Remember when there were all those rumors swirling about how much money the Mets had invested with Bernie Madoff, and how that could impact their ability to run the team? And the Wilpons kept saying, nope, it would have no effect at all? Well, today they issued a statement:
As Sterling Equities announced in December, we are engaged in discussions to settle a lawsuit brought against us and other Sterling partners and members ofour families by the Trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy. We are not permitted to comment on these confidential negotiations while they are ongoing.
However, to address the air of uncertainty created by this lawsuit, and to provide additional assurance that the New York Mets will continue to have the necessary resources to fully compete and win, we are looking at a number ofpotential options including the addition of one or more strategic partners. To explore this, we have retained Steve Greenberg, a Managing Director at Allen & Company, as our advisor.
Regardless of the outcome of this exploration, Sterling will remain the principal ownership group of the Mets and continue to control and manage the team’s operations. The Mets have been a major part of our families for more than 30 years and that is not going to change.
As Craig at Hardball Talk notes, this is pretty similar to what Tom Hicks said about his Rangers back in the day – and things didn’t quite work out the way he’d planned. Can the Mets find someone who’ll be willing to invest significant amounts of money without gaining any control? If not, would they consider selling the team outright, if they got the right offer?
Depending, of course, on who they might theoretically sell the team to, it could actually end up being a good thing for the Mets – the team has had certain issues over the years, with organization and finance and general PR, that have persisted regardless of who the GM or manager was. But in the short term, it’s not good news – it’s very hard for an organization to make bold moves, or to spend much money, when ownership is uncertain.
Start saving your money, gang! If we all put in $100…
Actually, I’ve had a longstanding fantasy about what I would do if I owned a baseball team. Note that even if I were to win the lottery, I STILL wouldn’t be able to afford to do that, but we’re just daydreaming here. I’d move a team to Brooklyn, where the Nets’ new eyesore of a Stadium is going (as long as we’re fantasizing), and keep ticket prices low, and have weird funny Bill Veeck-like promotions and giveaways, and sell lots of women’s team gear that wasn’t pink or sparkly, and hire as many knuckleballers and players with amusing names as possible, and…
Sorry, I got distracted. Point is, things will likely be pretty challenging in Flushing for the next few years.
Photo via Real Clear Sports