Not for sale? No more Steve Cohen and his megabucks? It’s just the New York Mets’ latest never-ending chapter of life.
What’s going on here? This columnist refers again to Dick Young, the late New York sports scribe who always conjured up the right words. And what’s going on—at least, as of late—is the New York Mets’ ownership fiasco of a mess.
Have we not seen this mess more than once with The Wilpons? It’s becoming old news in their so-called quest to sell shares, or a majority of them, to an outsider.
Fred and Jeff Wilpon, Saul Katz, and those in the hierarchy are making the Democrats in Iowa look like wizards. So, as of Thursday, and according to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the deal with billionaire Steve Cohen is just about over.
Manfred, at the Owners Meetings in Orlando, said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen. As of right now, it’s my belief that that transaction is not going forward.”
For Mets fans, nothing new to see here. They have been through this twice in the Wilpon ownership era. And, typically, the Mets, with exception of a brief statement, are not commenting more than what we know.
Neither are the Wilpons available to clarify what went wrong.
Steve Cohen? No official comment as to why his 80 percent of the franchise and $2.6 billion is no more.
For the moment, and years ahead, unless details are restructured, the Mets are still with the Wilpons. Of course, this makes sense because the Mets have suffered through a uniquely strange offseason of turmoil.
Carlos Beltran is the new manager. He is caught up in a baseball cheating scandal, and how much did he tell in his interview process? Beltran is quickly dismissed.
In steps Luis Rojas. Pitchers and catchers report to Port. St. Lucie in a few days. Opening Day at Citi Field in 50 days. Jeff and Fred Wilpon are going nowhere.
They would still be around in five years. Cohen, though, would have a majority of the control and operations with 80 percent of the team in his hands. That, as reported, was the deal.
Enough to digest the past few months. And now this? Steve Cohen, assumed to be the perfect match, has turned the corner and left on the first yacht out of Flushing Bay.
Yes, this is a mess. From all accounts, and this can be confirmed, Jeff Wilpon wanted to remain and be a part of decisions when Cohen assumed ownership.
Nothing new and no change because Jeff, more than Fred, can’t let the Mets get away from his hands.
As one source close to the Mets said to ESNY, “Fred is a lost puppy without the Mets.”
So, why the sudden turn of events? Where does this leave the Mets as they embark on a hopeful 2020 season? Nothing changes in the front office, and those making decisions with player personnel are busy at their desks.
Brodie Van Wagenen? Still on the job and settling down in Florida with pitchers and catchers ready to report. Front office personnel and those in control are busy preparing at Citi Field for Opening Day.
The salary structure of the Mets also remains intact. No changes there, and, contrary to reports, Steve Cohen had no investments with this current structure for the 2020 season.
Cohen, though, once the sale was approved, was expected to have some of his billion-dollar investment kick in next year.
And, according to a source, there are no interesting and new buyers coming to the table. For Cohen, there is always the possibility that a restructured deal could put him back in the picture.
But that same source said, “The damage has been done.” As of now, Steve Cohen, the Mets fan, will be an average ticket holder.
As for damage control, apparently, the Mets are good at that. They explained, or made an attempt, remember when dealing with Bernie Madoff and a “Ponzi Scheme.” That bad investment in Yoenis Cespedes, a continuing saga and restructure of his contract.
They got over the fiasco with Carlos Beltran, convinced fans about Luis Rojas, and have a GM, in Van Wagenen, who is a perfect salesman.
But the Mets still have the Wilpons, never fan favorites. They, as some seem to believe, will never lose control of their Mets. Expect the same and cautious spending.
Salary restrictions remain intact when it comes to signing a big-name player that would be available on the market.
Yes, 50 days until Opening Day. One or both of the Wilpons will be at Citi Field. Steve Cohen? He is now that omniscient character in the latest Mets chapter.
Same old thing and nothing new when it comes to business with the New York Mets.