By Taryn “The Coop” Cooper
Being a season ticket holder with the Mets has its “perks.” I can get club access no matter where I sit in the park. I can get a discount on parking (if I only had a car and didn’t prefer taking mass transit there anyway). I can get a personalized jersey. I take CitiField tours for free. Last year, I was able to take the field with a player, and Scott Hairston was chosen for me. I took the field for batting practice before a game. I know some people who TOOK batting practice with some of them. I’ve had meals with players and Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins in the same room. I could even win things like a luxury box game with Tom Seaver and his vintage wines, or a seat the Mets Welcome Home Dinner. I’m sure if I ask, I can get things like special access at spring training games.
Even by just going to games, I have things like access to Mr. Met at the Kiddie Field area!
And if I spend $20 million for a minority share, I don’t get much more than that.
I knew when this story with the NY Times hit the wires last night, mountains would made of molehills. In a way too, the Mets kind of have a bullseye target on them for anything they do. In a sense, with this whole minority purchase auction that is going on, from David Einhorn to backing out of that deal to getting Yankee-like “silent investors” (whom I pretty sure don’t have personalized business cards from Office Depot that say “Owner” on them), it’s hard not to scrutinize. We can either say “they’re not getting the interest in the deal” that Jeff Wilpon is so certain there is demand for, or for all we know this is par for the course for these types of investors.
Call me crazy though, if I’m throwing $20 million into a black hole, I’m sure it’s not going to be so I can get a picture with Mr. Met or take batting practice with the team I am invested in. No, if I’m an investor, I want a RETURN ON MY INVESTMENT, and not to bail out a bunch of idiotic rich dudes who got fleeced by a Ponzi scheme.
The reason WHY the Sterling consortium holds the Mets is simple: they want to be cool. His whole life, Fred Wilpon has been cool by proxy. His best friend growing was some dude named Sandy Koufax who played for the “neighborhood” team and became a Hall of Fame pitcher. He was a real estate investor who was fortunate enough to have a successful enterprise with his business partner and brother-in-law. He could have stopped there, but then he got involved as one of these minority investors in the new neighborhood baseball team, the Mets. Wilpon had the worst syndrome of it all though: he started to believe his own hype. He truly believes he IS the Mets.
But here’s the thing, okay: Fred Wilpon his entire life has tried to remain “cool,” so by being the majority owner of the team and keeping it in the family, he’s the coolest kid of them all.
I am not an investor nor do I have $20 million lying around. What I do know is that if I did have access to this, I wouldn’t want to do this to be “cool.” And I’d certainly want a few more “perks” than what a schmoe season ticket holder will get by spending $5000 a year. Big difference in amount of zeroes there, right?
The date on the calendar may be December 21, but leave it to Mets news to provide us a little Christmas Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve festivities by having this story leak to the public. Let’s be fair: the Mets will only allow news that they think makes them look favorable, only to see it blow up in their face. Again, I have no idea who minority investors are for other teams, nor do I care. I only want to know how it effects my team. Seriously, are they going on a PR campaign to say “You TOO can have a Shake Shack Burger* with Mr. Met!”
*That you’ll be paying for
So when I first read the NY Times article, I thought it was satire. Was Richard Sandomir really a journalist disguised as Jonathan Swift?
I just thought to myself, “Why on earth is this news?” I guess I wasn’t the only one. The Christmas-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve festivities have come in the form of Twitter and instant gratification type of ideas called #metsminorityownerperks. Some of the favorites have been by our own Hemingway of the Mets world, Greg Prince, who said “If you misspell ‘Horwitz’ as ‘Horowitz’ Jay promises to spell it your way #metsminorityownerperks,” or “You’re the answer to Acela trivia, you present the prize, you’re the recipient, you must use by 5th inning #metsminorityownerperks.” Of course, Greg regales us over at his site Faith and Fear in Flushing with his own satirical piece Mets Fan Club For Minority Owners.
Rusty Jr from Real Dirty Mets had “Mets trainer Ray Ramirez will personally diagnose your medically related symptoms #metsminorityownerperks.” Steve Keane from Kranepool Society: “Lawn care tips from recently retired Mets head groundskeeper Pete Flynn #metsminorityownerperks.” Our own Rob Z: “Attend Ritual Book Burning of Howard Megdal’s “Wilpon’s Follies” at Wilpon Estate. (Note: Just Deleting File) #metsminorityownerperks.” From Brad J @BlueandOrange: “Make unlimited dugout to dugout calls from the bullpen phone. #metsminorityownerperks.”
Some of the best reactions have been on Facebook, such as Rob Z who said it was like a “diamond club perk.” Poster YaGottaBelieve says, “$20 Million Can Buy Quality Time With Mr. Met???? It’s like they’re offering a free balloon animal with every purchase. Good GRIEF just sell it ALL already.” Metscellaneous Dee? “The only thing they’re perking is bad cup of coffee.” Lastly, Gal for all Seasons (aka, me) says “They can’t afford me,” to concerned fan Senor Solly when he suggests that Coop should be GM.
So yes, we’re four days away from Christmas, but leave it to the Mets to give us something to laugh about and make us even closer as a tight-knit community of fans. We’ve all survived a lot of things together, and it’s this deep in the trenches humor that has allowed me to stay over the years, even when stupid stuff like this hits the wires.