Tag: selig

MLB Needs to Decide What the All-Star Game Is

Wright made the 2012 All-Star team, but not as a starter.

The 2012 All-Star Rosters were announced today, and the Mets will have two representatives.  R.A. Dickey and David Wright will join manager Terry Collins (who was selected to Tony LaRussa’s coaching staff) in Kansas City.

The big news for Mets fans is the fact that Pablo Sandoval of the Giants beat out Wright in the fan voting by 1.6 million votes.  Wright had been leading in the voting up until the last couple of days.

But fan voting is an important part of the All-Star Game.  After all, the fans should vote for the players they want to see, since it is an exhibition game held for the fans.

Wait…is it?  I thought “it counted this time.”

In 2002, the All-Star Game finished in a 7-7 tie in the 11th inning, when each manager simply ran out of players.  Because that’s what you did in an All-Star Game: get as many players in the game as possible.  Why?  So the fans of each team could see their men compete in the Summer Classic, that’s why.  Admit it, it was  a thrill to see Lee Mazzilli play in the 1979 All-Star game.  He even tied the game with a home run, and drove in the eventual game-winning run with a bases-loaded walk.  He somehow didn’t win the MVP, mostly because a more popular player (Dave Parker) from a winning team (the Pirates) threw a guy out at home.


Mets to Host All-Star Game in 2013

Today, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Mets owner Fred Wilpon announced that the  All-Star Game is coming to Citi Field on July 16, 2013.

It will mark the first time the ASG has come to Queens since Shea Stadium’s inaugural season in 1964.  In that game Johnny Callison hit a walk-off home run to give the National League a 7-4 victory.

“The Mets have been great; this is really a very, very happy day,” Selig said. “I know for the citizens of this great city and state, they will enjoy this immensely.”

Wilpon joked that he wished Selig would let him host the World Series at Citi as well.


Blog Roundup: Christmas in Metsville

The Mets held their annual Christmas get-together at Citi Field, Bud Selig gave the Mets an early gift, and Ronny Paulino got coal in his stocking.  Daniel Murphy managed to avoid injury while playing Santa, and Fred and Jeff Wilpon were great as the Grinch and his dog – and they didn’t even wear costumes!

And the Blogs are spreading some cheer:

  • Mets Police has some pics from the holiday party, and was live-tweeting the event on-location from Citi.
  • Always Amazin’proposes Hong-Chi Kuo as the man to add some left-handed depth to the Mets’ bullpen.
  • Mets Cetera has the transcript from a revealing interview with Sandy Alderson.
  • Patrick Flood goes through the Mets tender/non-tender moves, and suggests further moves for 2012.
  • Amazin’ Avenue thinks Commissioner Bud Selig has been too soft on the Wilpons.
  • 7 Train to Shea was at the winter meetings, and saw Jose Reyes in a Marlins uniform firsthand.  7 Train to Shea’s therapist rejoices.

The holiday season has just begun, and Mets Today is the gift that keeps on giving.


Mets Borrowed 25 Million from MLB

Honestly, I thought we could go a week without another off-field bombshell … but unfortunately, the latest news that the New York Mets borrowed money from the MLB coffers as recently as December cannot be ignored.

Major League Baseball provided $25 million to the owners of the Mets as they struggled to deal with a cash shortfall last fall and a looming lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s vast Ponzi scheme, according to two people briefed on the arrangement.

The direct intervention of Commissioner Bud Selig to help sustain the operations of the franchise — confirmed by the Mets on Friday — is perhaps the most striking evidence yet of the financial distress that for many months has plagued the team’s owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz.

So it’s not bad enough that the Mets are in the middle of the Madoff scandal — they’re also in dire financial straits. Hmm … dire straits … money for nothing … oh me and my silly puns …

Seriously, this information would explain the Mets’ sudden need to obsess over payroll, after years of spending freely. You can talk all you want about the payroll budget being too high and it not being necessary to field a winning team, but that was never the point. The point was that the Mets, over the past few years, repeatedly claimed that the payroll was flexible, and in fact said there was still room after signing Jason Bay last winter. That tune changed swiftly this past fall.

The Mets have exhausted baseball’s standard bank line of credit, tens of millions of dollars that Mr. Selig and the sport’s owners make available to teams for a variety of reasons in the course of a year. The owners also have more than $400 million in debt on the team. Thus, the additional money provided by Mr. Selig — done in secret last November — might have been crucial in keeping the club functioning.

Is it a coincidence that the Mets took this “secret loan” from Selig at around the same time Sandy Alderson — who was recommended by Selig — was named the Mets GM?

By the way, Fred Wilpon is not denying that there was a loan — but the rest of MLB didn’t know about it until recently:

“We said in October that we expected to have a short-term liquidity issue. To address this, we did receive a loan from Major League Baseball in November. Beyond that, we will not discuss the matter any further.”

One team executive in baseball said that the Mets had not yet repaid the loan, and that Mr. Selig had informed baseball’s executive committee of the loan only last month.

Sooo … the Mets owe some $400M to banks for various debts and another $25M to MLB. That said, selling a 25% stake in the team — about $200M or so — isn’t going to cover even HALF of their total debt. It appears that the Wilpons will need to sell a much more substantial piece of the team. Add in the fact that it also appears that the team currently has trouble getting money via traditional avenues and you realize that the Wilpons have very little leverage in making a sale.

“The fact that the loan is coming from baseball would be a jarring event because, as with the Texas Rangers, the league is effectively a lender of last resort,” said Marc Ganis, a sports industry consultant. “It would indicate the team cannot get loans from normal commercial sources, which could be taken as a sign of very significant problems.”

There’s one more fly in the ointment that isn’t going to please the banks and won’t help the Mets’ line of credit:

Baseball, in involving itself with struggling franchises, enjoys a powerful status. In the event of a bankruptcy, it gets its loans repaid first — ahead of banks, and perhaps even Mr. Picard, the Madoff trustee.

I would imagine that a baseball team is similar to any other privately funded business, in that its ability to acquire loans and have “good credit” is critical to keeping things going and in future success — particularly in distressed economic times, when revenues are lower. These factors certainly play into a prospective buyer’s decision process as well as at the negotiating table during a purchase. Which would explain why there has been so little interest in finding buyers for the team.

One last quote from that NYT article:

According to one person briefed on baseball’s involvement with the troubles of the Mets, the club has faced cash shortfall issues for at least a year.

If that’s true, it suggest that the team is having trouble generating revenue even after opening one of the newest, most expensive, fully featured ballparks in the largest market in the country. Again, not a piece of info that attracts potential buyers.

This team is in deep financial doo-doo, independent of the Madoff suit. And things won’t change until new ownership takes over the team.