So it’s the day after the Superbowl, and I’m taking stock of my teams. The end of football presents me with a grim situation. Rangers – four game losing streak, slipping in the standings. The Mets . . . alas, poor Mets.
Fred Wilpon, primary owner and Douschebag-In-Chief of the New York Mets, is the target of a lawsuit seeking to recover losses for some of those duped in Bernie Madoff’s infamous ponzi scheme. The lawsuit also names Wilpon’s partners – his ne’er-do-well son, Jeff, and his brother-in-law Saul Katz. First reported by CNBC over a month ago, the story has blown up since, with accusations of Wilpon’s complicity in Madoff’s scheme and growing sums of money emerging.
Nice take by Ian O’Connor at ESPN.com. So pretty much, the Mets owners are either guilty in a criminal sense, or they are guilty of being ignorant rubes.
Either way, the Mets are screwed. The franchise, their fans – totally screwed. Will be for a long time.
Let us not forget Wilpon gained sole ownership of the Mets under surreptitious circumstances. The short version is, Wilpon swindled Nelson Doubleday out of his ownership stake. Given that historic example, it would not surprise me if it comes out that Wilpon and his partners were engaging in criminal activity.
On the other hand, Wilpon’s mismanagement of the team could be considered criminal.
When Wilpon assumed control of the Mets there was great potential – a solid revenue base, located in America’s largest media market, with their own cable channel, and a World Series appearance only two years in the rearview mirror. The decade following Wilpon’s ascension to ownership has seen him and his partners presiding over an unending series of poor decisions, turning the team into a perennial also-ran while squandering the revenue potential of the New York market. They have run the team into the ground.
This season already was in shambles before the announcement of the lawsuit. Large cash commitments to placeholders Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo, coupled with complete absence of an attempt at improvement through the free-agent market, demonstrated to fans that management had chalked up the 2011 season as a loss before it began.
The current ownership has a track record of continued incompetence and incomprehension on the field. Now it seems it’s also the case off the field, and has been so for a while. I think Wilpon’s time has come – Mets fans’ best-case scenario is for a new, more competent, regime to step in.