For many Mets fans, Steve Cohen taking over as team owner is one of the greatest things to happen to this franchise. And sure, New York hasn’t won a World Series yet, but for the first time in a while, the team’s trajectory is pointing up. Plus, we know Cohen will do whatever is needed to bring a title back to Citi Field.
He recently sat down with another legend in Howie Rose for a one-on-one interview. It lasted about a half hour, so as you can imagine, plenty of topics were discussed. Cohen’s desire to improve the fan experience at the ballpark, their goal of building a sustained competitor, and his desire to win a World Series within 3-5 years of buying the team was all brought up.
One of the final talking points was the organization’s desire to honor Mets history and past players more often. That happened plenty throughout 2022. This includes the unveiling of Tom Seaver’s statue, Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays getting their respective numbers retired, and most notably, the return of Old Timers’ Day.
Just about when it seemed like he and Rose were done talking about it, Cohen mentioned his continued desire to have a Bobby Bonilla Day celebration on July 1st. Bonilla gets a check from the Mets for $1,193,248.20 every year at the beginning of July. It will continue to happen until 2035, too.
In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million of Bonilla’s contract. But instead of just paying it then, they agreed to defer that payment over the span of 25 years between 2011 and 2035, and have it accrue at 8% interest. New York is far from the only team to defer payments to players, but this agreement with Bonilla definitely gets the most publicity each year.
Here’s what the owner had to say about Bobby Bonilla Day after Rose asked what a celebration would entail:
We’d still have to decide it, but I’m telling you, it would be fun. We’d love to have Bobby do it. He travels around with his son, who is a terrific golfer, so hopefully, his schedule can make it work. But if he can’t do it this year, I’ll be on him next year.
Regarding some of the basics of the celebration itself, Cohen said the following:
I gotta find a big piece of cardboard for a big check. It’s gotta be big, though. And then let him figure out how to carry it home.
This is clearly something Cohen has been thinking about for a while. He’s been thinking about it so much, in fact, that it sounds like he’s already had conversations with Bonilla himself about it.
If this all sounds familiar, it should. Cohen took to Twitter on Bobby Bonilla Day 2022 to wish everyone a great day:
I hope everybody is enjoying my favorite day of the year , Bobby Bonilla Day
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) July 1, 2022
And right after his purchase of the team became official in November 2020, he shared a similar idea on Twitter. It was only after a fan asked him about just cutting one final check to the former outfielder, though:
Let’s take a vote .How about we have a Bobby Bonilla day every year .Hand him an oversized check and drive a lap around the stadium.Could be fun
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) November 20, 2020
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Cohen since he’s taken over the Mets, it’s that if he really wants something to happen, it becomes a reality. Whether we like it or not, a Bobby Bonilla Day celebration at Citi Field will happen soon. Getting a glimpse of how much he’s thought about this, it’ll surely be entertaining.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.