Friday, January 28, 2011

N.Y. METS ~ The Saul B. Katz Dilemma Rides Again

Head-Butting Mr. Met:

The SAUL B. KATZ Dilemma:

 - Refers to the State of Chaos we find our beloved METS in, ever since Nelson Doubleday found his Partner so insufferable, (with even less regard for his Son), the point he felt he had no choice but to sell his half of the Team.
 - Refers to the Age of Wilponianism; as Majority Owner in the MET YEARS 1 through 9 A.D. -
(A.D. = After Doubleday).  We are now entering MET YEAR 9 A.D.

 - The Saul B. Katz Dilemma IS...Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon.
 - Saul's Dilemma is being a Minority Owner under the Wilpons.
 - His Quandary IS - The SAUL B. KATZ Dilemma!

Poor Saul.

And now, The Saul B. Katz Dilemma is - Our Problem!  Again.

After all that hard work William Shea put in, to include being Party to a Body threatening Major League Baseball's grip on the American Game with the creation of a third Professional Baseball League named the Continental League ~ Through all his diligent work, and with the help of an Old New York Giants former season ticket holder's passion for Baseball; Joan Payson...,  The New York Metropolitans were born into the National League of Baseball in 1962.  Joan Payson would be our owner.

In 1980, ownership of the New York Mets was purchased by and transferred to Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon.

From that point, all the way to the year 2003, of all the things we've learned and know about our team, there are three most interesting factoids we should be reminded of because after Frank Cashen retired as our GM, Order was lost.

*Recall how Joe McIlvaine said one of the reasons he fled the Mets to take the S.D. Padres GM job, and why he tired of waiting for the Mets GM position, was because of all the In-Fighting that took place within the Mets' Front Office behind the scenes.

*Of course, remember how badly the Partnership between Doubleday and Wilpon deteriorated, and how little respect Nelson Doubleday had for Fred and Jeff on the way out; saying - almost guaranteeing, Fred Wilpon would run the team into the ground AND how laughable Jeff and his want to be a Baseball Man was; even comparing him once to Pharaoh.

*And then there was Steve Phillips.  What he told us wasn't a complete revelation to us, but what Phillips did was describe in detail, Wilpon's dysfunctional Front Office Business Model and their collegial system.

Those three little tidbits speak of the mayhem that has permeated the hallways of the Front Office for a very long time.  It's a motif that has played out at length, repeatedly; consistently since 1991.

....And now we can pick up the story again after Doubleday, Cashen, Harazin, McIlvaine, (Hunsicker), and Phillips were all gone.  Since 2003, The Wilpons have been operating without a net.  They exhausted the last two vestiges of familiarity within the organization when they hired and fired Jim Duquette and Omar Minaya.

For Met Year 9 A.D., the Mets' Ownership opted for change.  Enter Sandy Alderson as the first executive hire the Mets Organization made that has not been previously familiar with the Wilpons since 1980.   Alderson represents the first time the Club went "OFF CAMPUS" to fill their GM position since they hired Frank Cashen to be their first.  Every GM after Frank Cashen has been a legacy hire.

And Mets Fans said, "FINALLY!"  We thought we had someone who knew a thing or two about running an entire organization, and succeeding at it.

In this Blog I made a Peace with Fred and Jeff.  I laid down my arms.  I thought after a job well done, it was high time I left the Wilpons alone.  I thought 2011 was shaping-up as a season where I wouldn't have to resort back to LiL Jeffery at Mets R Us jokes and Son of 'PON barbs. 

I thought I had finally laid The Saul B. Katz Dilemma to rest.

Shame on me, because I should have known better.

The Wilpons are now looking into relinquishing up to 25% of the team to hedge themselves against the Bernie Madoff related lawsuit, and to ensure the continued operational competitiveness of the team.  In other words, they are looking to get about $250 million dollars to take on a very silent partner because the S.S. Wilpon is going down.

The NEW YORK TIMES reported Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz could be in for as much as

My biggest problem with the Wilpons during the Bernie Madoff scandal was what I perceived to be their lack of forthrightness with the fan base.  In Baseball matters, we just wanted better decisions and a coherent plan to follow.  But we never had one and they were never honest with us to compound matters.
The impact of the Madoff Scandal must have been hampering the Mets since the earliest days of the news initially breaking. New onerous debt on Citi Field was offset somewhat by the Naming Rights fees, but they incurred massive debt none-the-less on construction of the park. Abundant injuries to key players resulting in lower than expected attendance levels must also be affecting their bottom line.  And without a doubt, Omar Minaya hampered the Mets with numerous crippling contracts.  Factor in the obvious ~ their actions spoke much louder than their words, with other signs of impending doom and they may have created the perfect storm from which the S.S. Wilpon "may not last till dawn".  It now seems as if this Madoff matter could be a determining factor that may trigger a selling of the Mets, and not just a minor stake in the team.

I've been one of their toughest critics.  But I never really entertained the thought of the Wilpons selling the team.  Even on my angriest day, I never really considered it.  He's frustrated me often and is responsible for many grey hairs over the years.  But I do have a soft spot for the Big Guy.  I actually like the Family Ownership "thing" they readily confess to.  I just wanted them to make better decisions; That's all.  He's an old Brooklyn Kid, and I guess there's a sense of loyalty there.  He's from my neighborhood.  However, I was as upset as any Mets fan about his Owed-To-the-Brooklyn Dodgers-Park thing, coming at the expense of our Mets, along with other such matters like our Hall of Fame and those stupid uniform combos; etc.

The Wilpons are so down right now, and in a big, bad way.  ONE BILLION DOLLARS?!  If that's the amount this lawsuit is looking to secure from the Wilpons and Mr. Katz, I don't even think Freakin' Sharks with Lasers can help them out of this one.

As far as who they will find to purchase a 20% stake in the team...For What?  What kind of return or what value for their investment will they realize by doing so?  If anyone does step up, will they be doing it for the clout and prestige of it all and not because it will garner appreciative value?  Someone may intercede and do it as a favor to Fred.  After that, the only other candidate I can think of is a SUCKER.  There's one born everyday, so there's always that chance. 

The Mets have said they will remain as majority owners and stay in operational control of the team.  They also said under no circumstances will they sell the team.  When someone says NEVER, the opposite is usually just around the corner.

The shuffling of the Front Office without a doubt, still needed to happen.  We know the Front Office moves were far from being cosmetic and lacking substance.  The fan base voiced wide-spread approval.  And now the Wilpons will have to come through in the clutch again to save, not just their fan base this time, but the entire team.  This isn't the beginning of their troubles.  This has been a calamity in the making.  This small sell-off is a desperate measure.  The revelation is probably quite late coming to our attention regarding just how dire the situation facing the Wilpons really is.  This, if we suspected correctly all along, has been brewing and worsening the whole time.  Then, I'm asking if the Wilpons knew what they were up against, did Sandy Alderson know what they were up against?

But just when we thought improvement was the new order of the day, DOOM decided to tap Fred Wilpon on the shoulder and serve him with papers.  Now our Mets are faced with a precarious situation and an uncertain future.  We are supposed to be a stable franchise and we were supposed to be turning a page this season  Instead, we're getting the book thrown at us.

Even to my own dismay....,

The Saul B. Katz Dilemma Rides Again!


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