family finances; which was OK as long as they enjoyed the prestige of being the owners of a major league team. Well, (b) the Wilpons have now become a laughingstock in the media and are scorned by the very fanbase who’s support they need to stay afloat. If someone offered me that kind of “prestige,” I would decline the honor. Everything Mets is currently radioactive. It’s telling how deep the fracture is when Fred’s sister’s husband wants out. In today’s Post there was another article about Katz wanting out and him trying to convince Fred to sell. Of note was the fact that none of Saul’s children want to own part of the Mets. Translation: Jeff’s cousins don’t like him either.

It is fair to note that long before the Klapishes, the Shermans and the Harpers of the world turned their critical eyes towards the Wilpons, sites like this one (but not only this one) where railing against Fred and Jeff for a variety of sins, both of commission and omission. The fire that was lit here spread first to the stands, where the empty seat is the symbol of the 2014 Mets, then to TV and radio ratings, jumping the firewall to Mike Francessa and Adam Rubin and finally to the dailies. The conflagration is now too big to contain, let alone control—just ask Cerrone.

To continue with the metaphors, the Wilpons are like a bleeding elk surrounded by a pack of snarling wolves, staggering towards an inevitable demise. As distressing as that image sounds, the coming slaughter is likely to be a lot worse. Fred seems incredibly stubborn, a good trait in some instances but probably not so much now. More than likely, someone from the outside will have to break into the inner circle and convince him it is time to go.

Present situation aside, there is still much to like about the Mets. They have a new stadium and do play in the largest media market in the hemisphere. They have their own TV network, which if leveraged correctly, can be a license to print money. There are some promising players either in uniform now or coming quickly. Yes, there are holes everywhere and New York is currently a Yankee town, but there should be plenty of resources to address these issues.

So Fred, as one Mets fan to another: Jeff can have the Cyclones. Do the right thing. Sell The Mets. Now.

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. pal88 May 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm
    FROM YOUR LIPS (article) TO GODS ears..
  2. Kanehl May 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm
    I really hope you’re right. But Fred seems to slither out of crises, he’s got Bud’s clueless endorsement, and he dreams of leaving his plaything as a legacy to the Idiot Son and further generations of gene-pool deletion. Up till now, he’s scraped together just enough money to service his debts (the network, the stadium, Mets’ operating losses, real estate holdings leverage), but not enough to compete in NYC. It’s up to the Katz family to force thus to a showdown.
  3. argonbunnies May 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm
    Ha. I wish.

    Old White Man With More Money Than He Knows What To Do With Opts AGAINST Ego-Stroking Legacy Move. That’d make a good Onion headline.

  4. DaveSchneck May 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm
    Who knows what the real story is. One can only hope, but if Uncle Saul can convince Freed to cash out of majority ownership so his disinterested kids inherit millions, he should immediately be inducted to the Mets Hall of Fame.
  5. DanB May 19, 2014 at 9:16 am
    I’ve said it before, I will say it again. No team can have prolong sucess with a bad owner. I’d trade the Wilpons, Harvey, and Wright for a good owner. If Fred refuses to sell everything, this is what he should do. Step one–find a shiny object to distract Jeff Wilpon. He should not be making baseball decissions. I wouldn’t want him to make business decissions, either. Step two–refinance those loans. You’d think a real estate mogul who watched people flip upside down with balloon mortgages would of avoided a similiar loan to finance their stadium and network. Step three–bring in an investor who has capital to spend on operations. If you are not going to spend on free agents then at least invest in player development and retaining their own players. I don’t want to read about scouts quitting and resigning with Las Vegas.
    There is a ton of worth in the New York Mets. The Wilpons at least need a partner who knows how to generate revenue. (hint…it involves winning more then 74 games) Failure to do so means even more public humiliation. I promise to do my share.
  6. Steven May 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm
    I would be surprised if the Wilpons really care what the informed fans or the press think about them. At the end of the day, a winning team will fill the stadium and a losing team will keep it empty no matter who is the owner. The prestige of owning a team in the circle of the “1% in New York” (or really the .10%) is such that I doubt even the thought of billions will disuade Jeff from wanting to own the team. Owning a major league baseball team goes further in the social circles in which Jeff Wilpon seeks emulation than being a billionaire.
    • argonbunnies May 19, 2014 at 8:53 pm
      This sounds correct to me. At the same time, being “successful” in some fashion is also important to such folks, whether it’s winning games like a Steinbrenner or losing games while making billions like a Loria.

      I have no idea if attendance really figures that much into team owners’ profit margins, but if it does, then there’s hope that an empty stadium will cause the Wilpons to make some changes.

      Perhaps they’d settle for being hands-off owners after hiring a capable baseball-business guy as team President? Could a Stan Kasten type just tell them, “Here’s the budget, sign the checks, I promise this is the best way to get return on your investment”?

      • Dan42 May 20, 2014 at 4:37 am
        Only problems with that are the budget, and how to keep Jeffie away from the action. Most likely a lot depends on Selig’s successor, and the incredible shrinking balance sheet’s decay rate.