For those of you out there pining for an accelerated end to the Wilpon era in Flushing, your wait may be painfully slow. With the recent damaging allegations unearthed following the unsealing of the lawsuit filed against Sterling Equities by the Bernard Madoff Trustees, it was thought that the Fred and Jeff Wilpon and partner Saul Katz were a doomed trio. While that still may be the case eventually, it seems the Mets have a titanic trump card in their hand….the cozy relationship between MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Fred Wilpon.
Here is Ken Rosenthal and John Paul Morosi’s fascinating piece just posted on FoxSports.com detailing the bond between the Mets owner and the longtime commissioner. Let’s not forget who Bud Selig was before he took over for Fay Vincent in 1992 as “acting commissioner”. He was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers for over 20 years and so this line from the above column should come as no surprise: “He’s as close to Fred as he is to anybody in the game,” one former baseball executive says.
What this says to me and what Rosenthal and Morosi outlined so splendidly in their story is that Selig is going to do all he can to keep the Wilpon’s in charge of the New York Mets for years to come. Of course, depending on the outcome of the Madoff lawsuit and the collateral damage it does to the Wilpon’s reputation and wallet, supporting them could become impossible. As the article points out in anonymous quote from a longtime baseball official, the friendship between Selig and Wilpon “isn’t going to stand in the way of Bud protecting the financial strength of the industry.”
Obviously, this is all so fresh and there is surely much more information and evidence that will surface in the coming days and months. As the commissioner and the courts and the other parties involved continue to gather facts and formulate their strategies, where does that leave you the fan?
As we all know, there are few more loyal fanbases than that of the New York Mets. You want nothing more than to see your team succeed on the field and be able to go out to the ballpark and enjoy all the game of baseball has to offer. Unfortunately, I say this to you….The only way you guys and gals can affect this scenario and get your wish of seeing the Fred, Jeff and Saul disappear, is to not show up at Citi Field. As difficult as this might be to swallow, considering the pleasure we all derive (some of the time) from going out to Queens and watching America’s pastime, this is how the fans can deal the final death blow to the Wilpon’s. Clearly, if you take away their revenue stream, no matter what happens with the lawsuit, they will be doomed.
Indeed these are sad times for all of us. Regardless of your feelings about Fred and Jeff and how they have run the Mets, nobody wanted to see things take shape like they have. I guess the only saving grace is that when pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie on Wednesday, we’ll have some actual baseball to complain about and feel sad about, rather than lawsuits and Ponzi Schemes. Amen to that.
On a side note, I will be headed down to Florida a week from tomorrow for my annual spring training trip and hopefully will have some good stuff to report in this space when I get back to NY.