Thursday, July 9, 2020

Nutmeg Can Barely Contain Her Excitement

So today is the deadline for all first round bids on the Mets to be placed. I've had to drop out of the bidding, as I was told a four-figure offer just wasn't going to cut it. I tried sweetening the pot by offering up the world's laziest hound as a sweetener, but apparently that just wasn't enough to steer things my way. So I guess Nutmeg the wonder dog is stuck with me for a while more.

According to an article in the New York Post last night, the initial round of bidding will feature "indicative offers", which means the bids won't be binding. The purpose, apparently, is to see what the offers might be and, perhaps, weed out some of the lesser bidders. I kind of resent being dismissed like that, and Nutmeg was so angry about being passed over that she briefly woke up and shifted her position slightly. Trust me, that's a full-on temper tantrum for her, and the most movement we've seen out of her since a guest accidentally dropped their burger on the ground at a barbecue last summer.

Anyway, the next stage of the process will apparently include the Wilpons sharing full financials with the remaining bidders. You'll know that's happening when you hear shrieks of laughter coming from the executive offices at Citi Field. I'm told that anyone who bids over $2 billion will receive, as a bonus, a signed copy of President Trump's tax returns. The article notes that the clear favorite is Steve Cohen, who can outbid anyone else if he chooses. Plus, he no longer has to worry about Fred and Jeff staying in control for another five years and diminishing the value of the Mets any further than they've already done.

The idea is that we're still months away from a sale, but Charles Gasparino, the Fox Business Network reporter who has been breaking some news on the pending sale had a series of tweets about Cohen:
SCOOP (thread): As first-round bids for @Mets come due at COB today, people close to hedge fund billionaire Stevie Cohen say the team is his if talks w Wilpons progress and as other buyers indicating weaker-than- expected bids. Cohen's ppl are also trashing Met's weak financial position and may seek @SNYtv valued at $2 billion bringing the entire package to closer to $4 billion. As always, I am told the talks are fluid and deal w Cohen cld fall through or someone else could swoop in and buy the team for significantly more than $2 billion though that seems unlikely for now.
I would still think that, even if Cohen's offer was significantly higher than everyone else's, this is still going to drag on for some time. And then there is still the question of whether MLB will approve him. Besides being accused by the Wilpons of reneging on the original deal in February, there was the little matter of a $1.2 billion dollar fine he paid when his firm was implicated in an insider trading scandal. Supposedly the character of Bobby Axlerod on Showtime's Billions was inspired by Cohen, although, unlike Damian Lewis, Cohen doesn't have to use a fake New York accent to cover up his English accent.

I don't know, I've already read a few scolding articles on how bad Mets fans should feel about Steve Cohen buying the club. Apparently he doesn't stack up well with the other choirboy billionaires that own the other teams. Personally, I'm not going to feel any worse about Steve Cohen owning the Mets than any other rich guy buying the club. Nobody in that group has squeaky clean hands.

I had a friend of mine who is a lifelong Yankees fan break my stones about a potential Cohen purchase back when the original sale was being discussed. I just asked him if he remembered why George Steinbrenner was barred from baseball for "life" in 1990. As I recall, the suspension wasn't for being late for bible study. The hypocrisy was mind boggling.

Billionaire club owners are, sadly, a necessary evil for baseball fans. It's just the way the world works. All I can ask is that whichever mega-rich guy emerges from this process is more competent in running the Mets than the Wilpons.


In an interview with USA Today, umpire Joe West "expanded" on his comments on COVID-19.
Those statistics aren't accurate, I don’t care who's counting them. When country music [singer] Joe Diffie died, they said he died of the coronavirus. He had Stage 4 lung cancer. The coronavirus may have accelerated his death, but let's be realistic.
Our system is so messed up they have emptied hospitals because there’s no elective surgery. The government has been  giving these hospitals extra money if someone dies of the coronavirus. So everybody that dies is because of coronavirus. I don't care if you get hit by a car, it's coronavirus.
Look, I don't really care what Joe West thinks about anything. There's nothing about Joe West that feels very important to me, especially any opinions he forms with that itty-bitty, teeny-tiny brain. The real problem is that there are plenty of folks out there who have equally wacky opinions on the subject. Do you want to bet that there aren't a few ballplayers who believe something similar? Coaches? Trainers? Other folks who spend time around players?

In a voluntary system that is only as strong as its weakest links, it doesn't take all that many nutjobs to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. Or perhaps it will be a player like Cleveland's Franmil Reyes, who made decisions about social distancing and not wearing a mask that could have had consequences for everyone on his club, if he wasn't dumb enough to  be seen on social media. We're all worried that spiking COVID cases in parts of the country might sink this MLB season, but good old human stupidity could play a part, too.

That'll be it for me today. Thanks for stopping by here, hope you'll come back again soon. Please stay safe, be well and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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