Yesterday Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded the nearly $700 million in debt against Citi Field to negative. That means that they’re reducing the debt to below investment grade. Forbes details the financial assault that the Mets are facing. The financial prospects for the Mets and Wilpon appear to be getting more dire by the day.
Without Jose Reyes on the roster the team is poised for even lower attendance than the 2011 season. The Mets have also floated the possibility that Johan Santana may not be healthy and ready for opening day after not throwing a pitch in 2011. Other than David Wright, who is in the final year of his contract (plus a team option for 2013), there isn’t much of a reason to go out the park in 2012.
It’s clear that the rest of the teams in the division have made roster improvements while the Mets have essentially failed to enter the free agent market. For the second offseason in a row, Sandy Alderson was handcuffed by the team’s financial situation. His only contribution to re-making the roster has been to shuffle some players in and out of the bullpen and the bench. The Mets GM job has to be one of the worst in baseball right now.
A report by Forbes details the Mets bridge loan from Bank of America and how it was used to pay the debt payment on bonds that financed Citi Field. I wrote about the bridge loan on Monday and the story for the Mets gets worse as more details emerge. The Mets partially funded Citi Field with $547 million of tax-exempt bonds. A payment was due last month for $43.8 million and the Mets didn’t have the money to pay.
The holding company for the bonds, Ambac Assurance Company, had promised to pay the debt payments if the Mets defaulted. But Ambac went belly up in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy. So the Mets defaulting on the debt payment would have left the bond holders with nothing to show for their investment in the team.
The Mets still have payments coming due of $32 million in each of 2013 and 2014. So there’s still a chance they could default. But the Mets are planning to use the $40 million bridge loan to tide them over until they can sell pieces of the team to “small” investors in hopes of raising $200 million.
It’s a sad state of affairs for the Mets. Hopefully, it won’t end in bankruptcy court like the Dodgers and Rangers did recently. In the meantime, we’re the ones left holding the bag with a team that doesn’t appear to have a chance of a winning record in 2012.
Hey Mets Fans! This is baseball at it’s finest! A 5-13 start! Worst record in baseball! But hey, the Mets do have a manager who spent all spring pushing fundamentals and all that hard work is paying off.
But let’s go back on the field and watch Carlos Beltran hit one homer after another in his quest for riches from his next team. He’s not selfish! Wink, wink… Watch as David Wright flips his helmet in amazingly accurate fashion towards the ground as he watches another homer die at the warning track or racks up another strikeout. All this while he’s thinking, “F@%$, I could be hitting 50 F’in homers in Philly!” Watch as Ike Davis attempts to show up a few more umpires after arguing balls and strikes. Watch the uncoachable Jose Reyes play the game the same way he’s played it for the last 5 years, never improving but never getting any worse either. Watch the 2nd baseman of the day screw up another double play. Check out the left-fielder of the day from double or triple AAA as they drop a ball in left field. Watch as the Mets pinch hitters bunt into double plays. Watch as Dish Network drops SNY and nobody cares.
Watch Terry Collins do more running than any current Mets player as he makes run after run to the pitching mound. No wonder Sandy Alderson needed a manager with so much energy! Check out the new Mets who, when they smell a win once a week, play it like the 7th game of a World Series. It’s April and it’s “ALL HANDS ON DECK!” Continue reading “The Amazing Mets! What Fundy’s! Baseball at it’s Finest”
If you’re on the Mets email list, you know that they’ve been sending a constant stream of emails attempting to entice you into purchasing tickets for the 2011 season. I haven’t purchased any yet and I don’t plan to until I get a sense for what this team looks like on the field. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t liked what I’ve seen since 2007 and I’m just not motivated by the slight roster changes this year to purchase tickets.
Ken Belson and Richard Sandomir wrote a good piece in today’s NY Times about the state of the team’s finances, as if we haven’t read enough about that recently, and the Mets tickets sales for this year. They write that ticket sales for this season are going so poorly that the team is literally in a state of panic about it. Apparently, they replaced the long-time head of ticket sales and last week let go of several full-time employees, and aren’t re-hiring several part-time employees in the ticket office.
I hate to hear that people are losing their jobs. I’ve been laid off before too and it’s a terrible experience. So I don’t wish that on anybody. Often, it’s not the person getting laid off that’s at fault either. Poor management decisions can lead to that and the poor managers often keep their jobs for some unknown reason.
The Catch-22 of the situation is that the Mets didn’t make any changes to the roster that would motivate fans, like me, to go out and buy a ticket plan. Fans aren’t buying tickets so the team doesn’t have the revenue to make major player moves. My strategy this year, as it has been the last several seasons, is to look for a good team and pitching match up and buy tickets on the secondary market for those individual games. I feel that it’s helping the fans that did purchase season tickets to sell some of them. Although I probably end up buying tickets from some horrible broker that bought thousands of tickets. Who knows when you buy on StubHub?
I’m curious to know what you ticket buying strategy is for 2011. Leave a comment below.
Nobody other than Scott Boras cares if Mike Pelfrey gets his 16th win today. It’s a meaningless feat for an irrelevant team.
The good news, depending upon your perspective, is that the firings will start tomorrow. You’ve probably heard the rumors that Omar Minaya will be fired or moved to another job where the damage that he does is contained. Jerry Manuel won’t return as manager. Most of us knew that when the Mets didn’t get off to that hot start that Manuel talked about all spring. He was cooked by April.
I, for one, happily say “goodbye” to the 2010 Mets. And good riddance. I won’t miss you when you’re gone.
According to Adam Rubin, for ESPNNewYork.com, the Mets are in the planning stages of developing a pricing strategy for 2011.
Ticket sales are down 16.5% this year over last year. I would accordingly expect a 16.5% drop in ticket prices. That follows the law of supply & demand. It is not a theory but a law that successful businesses understand. It’s also not a law I expect the Wilpons to follow.
Failure to follow this law could alienate your customer base and judging by the turnout I have witnessed at recent Met games, the fans are speaking with their wallets and staying away.
Demand is low so ticket prices must come down to reflect that. The Mets have the 6th highest ticket price in the majors at $32.22. A 16.5% drop would set the average new ticket price at $26.90. This is much closer to the major league average of $26.74. Continue reading “Mets 2011 Ticket Pricing Strategy”
Gary Cohen along with ex-Mets Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling form one of the best broadcast teams in Major League Baseball. Their stellar commentary earned them the #2 spot on GQ’s list of the best and worst television broadcast teams in the MLB. The team was second to only Vin Scully, the ageless solo act for the Dodgers’ broadcast. You can see the rankings for yourself here.
I really feel that only true Met fans understand the worth of these guys in the booth. Gary’s outstanding play-by-play combined with Keith and Ronny’s in-depth knowledge of the game make for 9 innings of enthralling baseball discussion night in and night out.
In my mind, Gary, Keith, and Ron cannot be considered “homers,” although their connection with the team is evident through their commentary. I think it’s safe to say that the three are all Met fans at heart but they honor their profession by calling it like they see it, something that several broadcast teams (cough cough, YES Network, cough) fail to do. Although their discussions may stray from the focus of the game at times, they always keep it interesting. Whether it’s Keith explaining his criteria for a good steak, Ron delving into different world cultures, or Gary talking about how horrible a head first slide into first base is three innings after it happens, our guys captivate baseball minds that are tuning in. I’m almost hesitant to attend games because I won’t get to listen to them (that is a lie, Citi Field is like my church).
Keith and Ron are such valuable assets from a fan standpoint because their baseball knowledge is really through the roof. Obviously both were staples of the ’86 Mets, and were winning players throughout their careers. Keith revolutionized the position he played and was an MVP. Ron possesses intellect pertaining to the mound that matches his Ivy League diploma.
As a fan base we are privileged to have these guys in our ear during most Met broadcasts. I consider them a part of Mets baseball and hope they remain a team for years to come.