Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Thoughts on a Potential A-Rod Led Ownership

A friend of mine sent me a text asking me how I felt about the possibility of A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez being involved in a bid to purchase the Mets. My friend is a Yankees fan, and the question was clearly posed because he thought I might be offended by the thought of the former Yankee steroid pariah and his pop diva girlfriend owning my team.

I hated to disappoint my friend, but frankly it didn't bother me at all. It still remains to be seen if they're going to be able to pull enough investors into the deal to make it work, but if they do I can't imagine the Mets ownership situation being any worse than it is now. It's more than time for the Wilpons to pass control of the Mets to someone who is able to steer the club into a future that isn't constantly limited by the personal finances of the owner.

Of course, the big question is not who technically owns the team, which certainly won't be one single person. It's all going to come down to the decisions they make on who to put in charge and what resources will be available to those folks.

Frankly, I believe the jury is still out on whether current GM Brodie Van Wagenen is qualified to serve in that post. If we weren't in the midst of a pandemic I think this would have been quite a pivotal year for him. As it stands, a new ownership group will want to carefully evaluate what Van Wagenen is doing in the  background to build this organization. In fairness, of course,  they'll also have to take into account the finances with which he had to work.

Provided there are smart people in A-Rod's group that are invested in the long term success of the Mets when we slowly crawl back to something close to normal, I'm all for it.  They're going to have to make some tough calls going forward, but that's all the more reason I want someone making those calls that's actually going to be here 5-10 years down the road.

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A few more thoughts before I go:

Yesterday we talked about Japanese Baseball again postponing a potential start to the season. Despite that, next door in South Korea they're targeting May 5 to get their season underway. South Korea is way ahead of us as far as controlling the pandemic in their country, but it will be instructive to watch how they fare as we ponder some sort of return in this country.

I'm curious to see what type of testing regime that they will implement, and whether they are successful for any length of time in keeping the virus out of their game. I read that part of their plan will involve a lot of taking everyone's temperature, which is helpful, but not foolproof, in diagnosing COVD-19.  I will be curious to see how often they actually test players.

Without a vaccine that is still far off down the road we need a lot of testing to return to something between "normal" and what we have now.  Yet I read yesterday that the former FDA Commissioner says we're looking at September before there is broad-based testing available in the United States. That's a depressing and disappointing thought. We certainly can't wait until September or beyond to start opening things up again, so it seems likely that some sort of hybrid system that includes monitoring people's temperatures will be the protocol. I guess, in a way then, what they'll be doing to try to keep Korean ball open is what we might be seeing here.


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This article by Jeff Passan at ESPN says that the majority of teams will be looking to pay their operation staffs through May.  He lists 18 teams that have committed to this, the Mets are not one of them.  Then again, the Yankees and Dodgers aren't either.

I realize that not being on this list doesn't definitively mean that the Mets won't pay their staff.  I hope they do.

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Who says Mets and Yankees fans can't exist in harmony? Two fans, one from each New York club, have joined together to sue the clubs, MLB, and ticket resellers over their unwillingness to issue refunds.  All those parties claim that the season hasn't been cancelled, just postponed.

Seriously?

Nobody believes that fans will be in stadiums watching live games this year. Nobody.

I know it's going to be hard to issue those refunds, but a lot of folks have a greater need for their money these days than having it tied up in tickets that will not be used. If a fan doesn't want to be compensated by credits to a future season or game they need to be refunded.  Do you really want to make people think twice before committing to season ticket plans going forward?

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J.J Cooper at Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball is prepared to accede to MLB's demands to lower the number of minor league affiliates from 160 to 120 teams.  One of the cities that will be affected by this will be Binghamton, NY, where the Mets AA affiliate currently plays.

I'm sure this is something will talk more about going forward.  MLB has issued assurances that the affected cities will have some king of minor league ball going forward.  With less rounds in the drafts this year and next, there will be players available for an unaffiliated "Dream League" going forward.  I'm sure we'll talk more about all of this here in this space.

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Finally, I spotted this yesterday evening.  Louisville Slugger is shutting down their factory and furloughing the majority of their workforce. Of course this makes sense given the current pandemic, but it makes me profoundly sad that the iconic bat maker is going dark at a time in any other year when baseball should be just ramping up through all levels of the game.  Man, that just plain sucks.

Stay well, everyone.  I'll be back tomorrow.  Thanks for giving me some of your time today.


 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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