New York Mets Offseason Nuggets: Financial Issues, Dickey, All-Star Game

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     Hello fans, welcome on back for another edition of the Queens Courier New York Mets blog! Well, for the past number of weeks, all the talk on the New York sports scene surrounded the New York Jets. All day and all night, all you heard about was the Jets relentless drive towards Superbowl XLV. All the attention was directly solely on football, and baseball was buried deep inside the back seat. Well, that is certainly no longer the case, for a surprise announcement by Mets owner Fred Wilpon changed all that for good on Friday.

     Unless you’ve been out of touch with the world for a couple of days, you’ve obviously heard by now what’s going on regarding our beloved ballclub. But just in case, here are the facts. The Wilpon family is currently exploring the possibility of selling a 20-25% share of the Mets to an outside buyer. Reasoning? That would be a lawsuit against the Wilpons – who actually profited from Bernard Madoff’s notorious hoodwinking – from a Madoff family trustee, Irving Picard, seeking to regain some of the money he lost thanks to the disgraced financier’s Ponzi scheme. Let’s pause right there for a moment and examine the facts. What should we take from this? First and foremost, greed is a disgusting addiction that will imprison anyone who gets involved with it. Greed, gluttony, overindulgence, Jabba the Huttness, please try to avoid it at all costs. Look at Mark Madoff and how he tragically ended his life on account of his father’s swindling. Look at how Bernie now has to spend the remainder of his days in a cell block. And look at how many lives he has affected and/or ruined, a la the Wilpon family, who now can’t afford to own 100% of their ballclub anymore.

     Another lesson learned, is that we really can’t take the Wilpon’s word seriously, no matter what the topic may be. In September of ’09, it was stated that the Ponzi scheme in no way affected the Wilpon’s ownership of the New York Met ballclub, and that no part of the team was up for sale. While it’s true the verb used was exploring in relation to their potential search for a minority shareowner, the fact that they’re doing just that makes them sound completely contradictory and makes us wonder if they’re ever capable of telling the truth. I think it’s a safe bet to say that the Wilpon’s current financial situation is worse than they are letting the public believe, and as a result, they just can’t afford to pay the money Picard is seeking and have 100% ownership of the Mets at the same time. Something’s got to give, and that something is a sacrifice on the part of the Wilpon family.

     So, what does this mean for our favorite baseball team? Well, let’s refrain from jumping the gun just yet, OK? Nothing has happened thus far, so therefore my feelings regarding the club won’t change either. I’m not a business/money/financial buff by any stretch of the imagination, but who knows; maybe a new presence isn’t the worst thing in the world. Despite owning a share of the Mets since 1980, the Wilpons only became really significant in November of 1986, when they bought a 50% stake of the team. That’s just after the ’86 team brought home the World Series trophy. How many titles has the team won since? Have the Wilpons really accomplished their goal? So hey, maybe a new voice won’t be such a bad thing after all. Potentially interested investors are making themselves known already, including Martin Luther King III, son of the acclaimed civil rights movement leader, and also vodka bigwig Martin Silver has expressed interest as well. But as of now, all I’m really concerned with is spring training getting underway, finalizing our 25-man roster, and counting down the days until meaningful baseball games are here again. Nothing notable has really gone down yet in regards to the Wilpon’s announcement of exploration, so I can’t devote too many of my thoughts to it at the present time. I’ll play it by ear, and take new developments with the situation as they come along.

     And now wrapping up the Mets financial news of the week, the Mets agreed to a 2-year contract with knuckleballer starting pitcher RA Dickey. The deal will pay Dickey 7.5 million dollars over the length of the deal. I like it, I do. Is it a bit of a gamble? Surely the answer is yes. Dickey was phenomenal in his 27 games – all but 1 were starts – with us last year, going 11-9 with a sparkling 2.84 ERA in 174.1 innings pitched. The thing is of course, Dickey is going to be 36 for the better part of next season, and has never ever exhibited the type of stuff he displayed last year in his career. Can he do it again, or was last year just a one-year wonder where everything happened to just click perfectly? The money’s not over the top, save that idiom for the contracts Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo currently possess. You know, the ones that are really hindering the Mets badly in the payroll department. But Dickey more than deserves an opportunity to prove last year was no fluke, and if he can replicate anything like the season he had last year, the deal will easily become a bargain. Best of luck to you Robert Alan! And honestly, I had no idea what RA stood for until I wikipedia’d it just now! I always just referred to him as Resident Assistant Dickey…heh, guess I got to quit doing that. But I probably won’t!

     And finally, let’s get away from all things money related, and drop some news that has been long, long overdue in my estimation. Citi Field has been reported by a vast number of sources to be the venue hosting the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. Of course, Major League Baseball themselves haven’t confirmed the news, but I think enough reporters are announcing it where I trust that it’s the truth. And it’s about time. The Mets last and only hosting of the Mid-Summer Classic was back in 1964, Shea Stadium’s inaugural year. The Mets currently own the biggest All-Star Game hosting drought in MLB history, so I think it’s certainly time to snap that. Though I, and I’m sure countless others, have a special place in their heart for Shea Stadium – just writing this now makes me sad that I’ll never sit and watch a game there again – it was far less "state of the art" than other stadiums were as time went by, and it also didn’t hold the historical significance that other ballparks like Old Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park had and still have. But, times are different now. The Mets now own a beautiful stadium in Citi Field, and I’m just excited to see my hometown team host one of the most well-known events on the Major League Baseball calendar. The real challenge? Getting a reasonably priced ticket! Fat chance, I know, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it!

     Lots of news, so I expect lots of opinion from everyone! Speak your mind Met fans, what do you have to say? Any thoughts or worries concerning the Mets ownership/financial situation? What do you guys think about RA Dickey’s new contract? And are you excited that the 2013 All-Star Game is finally returning to Flushing, Queens? Sound off in the comment section below, and as always my dear friends, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my blog!