Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Mets Sale and Other Tales from the Darkside

Sheldon Adelson preparing to dine
on the tortured souls of Mets fans
Even as the Major League Baseball season, such as it is, gets ready to launch this week, the ongoing saga of the Mets sale still dominates the local news. It makes sense, really. If you're covering baseball in this town it's a huge story - much bigger than the shocking revelations that Jed Lowrie will begin the season on the disabled list. I mean really, who saw that coming?

What's amusing to me, at least, is all of the contradictory stories that come up. Some pundit boldly asserts that Sheldon Adelson is part of a bid to buy the Mets. His wealth makes Steve Cohen's net worth look like some kid's allowance. Then we find out that he's not interested in the Mets at all, he just wants to see a casino raised up above all of the chop shops in Willet's Point. And we're considering this because, nowadays, building a casino somewhere seems to be a prescription to revitalize any downtrodden area.

I just have this vision of some Dad taking his kids to a lovely Sunday day game at Citi Field, and then stopping by the casino on the way home and losing next month's grocery money while he's showing the kids how to bet on an eight the hard way.

What would really make it awesome is if the casino could be baseball themed in the same way Foxwoods has Native American themes. You could have Home Run Slots, the barmaids could wear outfits based on A League of Their Own, and we could have a bunch of guys with binoculars and Astros hats keeping an eye on everything. Too bad the place wasn't opening this year, they could give Jed Lowrie a job running the valet parking and try to make him earn some of that $10 million. They just half to be careful not to ask him to do anything that would aggravate one of his many existing injuries - basically anything that required walking or standing.

I do understand that if you're going to try to make the area around Citi Field a destination you have to have something more exiting than just baseball. I just wish it was something that wasn't going to potentially trigger gambling addictions among some Mets fans. We all have enough troubles already just being, you know, Mets fans. May I suggest human sacrifice as an exciting alternative to gambling? We could pick one person at random every home game - picked out of that lovely pool of dudes who show up at Mets games wearing their Yankees gear and parade around the ballpark. Trust me, nobody would even miss them.

Perhaps anticipating that Steve Cohen still seems likely to be the highest bidder, people in Alex Rodriguez's MLM downline have been spending a lot of time accusing Steve Cohen of being a cheater based on the huge fine his firm had the pay for being caught doing insider trading, and asking if the MLB really wants a cheater owning one of their teams.

A couple of points here. One, if your group is fronted by Alex Rodriguez, do you really want to have a conversation about cheating and lying? I mean, seriously. It hasn't been that long since Alex quit playing. Even people like myself that don't get drawn into picking heroes and villains from the steroid era are under no illusions about A-Rod's tendency to play fast and loose with the truth. He was a hell of a ballplayer for a long time, but he's not a role model for most people's kids. My second point is that MLB's owners are hardly a group of boy scouts. When you get up to the income level that can buy you a major league baseball team, you have some skeletons in your closet, too. I doubt if either Cohen or A-Rod would be the worst human being out of that group.

The other argument that different voices from the Lopez/Rodriguez group have been making concerns the lack of minority ownership in baseball. That's a much more valid argument. If A-Rod's group is close to Cohen's bid they should certainly get preference. I honestly don't care who owns the club going forward. I just care that they're not so overburdened with debt that they become the Wilpons 2.0. I'm really not obsessed with getting someone that's willing to spend money indiscriminately, I just don't want another owner who can't afford to run a franchise.

Self-promotion and PR savviness are important ingredients of running a franchise, and the huge PR blitz that the Lopez/Rodriguez group have pulled off over the past few weeks has been really impressive. If they have enough capital to weather the storm of the next couple of years and make it through the period of years that it will take to build up their vision around the ballpark, then I am fine with them winning. If Cohen is in a better position to turn this franchise around then I'm fine with him buying the team. Frankly, I'm find with anyone willing to run this club in a professional manner that helps the team to succeed and makes the team the story, not the owner.

Okay, I'm out for today. Please stay safe, be well and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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