This is the End

March 19, 2012

There’s always next year.  Oh wait…there isn’t.

I’ve been pondering how to go about writing what needs to be written for many hours today.  All through the day the topic has been bandied about by every Mets insider and newspaper.   Everyone talking about either the financial numbers decided in today’s “lawsuit” or their predictions as to when the Mets payroll will come back to figures that resemble a major market baseball club.

Very few, if any, have discussed the real story here.  I suppose that my blog’s name gives me some sort of responsibility to yet again translate the real story that other sources somehow fail to mention.   I do not take this obligation lightly, and therefore wanted to ease my way into it.   Well,  here goes nothing.

Today, the New York Mets Ball Club died.  There.  I said it.  It had to be said.

Huddle closer dear reader.  You see, we Met fans did not witness any sort of victory this morning as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz exited the courthouse with their highly paid attorney to meet and greet the mass media.  No, we did not.  In fact, we experienced quite the contrary.  Magically, the Wilpons have escaped their wrong-doings with essentially a slap on their privileged wrists.  The numbers themselves, dissected with the precision of a neurosurgeon for most of the day today, are themselves meaningless.  Suffice it to say, all is fine and dandy in the land of the Wilpons.

Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz outside courthouse Be Gone With Wilpon

Fred and Saul are all smiles today. I am not, and neither should you.

 

Fred was quoted as saying, “Trying to bring the New York Mets back to prominence, that our fans deserve”.  I am not sure what that means exactly, as the Mets have not been a prominent franchise since Fred took over as sole owner back in 2002.   Sure there was 2006, but when you are a top 5 payroll team, you have to make the playoffs once in a while, don’t you?  Even if you underachieve along the way.

Ultimately, we are left to digest what this statement truly means.  This is where I come in to help make sense of it all.

The Mets have done little right from a baseball standpoint since Carlos Beltran struck out looking to a then underdog St. Louis Cardinals team.  They have developed little to no talent from their minor league system since the arrival of David Wright and Jose Reyes.  They have employed a general manager who not only came across as illiterate, but became the butt of all baseball jokes for some of his decision making on personnel.   They have created a new low for a sports medical staff in areas of incompetence and mismanagement of baseball (and non-baseball) related injuries, leaving us to wonder why they have employed the same doctors and trainers for so many years.  They have failed at any and every level to conceal news that shouldn’t be shared with the media, leaving us to wonder why they have employed the same public relations staff for so many years.  Oh wait, I just said that.  I think there may be a trend starting here.

Most importantly, before Bernie Madoff’s name was ever muttered by anyone who was not part of the financial world, the Mets were a failed franchise.  They had set a Major League record for largest regular season collapse by allowing a seven game lead with seventeen games remaining to disappear.  They have yet to smell the playoffs since then.  The Mets continued to spend money on the wrong players year after frustrating year, always culminating in the same result.  Failure.  The truth of the matter is, if resources were not the issue, then wouldn’t smart baseball people have cultivated a better result.  At the very least, wouldn’t they have sniffed the playoffs in one year since then?

The key term above is smart.  This is something that has severely lacked with the Mets over the past five years.  The Wilpons have continuously employed inept baseball people, not to mention in all other baseball related departments as well.  This may be due to the fact that the Wilpons portray themselves as “family-oriented” owners, whereby they hire friends and colleagues to fill their various posts.  Good baseball people with solid reputations?  No, that has never been on the Wilpon’s agenda.

Even when the Wilpons begin to reinvest moneys into the team in the coming years, is there anyone naive enough to believe that money alone buys championships?  This seems to be the only thing that anyone has been talking about today.  “All I care about is when they stop acting like  a small market team and start spending money on players.”  That is all well and good, however it is not what will make this team competitive.  Unless all of the areas I have discussed are corrected, none of that will matter in the least.

Today’s news unveiled one undeniable truth.  The Wilpons are here to stay, and stay they will.  With this now immovable albatross, I fail to see anything to get excited about at all.  To get as cynical as I can possibly get, I will profess that the Mets will never again make a World Series appearance, let alone win a championship.  Well, at least in both my and Jeff Wilpon’s lifetime.  Contrary to whatever drivel Mr. Wilpon spoke this morning outside his joyful courthouse, this is the absolute end of the New York Mets.

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Unbelievable.  If one word could sum up what has transpired recently, that would be the one.  Yesterday, it was reported that the Mets GM was taking jabs at Met ownership’s finances.  This comes from the same guy who was also recently quoted as saying, “We feel that we are going to be far more interesting to watch than most are anticipating.”  Maybe that was meant to be an indirect dig at the state of the Mets as well.  Perhaps it was a read between the lines sort of statement.

Regardless, Alderson was not pulling any punches when he tweeted, “Will have to drive carefully on trip; Mets only reimburse for gas at a downhill rate. Will try to coast all the way to FL.”  This has been the buzz on Twitter for the past 24 hours, and has seemingly taken on a life of its own.

Sandy Alderson Jokes Be Gone With Wilpon

Even Sandy Alderson can not contain his laughter when it comes to the financial state of Met ownership

One thing is certain.  The Mets PR department is more defenseless than ever when it comes to social media.  Not that they were very good at anything before social media became a prominent way to spread news and discussion either.

It becomes more and more clear by the day that the Wilpons face an uphill battle that holds little to no reward upon reaching its apex.  When the team’s GM has no choice but to attack the growing disdain for his financially strapped employers, where else can this really go?

The Mets enter the 2012 season as a virtual non-entity.  The only news that anyone creates or writes about is the upcoming hearings to be held in March.  If the Mets were not a New York professional sports team, they would be a complete afterthought.  Ticket sales will surely decrease to unheralded lows this year as well.  This will be extremely troublesome for the Wilpons, as they have publicly stated that they need the revenue from ticket sales to help them skate by financially this year.

All of this spells big trouble for the Wilpons and Mr. Katz.  However, as stubborn as this trio is, they will fight tooth and nail to hold onto majority ownership of the franchise.

How can they dig their way out you say?  Unfortunately, they have been afforded an escape hatch to this sinking ship.

ONE – Bud Selig,  Fred Wilpon’s friend and crony, had his reign as MLB commissioner extended recently.  Unlike the situation with the Dodgers and the McCourt’s, Selig will afford the Wilpons every opportunity to dig their way out of this debt.  He would even approve another loan or two if need be to keep his buddy in good standing.

TWO – The Mets have already found family and friends, the only people dumb enough to invest a collective $20 million, as minority owners.  This dough is being used to desperately pay off some outstanding loans, which will enable ownership to take out future loans in good standing when they need them next year and beyond.

THREE – The lawsuit pending has already taken a turn in the favor of the Wilpons.  The principal moneys that Irving Picard was pursuing in the Bernie Madoff case have already been dismissed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff in the United States District Court of Manhattan.  There are many sources who believe that the Mets may only be responsible for about $83.3 million.  If the Wilpons become responsible for only this amount (originally Picard was seeking $1 billion), they would achieve a stay of execution.  Once this occurs, the Wilpons will invest money back into the team in a matter of three to five years.  This will bring the fans back into the stadium and get them to start spending on everything from tickets to t-shirts to concessions once again.

Sounds rosy for the Wilpons and the Mets doesn’t it?

WRONG!

This scenario ensures that the Mets will continue to be run by inept baseball owners, whose only care in the world is the bottom line.  Unfortunately, this does not include a little thing called winning, regardless of how much they preach its importance to them.

Let us not forget that the Wilpons’ track record has been completely muddled with poor decision-making from the minor leagues on up to every post held for the big club over the past 25  years.

Finances aside, we can be assured that bone-head decisions will continue for years to come with the Wilpons at the helm.  We can also be assured that the Mets will never, ever win a World Series as long as the Wilpons remain in control.

This is true even if their GM stops cracking jokes publicly about them on social media outlets.

Let me first apologize for posting this article so damn late.  Blogging is not my only responsibility, and real life tends to get in the way from time to time.

Alas, I could not leave Mr. Wilpon’s asinine comments pass me by without reacting.  I do have a responsibility here as well, real life aside.

I am of the belief that every situation occurs for a reason, whether it be business, family, projects, or what have you.  When I post an article, I hold myself to rather high expectations that what I type will represent myself and my ideas accordingly.  If I am not in the proper frame of mind when I sit down to create that article, then I should smash the idea before I type a piece of crap to share with my readers.  Now, if I am foolish enough to continue at this juncture, then who do I have to blame?  Well, obviously no one but myself.  That would be the adult reaction.  Claim responsibility for one’s own actions.

On the other hand, I could use the childish approach that Mr. Wilpon saw fit to use weeks ago by saying that I was just “snakebit” at that moment, and I’ll just try again using the same methods that failed me to begin with.  It seems like such an obvious mistake to make when performing any sort of self-analysis.

Fred Wilpon  Be Gone With Wilpon

Fred Wilpon has grown weary of owning the Mets. Why won't he sell?

This makes me wonder.  Is the Wilpons’ decision making born from true arrogance, a “screw the world” sort of mentality?  If not, the only other answer would be a sheer lack of intelligence.  Beyond these two choices, we are left with no other explanation for the continued failures of this ownership.

I tend to believe that it is the former more so than the latter.  Fred Wilpon has reached a point in his life where he feels that he has demonstrated a certain level of competency and success within his trade.  Now that the heat is truly on him and his regime for their failures as owners, he decides to dismiss those who speak  badly about him, as well as play the blame game with everyone else inside his organization.  It is obviously a complete lack of patience being demonstrated here, and I do not see it improving much as we go forward.

This leads to the one true question.  If you are tired of all of this Fred, why not just sell?  Get out.  I’ll show you the door. It would make your final years that much more relaxing, wouldn’t it?  Not to mention a ray of hope for all beleaguered Met fans.

The horrible truth here is this.  Unless this lawsuit pending against the Wilpons and Saul Katz goes completely in favor of Mr. Picard and his cause, I firmly believe that the Wilpons will remain majority owners of the Mets for my lifetime, and beyond.  It is a depressing situation indeed for we Met fans, as I believe it is nothing but a pipe dream to believe that the Wilpons will have to pay back the principal investment they made to Bernie Madoff many years ago.

Well, we can always dream though, can’t we?  As Met fans, we are certainly used to that.