Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Saga Continues

There was an interesting Joel Sherman piece in the New York Post today about A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez still holding onto some hopes that they could get the Mets away from Steve Cohen. This comes a few days after another article in the Post quoted furious accusations from Rodriguez that the bidding had been rigged for Steve Cohen to win. Previous articles over the past month from the Post and other sources indicated that the Wilpons hated Cohen and wanted A-Rod's group to win if they came even close to Cohen's bid. Clearly not all of those things could have been true simultaneously, but yeah sure, whatever.

There were reports in a couple of places that the deal was essentially done, including a Joe Pantorno tweet that I embedded in yesterday's post. This one from SNY tweeted out earlier today is a bit less definitive about a deal being concluded:

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm very much at the place where I want it all to be over. I'm kind of feeling that way about the season, too, as the Mets put forth another dismal effort against the Orioles as they dropped back down to 5 games under .500. It's like those two wins in the middle of the Phillies series never happened, as the Mets seem committed to giving the tail end of the Wilpon era the futility it deserves. The bit of chaos A-Rod is bringing to the closing chapter of the team's sale seems somehow fitting, also.

I have some honest sympathy for Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez in this whole deal, no matter what the truth is regarding why their bid came up short. Coming up short of what you wanted leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Any Mets fan who has spent the last decade-plus watching the club he or she roots for come up short again and again and again can identify with the bitterness of watching your hopes die. There's no participation trophy for the fans of a large market club so poorly run by their penurious owners. There's none for coming up short in trying to purchase that ballclub, either. I understand the bitterness. The only participation trophy in this whole deal goes to the Wilpons: over $2 billion dollars as a consolation prize for being forced to unload the ballclub that their mismanagement turned into a punchline. It's hard to see the justice.

At any rate, as Sherman reports, Alex and Jennifer aren't going to give up on their bid until the ink is dry and MLB owners approve Steve Cohen as the new owner. That supposedly won't happen until November at the owners' meeting. Of course, in his own way, Alex Rodriguez is at least as controversial a figure as Cohen, and most of A-Rod's infamy comes directly from baseball. To that end, Jennifer Lopez has let it be known that she, not A-Rod, would be the control person for the team. The pair also let it be known how serious they were about turning the Mets around:
Rodriguez nevertheless would be heavily involved in baseball operations. He felt that his passion and knowledge would provide the Mets insight into picking and securing players, with the goal of not playing second fiddle baseball wise in New York or in the whole sport. To that end, Rodriguez said about $300 million that was not part of the sale price already was set aside so that the Mets would not be in financial distress initially and would be able to compete for the best players. The goal was to push the payroll toward $225 million and win a World Series within a decade or donate $100 million to New York charities.
I appreciate the willingness to be accountable. I wonder, however, if $300 million put aside is enough to ensure they are able to push the payroll to $225 million. The new owner would be taking on the considerable stadium debt that has been refinanced previously. A-Rod's group was borrowing a considerable chunk of the purchase price, and that has to be paid back. There are current debts and the thought that next year might be a challenge, also. $300 million put aside just might not get you there. Hopefully, Cohen gets approved and we don't have to revisit this at a future date.

That's it for me this evening. Please stay safe, be well and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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