Some thoughts on the Mets
I’ve been a Mets fan most of my life. As I have grown older, it’s easier to see the team more as a business than a fun pastime, but I still enjoy watching a good game of baseball and the Mets, no matter how bad they are, will always be my team. Sadly, I have had to watch the current owners ruin what should be a profitable franchise because they lack the skills to run such a business.
Everyone knows that the Wilpons have little business sense. Everything about Bernie Madoff’s schemes screamed scam, but people want the quick buck so desperately that, if a friend comes and tells you that it’s legitimate, you’ll likely trust them with your money. Whether it was willful ignorance or not, the Wilpons were taken in by their friend, scammed, and left them holding the bag on some massive debt.
Given the fact that the Wilpons could not make a sound financial decision concerning Bernie Madoff, is it really a surprise that they are having financial difficulties with their baseball team? This is New York City. While many love the Yankees, you’ll find just as many who love the Mets. It’s not that hard to have your team be prosperous in such a city, yet, the Wilpons have managed to do so.
The worst part of it is that they cannot seem to bring themselves to the realization that they are inept at running the New York Mets and that it is time to sell the team. Even in the face of financial ruin, they cling to the team, dragging the franchise and the team base down with them. If they hold on to the team, even for a couple of more year, the destruction they cause will take decades to rebuild, even in a city such as New York.
The Wilpons relied on the Madoff phantom profits for years, leveraging the Mets by using those profits as collateral on loans. Just a few years ago, the Mets were valued at over a billion dollars. Today, it rests at a $750 million liability. If the Mets were a company, they would be bankrupt and, at the very least, the Wilpons would be ousted as incompetent CEOs. Instead, they are able to continue to take out loans from MLB that they can’t possibly afford to repay.
A severely restricted payroll for 2012 means that a decent product will likely not be on the field on opening day, nor will the farm system be restocked. Most of the players on the team are of AAAA quality. These players should be in AAA preparing for the major leagues or being called up in cases of injuries. They are not qualified, yet here they are. No one should expect any kind of results in 2012.
Until the Wilpons agree to outright sell the team, nothing is going to change. They cannot put up minority stakes in the team and expect that anyone is going to blindly accept their terms. Smart businessmen don’t work that way. Sadly, this will be the third year in a row that I will not pay for MLB Extra Innings. It’s a hefty amount to pay to watch your team lose every single night.