Recently, the N.Y. Mets organization has come out to say to anyone that will listen that the Wilpon’s dealings with pyramid scheme artist Bernie Madoff have not hurt the team and won’t affect the day-to-day operations.
Memo to Jeff, Fred… No one believes you.
While I totally agree that the repercussions from this scandal will drag out over the next several years and that the Wilpon’s were the victim in this matter, don’t believe the PR spin that is coming out of Citi Field these days.
In fact, it is a good thing the Mets reside in Flushing, NY because you can flush all of this stuff right down the toilet.
Currently, the complaint filed by the special trustee overseeing the return of the money has filed paperwork to get it back. The complaint is sealed, so we don’t know the amount being asked to be returned. But with the Wilpon’s seeking to bring in $200-$250 million from a minority partner, you can bet that the amount they expect to lose is in the hundreds of millions.
Yet, new Mets GM Sandy Alderson says the Madoff case won’t affect the day-to-day operations of the team. Hello Sandy, it already has.
The Mets organization has been on a downward spiral for the last couple of seasons, both on the field and off. They have become almost an afterthought in the NL East, where the Phillies are currently on a 1990’s Braves-type of roll. The Braves have reloaded with young talent. The Marlins keep producing young talent. And the Nationals are trying to spend become relevant.
Then, there are the Mets.
Removing Omar Minaya from the Gm’s slot was a couple of years overdue. From a wretched farm system to Tony Bernazard’s tirade in a Minor League clubhouse, this organization has been dysfunctional, at the least.
Throw in some millions of dollars spent unwisely (see Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo) and the Mets have had to rely on the likes of R.A. Dickey to keep the team afloat. And now, the stadium is even taking hits as the Standard and Poor’s ratings service has downgraded the bonds used to finance the stadium to “junk” status. Some say this is because of the changes made to the stadium. I firmly believe it ends up being tied in to the Wilpon’s troubles with the Madoff scandal.
Look at the facts. The Mets aren’t going to contend for the playoffs any time soon, which means attendance at a stadium with overpriced seating is going to be much lower than expected. Less fans means less revenue and less money to spend on free agents or Minor League players.
And sure, the payroll will be higher ($133 mil) in 2011 than it was a year ago ($129 mil), but you get the sense that the Mets will be sellers on the trade market as soon as they can find a taker for contracts like Castillo, Perez and Carlos Beltran.
See how it all ties in. The involvement of the Wilpon’s in the Madoff scandal will affect the Mets for at least the next five years.