Smoke Stacks

I kept check swinging on this article.  The clarity of exactly where I wanted to go with it was not there, and I got very side tracked with the launch of our syndicated podcasts.  It has certainly not been very quiet in Mets land after a rather quiet off-season.  We at this site have talked a lot about how we understood that it was going to be a quiet hot stove season because that is exactly what Sandy Alderson laid out.  But far be it from the Mets to let the peacefulness last, and to not have an off the field soap opera put them back in the headlines.

Obviously, I am not breaking any stories here talking about the Mets financial mess.  Curiosity overtook me these last few weeks, and I decided to sit back to see how this process played out.  My first thoughts when the Mets held the impromptu press conference a few weeks to announce that they were seeking a minority owner to purchase 20-25% of the team for a cash infusion was this:  with this team and this ownership, where there is smoke, there is fire.

As disappointments have mounted on the field for the Mets and caused off the field fury for the fans, debates of pro/anti Wilpon are nothing new.  I always thought the nickname “Freddy Coupons” was a bit over the top and I never had a problem with the Wilpon’s spending.  Nik put it best when we spoke by saying, they just keep putting the wrong people in charge.  There has been a disconnect between ownership to front office to team personnel to players to fans.  It is the exact equivalent to a house with cracks in the foundation or a football team with a bad offensive line.  These are aspects that are often overlooked but that harmony between ownership all the way down lays the groundwork for success.

Nobody truly understands the scope of what exactly happened in this Madoff mess.  This whole thing was sort of like a tv drama subtly introducing a character who would have a profound affect on the storyline a little ways down the road.  We all knew the Mets owners were involved and reports varied that they lost hundreds of millions to they profited hundreds of millions.  Either way, it did not affect the payroll of the team.  So no matter what was written 0r talked about, it had no day to day affect on this team on the field, which is my only concern at the end of the day.

But with this announcement of looking into selling a chunk of the team, it has now hit a point where I think it really could take a toll on what happens to this team on the field.  In our podcasts, I have constantly stated my fear of Jose Reyes having an MVP type season and the Mets not re-signing him.  That was before this mess.  This regime (not Alderson) has had a penchant for being a media train wreck.  Anytime, the Wilpons have a press conference, I force myself to read between the lines and try to decipher what they are really saying.

Whether it be about ponzi schemes, or injuries, or off the field dramas, or having the new stadium be a shrine to the Brooklyn Dodgers, every single time there is a press conference or conference call or press release, it is ALWAYS worse than it was originally made out to be.  We could go on and on with a laundry list of examples….hell, we did on our podcast.  I want this ownership to be great and sound, and run the organization like the Giants or Steelers.  It has just been a comedy of errors, and in my heart of hearts, I believe this team will be completely sold by the end of 2011.

This ownership group loves owning the Mets and they are a stubborn bunch, so for them to announce intentions to sell a chunk of the team, I have to believe that things are so much worse than anybody could imagine.  I have to believe that they truly believe that they are going to have to settle with the trustee or face a lengthy court battle where they could lose millions.  I do not try to pretend to understand all the financials of what they are involved in with this mess, but again, where there is smoke there is fire.

They obviously were not going to come out and say they want to sell the whole team because they are about to lose their shirt in a ponzi scheme settlement and completely take away leverage.  I am sure they are still hopeful that they can figure out a way to make this mess go away and keep majority of the team, but I have to believe that somebody or some group with deep pockets will make them the Godfather offer for the Mets.  Despite the downslide this team is mired in, between the city, the stadium, the network and a fan base that is loyal to a fault, the Mets are an extremely attractive commodity.

Spring training and games that count in just a few months might push this story to the background, but this will be a continued theme all season.   This is not to push an agenda of getting the Wilpons out or anything like that.  The only goal that every Mets fan will agree with, is to have whatever scenario means this team is financially and operationally healthy moving forward.  The right man (Alderson) is in place to right this ship over the next 5 years.  And maybe the Wilpons have made the right hire and they get out of this absolute mess and get the World Series trophy back to Flushing.

But the smoke to this fire is still billowing pretty visibly…..


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