Sunday, February 09, 2014

Roosevelt Avenue Preview: The Saul B. Katz Dilemma 2014

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Welcome To Season Twelve Of


For some, this is a refresher.  For my learned followers, bear with me.  For the unknowing, here's the definition of terms:

In 1980, Doubleday Publishing purchased the Mets for $20.1 million.  In 1986, Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon, in turn, purchased the Mets for $86 million from Doubleday and Company.  Initially a mere 1% investor, Fred Wilpon's share in the team grew to 50%, while the relationship and partnership simultaneously deteriorated.  By August 2002, Fred Wilpon agreed to pay Nelson Doubleday $135 million for his half of the team.  By year's end, the sale was complete.  Fred Wilpon, and family, then assumed full ownership of the New York Mets Baseball Club, ushering in, what this blog has dubbed:

The AGE of

Today Marks Day 4,088 On The Wilponic Calander,
In The Year 12 A.D. (After Doubleday)

In order to facilitate the transaction, Fred was required to cut Nelson Doubleday a check, up front, for $100 million dollars, with the balance to be paid over several years.  It was on the heels of that check, ownership sought financing for Citi Field.  The Madoff scandal was then revealed, and threatened to obliterate the whole operation, and theoretically, still does.  The Mets never achieved their predicted attendance figures promised to the banks, and instead, have hemorrhaged money for the last five seasons, and piled up even more crippling debt, on top of their Citi Field financial commitments.

Enter Saul B. Katz, who has known nothing but misfortune since teaming up with Fred and Jeff.  He doesn't speak to the press, so you do not know what he's thinking, or what he's like.  He's a mysterious figure to Mets fans.  So, what good mystery man doesn't need a good saga to perpetuate his myth?  Therefore, this entire twilight zone existence Saul married into, this condition, is what this blog dubs, his Dilemma.

I liken it to money getting stuck on fly paper.  Uncle Saul has seen his shares in the team devalued, due to a 25% reduction in overall ownership, since distributed to other various $20 million dollar share investors. Whether he is an accomplice, or a victim of the whole Mets mess, matters not to me.  I just feel sorry for him...., and us.

Why do all this?  Well, for entertainment purposes only.  I assure you.  But also because, on his way out of Shea Stadium's offices for the final time, Nelson Doubleday prophesied Fred Wilpon and his son would run the New York Mets into the ground.  We are now twelve years into the deconstruction.

To begin the new year, the Mets dodged a $250 million dollar note due in June.  That money has been refinanced over the next seven years, but the club still owes SNY $600 million due in 2015, and I just do not know how they are going to pull that one off.

In the very near term, the Mets now need to come up with $120 million a year just to keep up on their loan refinancing and the debt on Citi Field.  They have a projected rounded off 2014 payroll of $90 million, which raises their immediate need for cash to $210 million.  Last year, the club only generated $230 million in revenues.  So, how exactly are they going to save enough to pay off over half a billion dollars next year?

Thus, the Saul B. Katz Dilemma continues.....

The Mets are 868-913 during the Age of WILPONianism, averaging a 78-83 yearly record over the last eleven seasons.  During that time, the Mets have posted a winning record four times, and a sub-.500 record seven times.  They've exceeded 90 losses three times, and achieved over 90 victories only once.  They have posted a losing record in each of the last five years.  In the last eleven years, they have participated in the post-season once.

Fred Wilpon's team is on its fourth field manager, third general manager, and second ball park.  On that note, attendance has gone down in each of Citi Field's first five seasons.

The upcoming 2014 season was the one when things were to begin changing for the better.  Mets minor league prospects are on the rise, the team could potentially post a .500 record, attendance might go up, and ownership might break even, or, actually turn a profit for the first time in years.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.  So, again, welcome to year twelve.



  1. Anonymous7:02 AM

    Very Interesting Mike. Sad but true. I am hoping, as are alot of other Met fans, that they sell the team. I don't know if the Nets owner is into baseball like he is with Basketball, but he would be the answer. He wants a winner and is willing to spend to get one. I have the same hope for the Islanders, who I can't even watch anymore and have promised myself, I will not watch until they get new ownership. I hope I don't get to that point with the Mets. BTW it's me Ken Meoni from Rising Apple.

  2. Thanks for riding the Trolley, Ken. Mikhail Prokhorov buying the Mets would be a terribly fascinating development. But, unfortunately, the Wilpons speak as if they will own the team forever. After what the Isles went through with their previous corrupt owner, I wouldn't be so hard on Mr. Wang. He is trying, and he actually cares. The Islanders are just in a bad situation in Long Island. Shifting away from Long Island is a shame, but at least moving to Brooklyn is still somewhat close to home.


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