In the continuing saga about the Mets trying to get out from under the Madoff lawsuits and the attendance problems, MLB has allowed the Mets to secure more debt than the $400 million that’s already on the books. The Mets are now taking out a series of small loans against the team from investors in the $15-$20 million range. The SportsMoney blog has a post today detailing the Mets desperate plight to raise cash and comparable situations in MLB (Rangers and Dodgers).
The investors are offered a chance to get their loan back plus 3% annually in six years or just keep a small stake in ownership of the Mets with no chance for a majority share. Apparently, JP Morgan and other debt holders must have signed off on this strategy. They certainly didn’t like the Mets plan for a $200 million loan/ownership stake from David Einhorn this summer.
This new set of loans will take the Mets to approximately $540 million plus interest leveraged against the team. Keep in mind that the Dodgers, currently in bankruptcy, have the highest ever debt against a team at $555 million.
It sure looks like the Mets are following the path of the Rangers and Dodgers which both ended with team sales via bankruptcy court. But Bud Selig and his good friend Fred Wilpon keep telling us that the Mets are doing fine even though the Mets haven’t repaid their secret $25 million loan from MLB that was due last summer. Maybe some Mets fans would be happy if there was an ownership change for the team?
The Mets honed in on the hedge fund guys right from the start as a particular sector of people that have enough disposable cash to make an impact on the Mets organization. David Einhorn is making a $200 million investment in the Mets as a minority owner with, apparently, no say in running the team. He’s satisfied to leave the daily operations to “The Schmuck” and his offspring.
There are several takes on this story that have been delved into all over the Internet. But the angle that I’m most interested in is that Einhorn is another one of Bud Selig’s cronies that has been placed within the Mets organization.
It’s a well known fact that Fred “The Schmuck” Wilpon and Selig are close. But over the last year Selig has effectively placed Sandy Alderson as the team’s GM and now Einhorn as the minority owner. Einhorn was born in Jersey but moved to Milwaukee as a child and has been there ever since. He even grew up as a neighbor of Selig’s.
You can hear the full conference call that Einhorn had with reporters below. But it’ll probably leave you dissatisfied. He really doesn’t say much since the deal hasn’t been consummated. Maybe it’s better to have Selig running the Mets now? The Schmuck certainly hasn’t been winning championships in the last 25 years. So maybe it’s time that we give Selig a chance to turn the Mets into winners again.
The New York Times revealed the existence of a $25 million loan from MLB to the Mets last November. Under pressure from a $1 billion lawsuit by the trustee for the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, the Wilpons reached out to their old friend, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, for a line of funding to keep the Mets operating for a short time.
The loan was so secret that Selig didn’t even tell the other owners that he was providing a bailout to the team one of the highest payrolls in the league and one of the priciest front offices as well. Selig finally told baseball’s executive committee in January about the existence of the loan. A Times reporter asked Fred Wilpon yesterday if he received financial assistance from MLB. Wilpon said he didn’t want to talk about team finances and dashed away quickly. When Wilpon was told that the Times found out about the secret loan, the team issued a brief statement to the media:
We said in October that we expected to have a short-term liquidity issue. To address this, we did receive a loan from Major League Baseball in November. Beyond that, we will not discuss the matter any further.
Last year MLB provided about $40 million in assistance to the Texas Rangers. That was because the owner and team were in bankruptcy. The loan that the Mets received isn’t far off in dollar value and is very telling about the state of the Mets finances compared to where the Rangers were last year.
The issue that concerns me is that the Wilpons haven’t been forthright, whatsoever, with the fans and the media about the real situation. Last year the Wilpons said the lawsuit didn’t have any financial impact on the operations of the Mets. It has. Last month the Wilpons admitted that they’re trying to find a minority investor in the team but there was no issue with operations. Last week the Wilpons arrived in Port St. Lucie and reiterated that the Mets had no financing problems.
The owners haven’t been forthcoming with the fans about the real situation with the team’s finances. Going forward, we have to take everything they reveal about the finances with a grain of salt. They’re being careful not to lie about it, but they’re certainly not talking about the true nature of the problem that this caused for the team.
The Mets GM search is over.Sandy Alderson, currently fighting corruption on behalf of MLB’s commissioners office in the Dominican Republic, has thrown his hat into the ring with the full backing of commissioner Bud Selig. Basically the commissioner’s office is telling the Mets “Get your act together and if you can’t we’ll do it for you”.
Here are the GM names that have been thrown around this past week as candidates for the Mets GM position… Sandy Alderson, Pat Gillick, Gerry Hunsicker and Terry Ryan. Three of them don’t want the job. I’ll give you a hint who the three are… none of their names are Sandy Alderson.
Sandy Alderson’s current position is working as commissioner Selig’s new point man to address the issues of the corruption of baseball in the Dominican Republic, the largest supplier of Major League Baseball talent outside the United States. ~wikipedia
I read an interesting post on Murray Chass’ blog today, and believe me Murray, you are a blogger. Chass has contempt for bloggers like me but I have to say that I like his writing. It’s nice to get a fix of “old school” style every now and again. His points are well written even if I often don’t agree with the content itself. I like to read posts from bloggers like Chass because he comes from a very different point of view than I do. And I appreciate that.
Yesterday, Chass lamented that many newspapers that regularly cover MLB teams aren’t covering the World Series this year in-person. He goes on to write that it’s a sign of an industry that’s hurting. There’s nothing new there that we haven’t heard over the last few years. But there are some quotes from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sadly pondering the loss of some free publicity for MLB. As if they don’t get enough on TV and the Internet already.