Tag: Fred Wilpon

Mets’ Miserly Offseason Leaves Sobering Reality After Magical World Series Run

Euphoria lasts only so long.

The giddiness and amazement that existed with the New York Mets‘ fall wonderland was pure bliss for a franchise that had for too long operated without a semblance of a care for on-field winning.

The run to the World Series provided pleasure in the moment, but just as critically, it gave hope that the Mets would use their newfound springboard to put a dominant contender on the field for seasons to come. With cheap, great starting pitching already on the roster, the Mets need only to put adequate position players behind it to ensure the franchise is a significant threat to the National League pennant for the foreseeable future.

But as this offseason welcomes 2016, Mets ownership, led by Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, has yet to supplement the pitching. Instead, the team’s debt is keeping it from making any significant free-agent signings. And because of that, the Mets cannot afford to leverage some of their young starting pitching for an impact bat because they need the cost-controlled arms to at least stay competitive in a floundering NL East.

“Mets fans should be celebrating their favorite team’s first World Series appearance since 2000 and preparing for even better days ahead,” Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote Tuesday after the Mets’ latest underwhelming signing—Alejandro De Aza—was reported. “Instead, they’re pissed off.”

Mets fans have a right to be upset, and analysts are clear to question the organization’s offseason direction when the Kansas City Royals, the World Series champions who knocked off the Mets in the Fall Classic, look like major players in the free-agent market when put next to the Mets.

The Mets unexpectedly saved about $12.5 million when Michael Cuddyer retired earlier this month, though some of that money could have been bought out by the club to save the remainder. And it is paying only about $9.5 million for the core of that rotation—Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz—and its closer, Jeurys Familia.

However, instead of capitalizing on that cost control and its enviable pitching makeup, ownership is more concerned with funneling money toward the debt it racked up after losing $500 million in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and an ensuing $162 million lawsuit settlement, ultimately costing $60 million and with the first $30 million due next year, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin.

So, despite a relatively cheap payroll based on market size, up to $60 million in extra playoff revenue based on economist Andrew Zimbalist’s estimation (via USA Today‘s Joe Lemire), a nearly 20 percent attendance increase and spiking ratings for local television network SNY, in which ownership has a majority stake, the Mets are not pumping money into the 2016 product. This is happening despite an expected attendance increase next season, plus increased ticket prices and the ability to increase ad revenue from the TV network.

It should be noted that the Mets were reportedly willing to offer Ben Zobrist $60 million over four years, but he chose to take less money to play for the Chicago Cubs, according to the New York Post‘s Ken Davidoff. Beyond that overture, the Mets have only a trio of uninspiring transactions on the books for next season—signing De Aza, acquiring second baseman Neil Walker and signing infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.

The Mets are still competitive and probably even the NL East favorites considering the Washington Nationals have done nothing to put themselves over the top in this race. The rest of the division is uninspiring, so the Mets rotation alone gives them the competitive advantage.

The problem with comparing the Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the above tweet does, is that New York is not Pittsburgh. The Mets are in the biggest revenue market in the sport, while the Pirates have to perennially pinch pennies. Fairer comparisons for the Mets would be teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox.

Yet in terms of payrolls, there is no comparing the Mets to those franchises. They are spending to win World Series. The Mets are spending, or not spending, in order to pay down debts.

“That’s what made us tight,” Wilpon told reporters in 2013, the last time he spoke to the press. “We were still getting revenues, lots of revenues, but those revenues were going to pay off debt.”

That has not appeared to change in the following three seasons. And it is an offense worthy of having the team stripped, as the Dodgers were from infamous owner Frank McCourt when he was rightfully strong-armed into selling the franchise in 2011.

Former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig ousted McCourt for using the Dodgers’ coffers to fund personal expenses, handing the franchise to the better-equipped Guggenheim Baseball Management that now pumps oceans of money into the club.

Essentially, Wilpon is doing the same thing McCourt did, but instead of snatching his team, new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred called this a “fun fact.” Manfred is not alone in helping Wilpon. Selig loaned the Mets money and then did nothing when the loan was past due.

This is the reality Mets fans live in.

The inebriation of last fall’s World Series run, as wonderful as it was, is gone. The effects of the team’s finances and unwillingness to spend big on an impact player have taken over this offseason, and the reality, for that fanbase, is a sobering smack in the mouth.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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Mets Injury Update: 5 Reasons to Expect a Slow Start for David Wright

David Wright sounded optimistic after his first spring training game on Monday.

“I feel good,” he told reporters after his four innings of play. “I feel healthy. I got a chance to dive around a little bit, run the bases a little bit, see some pitches, get some at-bats. Now it’s just a matter of getting reps.”

That isn’t a small matter.

The Mets third baseman sat out most of the spring recovering from a torn abdominal muscle. Now he’s got just two weeks to get ready for Opening Day.

For a player of Wright’s caliber, that’s not too much to expect. But there are other factors that are likely to slow Wright’s progress.

Here are five reasons why Wright may not have the right stuff in April.

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Satire: New York Mets: Opening Day Predictions 2011

Ash sucks.  Bleacher Report.  Please delete this article.  And the Mets

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MLB Report: New York Mets Now America’s Team

For as long as most of us can remember, the Dallas Cowboys have been America’s Team. 

A lot of that has to do with the teams locale, the dearth of professional teams that existed in America’s heartland when the ‘Boys broke onto the expansion scene in 1960.

Mostly though you’d have to say it’s been their great on field success—almost from the word go as they quickly came to challenge Vince Lombardi’s Packers for NFL preeminence in the reasonably early ’60’s—that has dictated to their becoming not only a storied franchise, but one of the two or three most highly valued in all of sports.

There are challengers to the throne no doubt. Incrementally teams will rise up each year and capture the fancy of the rooting public, the New Orleans Saints of 2009/2010 for example, and in a bigger picture, love/hate/you just can’t take your eyes off them sense, the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers can at least make some claim to being the most acclaimed team in American sports.

But that’s not quite the same thing as being America’s Team. The team that best represents the country’s current state of being, and at this time we’d like to throw a new candidate into the ring.

The New York Mets.      

The team is owned by Fred Wilpon, who providentially bought a split share of the Queen’s nine in 1986, and then finished the deed in 2003 when he paid off partner Nelson Doubleday a balance sum of $135 million.

Good deal for Wilpon you would say. Let’s say he paid around $200 million in total for the Mets who are currently valued somewhere between $8-$900 million dollars. 

The problem there though is the Mets are currently in debt to the tune of $500 million plus.

Reports say they are leaking funds annually, maybe as much as $50 million—God knows how that can be, when virtually every other team in the game is turning a profit—and as everybody with access to any aspect of the media is aware, Fred Wilpon and company are up to their eyeballs in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

The latest byline being Wilpon profited from his dealings with the since jailed paper money maker, when countless others took it on the chin to the tune of 70 or 80 billion smackers combined.

Wilpon claims to be clean of course, that is in lieu of the billion dollar law suit against him helmed by attorney Irving Picard who represents the angrily fleeced. But with a Ponzi Scheme prior in 2008—which already cost him a $13 million settlement—you’ve got to figure “Fast Fred” could very well be going down on this one, at least to the tune of another couple of hundred million dollars.

That’s not good, and there’s no wonder MLB had to float the Mets $25 million a couple of months ago, and Wilpon now has his hand out for another $50 million in lieu of sorting through potential investors who are willing to invest an enormous sum for a 20-25 percent stake of this barely floating baseball ship. 

And these issues don’t even begin to address the Mets’ monumental on field concerns. With the games fifth largest payroll, $135 million, they finished the 2010 season 79-83, good for fourth in the tough National League East, and did little to improve the club in the offseason.

Heading into 2011 the team has about $12o million tied up in these eight players:

Johan Santana $22.5 million 
Carlos Beltran $18.5 million 
Jason Bay $16 million 
David Wright $14 million 
Oliver Perez $12 million 
Francisco Rodriguez $11.5 million 
Jose Reyes $11 million 
Luis Castillo $6 million 

There are some pretty frightening names and contracts there.

Figure you can count on Wright and Santana to perform at a high level, but by the same token you’re going to have to pray Oliver Perez and, to a lesser extent, Luis Castillo can make season long big league contributions.

You’ll be in the same position hoping Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran can stay healthy, Jason Bay can give you ten million dollars worth out of the sixteen, and Francisco Rodriguez, Krazy-Rod, can just keep his head on straight long enough to complete the 162 season without complications arising due to domestic affairs and/or incarceration. 

And that’s only eight guys!

Is there any wonder why the Mets brought in “Moneyball Administrator” Sandy Alderson, previously adhered to the ever spartan Oakland Athletics, to take over the team and bring some measure of sanity to a situation run completely amok?

My goodness, we’re still thirty days or so from Opening Day and the New York Mets appear to be screwed sixteen ways from Sunday.

Financial status? Bleak.

Opportunity to remedy financial status? Slim to fat.

Field Product? Filled with question marks if not glaring holes. 

Prospects for 2011? Prayerful. 

Similarity to the status of too many Americans struggling to keep pace with diminished incomes if not outright joblessness and the higher cost of almost everything? Stark!

The New York Mets for all their myriad problems, tall tales, poor management and bleak prospects have become a media enhanced microcosm of too many things that plague our once great nation. 

American’s have lost confidence in our government, Met fans, baseball fans from around the country have come to view the Queen’s Kids as a shining example of almost everything wrong in our National Pastime.

Big spending, little to no return on the dollar. The team is rife with egoism, gluttony and most of all failure, and it would take an apparent miracle for a significant rebound in 2011.

Ring a bell?

In their not so storied past, the Mets have been known to conjure a miracle or two. “You Gotta Believe” is the teams very own catch phrase, and would it surprise you terribly to hear those same three words uttered by political mouthpieces hoping to gain your consumer confidence or just your plain vote as the country moves tenuously forward into continued uncharted waters?

It’s all so murky, but on the other hand so terribly clear. The New York Mets have almost always embraced the role of underdog, but now they are in the worst kind of financial mess to boot.

A lot like the rest of us, and one would have to hope if somehow the Mets can pull through and make a go of it in 2011, then maybe a great breath of others can too.

So here’s a vote for the New York Mets, with all their flaws if not glaring deficiencies becoming America’s Team.


Because we need a miracle too.


Thanks, A.M.,


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New York Mets: Wilpons in Serious Trouble, Will Get No More Money from MLB

The Wilpons may be forced to sell the Mets as early as this season.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Major League Baseball will not loan any more money to the New York Mets. This comes after the league loaned $25 million to the team last November to help the club “meet operating costs.” 

For the Wilpons, their ownership of the Mets appears truly endangered.

The article goes on to state that should the Wilpons, who are currently facing a $1 billion lawsuit by victims of the Bernie Madoff fraud, be unable to financially continue to operate the franchise, the league may change their position on loaning money to the Mets to “avoid a fire sale of one of its elite clubs” or “help the Mets avoid defaulting on certain payments, like player salaries.”

However, the article states the league would not offer enough money to protect the Wilpons’ ownership of the team. In other words, the league will protect their interests, but not the Wilpons’.

The Mets reliance on the league for financial support, again, the article suggests, is an indication that traditional commercial banks have closed their doors to the Wilpons.

All of this comes after the Wilpons put 25 percent of the team up for sale in January.

The Wilpons are in deep, deep trouble. Can you imagine if they sell the Mets because they can’t pay off their Oliver Perez contract? 

Wow, we’ve seen a string of heartbreaking, scandalous and disappointing seasons in the Omar Minaya Era, but this one is wasting no time getting off to a disastrous start.

As a Mets fan, I want to remind the Shea faithful, the Flushing Meadows crowd, the No. 7 Line Baseball Express…Being a Yankees fan is cake and cookies. Being a Mets fan takes strength.

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Donald Trump Should Buy The New York Mets and Save The Franchise

Several reports have surfaced that the Wilpon’s have reached out to Donald Trump in regards to purchasing a minority share of the New York Mets.

Earlier this year, Fred Wilpon was encountered with a lawsuit seeking up to $1 billion to repay victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.

As a result, the Wilpon’s have explored selling up to 25 percent of the club to offset a potentially staggering settlement. 

The Wilpons certainly have suitors for the Mets, but like Trump, current buyers are only interested in a majority share, something Fred Wilpon has been uninterested in sacrificing.

When asked about his interest in a minority stake of the Mets, Trump responded in third person, “If you look at Trump’s record, he is only interested in things he can control.”

Trump added, “The Wilpons are friends of mine, and I really hope it works out great for them. But if anything doesn’t work out for them, I’d be interested in the team.”

Fred Wilpon needs to sell the Mets majority share to Donald Trump. It’s the right thing to do for a Mets franchise that is caught right in the middle of the biggest scam in Wall Street history.

Donald Trump, who is from Queens, makes perfect sense as the Mets new majority owner.

His celebrity, coupled with his desire to be the best, make him an ideal candidate to save the Mets franchise.

With Trump at the helm, the Mets would once again compete for the New York spotlight with the Yankees.

Fred Wilpon…You’re fired!  

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Rescuing the New York Mets: Why Fred Wilpon Should Sell the Team to Its Fans


Mets owner Fred Wilpon owes lots of people lots of money. According to published reports, his total sports-related investment debt exceeds $1.5 billion dollars. Add to that a $300 million-$1 billion exposure in lawsuits filed against him by the victims of Bernie Madoff, and he finds himself in a significant hole.


It suddenly dawns on you why the Mets can’t afford to play in the free-agent market anymore. They’re lucky if they can afford the subway fare to Citi Field.


Meanwhile, attendance is sinking, the fan base is deteriorating and the Mets have gone from being championship contenders to the laughing stock of the Major League Baseball.


Mets fans—what’s left of them—deserve better. And Wilpon, despite his financial and legal woes, has a great chance to give it to them. 


Right here—right now.


Fred can get out from under his sports-enterprise debt, redeem his reputation as a sportsman and rescue the Mets—simply by selling the team to its New York fans.



Packers for the People


Don’t laugh. Fans in Green Bay, Wisconsin have owned their professional football team since the 1920s. And over the past 90 years, the team has won 12 world championships—more than any other franchise in the NFL.


Here’s how it works for the Packers; there are over 4.7 million shares of Packer stock, owned by 112,000 stockholders, and according to recent news items, shares go for $200 each.


Some simple multiplication of the published figures shows the Packers are valued at $950 million. That’s $100 million more than the $850 million price tag that Forbes magazine placed on the Mets last year.


All of which means that a fan buyout of the New York National League franchise is completely doable—it just depends on how Fred Wilpon wants to play ball.



The Ugly Alternative


If Wilpon and his partners decide to hold onto the Mets, things could get even worse for the team and its fans. Strapped for dollars to pay interest costs and fees that reportedly range upwards of $100 million per year, Wilpon would be forced to loot the team. He would have to sell off its most valuable assets for cash.


Imagine José Reyes taking over Derek Jeter’s job at second base for the Yankees, or David Wright joining the Phillies. Or developing stars like Ike Davis and Angel Pagan being sold to the highest bidder. Such fire-sale atrocities can and will occur when Fred Wilpon finds himself short of cash and on the wrong side of the Bernie Madoff lawsuit.



Time to Share


If Wilpon follows the Green Bay Packers model to transfer the team to its fans, he would have to sell 4,250,000 shares valued at $200 apiece. Such an offer would reignite fan passion for the team. And what sports fan wouldn’t want to own a piece of his beloved major league team? The shares would be gobbled up within hours.


The best part is this; fans who buy a share of the nonprofit corporation would have a voice in determining how the Mets are run. Taking a page out of the Packers playbook, shareholders would vote on choosing members to serve on a Board of Directors, and that board would choose an Executive Committee, which would direct the management of the team.



Steering Clear of the Scammers


The ownership arrangement that works for the Green Bay Packers was created long before the current crop of scam artists who have control of American business. 


They’ll tell you it can’t be done. That the Mets cannot be owned by their loyal fans. They will say such things because they want a piece of the action, and they want to keep control.  


But the continued and successful existence of the Packers can be used to beat down any of their arguments.



What’ll It Be, Fred?


Which leaves it all up to Fred Wilpon. He has complained that lawyers for the trustees in the Bernie Madoff lawsuit are ruining his reputation.


Well Fred, with one swoop of your pen, you can gain a reputation for being the most respected sports hero New York has ever known.


Just sell us the team.


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Was Bernie Madoff Key to the New York Mets’ Success in the 2000s?

As news continues to come out about the Wilpons’ connection to Bernie Madoff, it only seems to get worse. In an outstanding piece written for the New York Times by Serge F. Kovaleski and David Waldstein, the Wilpons’ link to Madoff is examined.

A former Mets employee was quoted saying, “Bernie was part of the business plan for the team.” It turns out that Madoff was a huge part of the Mets business plan. The Mets would place any deferred money that they owed to players in Mr. Madoff’s investment firm (yes, that means that the team will need to find another way to fund paying off Bobby Bonilla’s seemingly endless deferred payments).

Regarding Bonilla, it has been reported that his money was in an account. It is now obvious why ownership was so willing to except the Bonilla buyout. They expected to earn 18 percent on the money they invested with Madoff so they would be able to pay off Bonilla as well as make some money for themselves. This would have required a significantly smaller investment than what it would have cost to buy out Bonilla up front.

A former executive remembered Madoff’s name coming up when the team was negotiating contracts. Could Madoff have had a say in what deals were made or if payments would be deferred? There are a lot more questions that will be brought up as the media learns more and more about the Wilpons’ relationship with Madoff.

The Wilpons’ reach in the Ponzi scheme is also larger than we were initially led to believe. Analysis of Madoff’s 15,000 clients was done by Jamie Peppard, a former financial auditor. She concluded that more than 500 individual accounts could be tied to both the Wilpons and Saul Katz. Fred Wilpon also had at least 17 accounts under his name alone. This makes sense as it was noted that Wilpon recommended Madoff to many of his close friends.

Madoff’s former secretary, Elanor Squillari, noted that the Wilpons, both Fred and his son Jeff, would visit Bernie and his son Mark at the office. She also noticed that Madoff acted differently around Fred Wilpon than he did with the rest of his close friends. As close as Fred and Bernie were, Bernie always treated Fred like a business partner at the office and not like a close friend.

Fred Wilpon also had strong admiration for Madoff. When asked by an employee how Bernie was able to bring back such large returns, Fred commented that Madoff was very creative and smarter than everyone else. It is amazing that such a large organization with so much oversight simply let something like this slip by. One would think that the Mets ownership would have tried to do some research on Madoff and other investors before making multi-million investments. However, it appears that the Wilpons’ friendship with the Madoffs got in the way of their better judgment.

The Mets debt totals have actually increased as a result of the Ponzi scheme. The Wilpons had secured loans using the money in their funds with Madoff as collateral. It appears that the team has nearly $400 million in debt now because the loans had to be refinanced with new collateral. This does a lot to explain why the Wilpons are looking to sell a stake in the team.

It may eventually come up that Wilpon did have some knowledge of Madoff’s scheme or it may be true that Wilpon sincerely believed that Madoff was making legitimate investments. Either way, as an organization, the Mets have been greatly impacted by this. It has become more and more evident this offseason, when the Mets did not spend money on free agents.

One must also think about the impact that Madoff has clearly had on the Mets’ past. Do the Mets trade for and sign Johan Santana without their Madoff money? Does Mike Piazza get his huge deal in 1999 without the Madoff money? Do the Mets bring in Carlos Beltran or Pedro Martinez if they did not have their money invested in accounts with Madoffs?

As despicable as it sounds to make this claim, Madoff may have been part of what fueled the Mets’ success during the 2000s. Without him the Wilpons may not have been able to afford the players that they brought in. If this is truly the case, how will we think of these teams when we look back?  And more importantly, what does it mean for the team moving forward to the future.


To keep up on Mets news check out Mr. Mets Daily and Mets Gazette.

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New York Mets: Wilpons Issue Statement About Madoff Lawsuit and Affect on Team

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Mets, Fred Wilpon, and Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Wilpon, issued the following statement today:

“As Sterling Equities announced in December, we are engaged in discussions to settle a lawsuit brought against us and other Sterling partners and members of our families by the Trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy. We are not permitted to comment on these confidential negotiations while they are ongoing.

However, to address the air of uncertainty created by this lawsuit, and to provide additional assurance that the New York Mets will continue to have the necessary resources to fully compete and win, we are looking at a number of potential options including the addition of one or more strategic partners. To explore this, we have retained Steve Greenberg, a Managing Director at Allen & Company, as our advisor.

Regardless of the outcome of this exploration, Sterling will remain the principal ownership group of the Mets and continue to control and manage the team’s operations. The Mets have been a major part of our families for more than 30 years and that is not going to change.

As we have said before, we are totally committed to having the Mets again become a World Series winner. Our fans and all New Yorkers deserve nothing less.”


The Mets are currently involved in a lawsuit with Irving H. Piccard, the trustee charged with recovering and distributing money to the victims of convicted ponzi schemer, Bernie Madoff. Both the team and the Wilpons themselves were sued.

According to a report published by the New York Times, a Mets fundtitled “Mets Limited Partnership”invested $522.7 million with Madoff and withdrew $570.5 million over the course of several years, a $47.8 million profit.

In October, Fred Wilpon called Madoff’s actions “a complete betrayal of us.”

So far, the Wilpons have not directly said that the Madoff situation would affect the Mets’ finances. This offseason, the Mets have been unwilling, or unable, to add additional payroll other than scheduled raises for certain players. They have made several low-key additions, but were not players for the bigger free agents, such as Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee.

So what are fans to take from today’s statements?

Well, there were no comments made concerning the lawsuit itself, other than that they were unable to comment, of course. But there are some important parts of the Wilpons’ statement that fans will want to pay attention to.

First, the Mets are seeking the addition of “one or more strategic partners.”

In December, Sterling Equities, the Wilpon-owned real estate company, said:

“Regardless of the outcome of [the lawsuit], we want to emphasize that the New York Mets will have all the necessary financial and operational resources to fully compete and win. That is our commitment to our fans and to New York.”

That may no longer be the case. If the Mets are in need of additional partners to help support the team’s finances, then perhaps the Madoff dealings had a far greater impact on the team than previously reported by the Wilpons.

Steve Greenberg, who the Wilpons have hired as their adviser in their search for “partners,” is the son of baseball Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.

Allen & Company is widely regarded as the premier investment house in the media and entertainment industry, regularly dealing with guys like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch.

Only time well tell how this situation will directly affect the team. If the Wilpons are going to continue to insist that it won’t have any negative affects as far as payroll is concerned, then fans need to see that through free agent signings and growth in the farm system.

If the Mets are in need of investors for the team, how will that change the dynamic of current operations and how will it change how the new front office will function?

The Wilpons said they will not look to sell the team, regardless of how the search for partners turns out.

This current situation is just another weight on the backs of Mets fans. Not only is the team itself in question, but now it’s finances aren’t in much better shape. Expectations are already low. It would be a shame for this situation to get more play than the actual team.


Update: On a conference call today, the Wilpons said they are willing to sell a 20-25 percent stake in the team to infuse cash.

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Cliff Lee: Why New York Mets Fans Can No Longer Hate The Philadelphia Phillies

Free agent pitcher Cliff Lee agreed to a five-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night, just the most recent example of Major League Baseball being incredibly cruel to New York Mets fans in recent years.

Carlos Beltran was caught looking at strike three in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS with the bases loaded. Then the Mets had back-to-back September collapses. The Phillies went on to win the World Series and faced the Yankees in the World Series the following season. 

Mets fans have spent a lot of time hating the Phillies over the last few seasons, and with good reason. A long dynasty was supposed to start for the Mets in 2006.

That dynasty crashed before it even got off the ground. 

Instead the Phillies have won the division ever since, they’ve won a World Series and returned to the World Series the following season. They have been in the NLCS three years in a row. 

With Cliff Lee joining a Phillies rotation that already features former Cy Young award-winner Roy Halladay, former World Series MVP Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, the Phillies are becoming a more hated team then the Yankees and are drawing comparisons to the Miami Heat.

But while all of baseball is busy sympathizing with Mets fans, it is no longer possible for the Mets to hate the Phillies.

The Mets and Phillies do not have a storied rivalry. In fact, their rivalry has been very brief and recent. Up until 2006, one of the two teams, if not both, was always terrible. In 2006, the Mets were dominant while the Phillies were becoming good. In 2007, it picked up when the Phillies overtook the Mets for first place in September.

By 2008, every Mets fan hated the Phillies, and vice versa, and the Phillies once again overtook the Mets in September.

But by 2009, the Mets were once again awful. The only people who could believe there is still a rivalry between the two teams are people that are living in the past.

But that’s not a reason why Mets fans can’t hate the Phillies anymore, there is a bigger reason there.

This isn’t a rivalry between two relatively evenly-matched teams with one team just constantly getting the better of the other.

For example, until 2004, whenever the Red Sox were good, they always ran into the Yankees and fell to them. Red Sox fans hated the Yankees, as the Yankees were always in their way, Yankees fans, meanwhile, just laughed at Red Sox fans. 

The difference between the Mets and the Phillies is not on the field, but rather in the management of the clubs. 

In the last few years, the Phillies have built an incredibly strong team. They grew homegrown talent and went out and got the right pieces to complement them. They locked down Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels.

They won the World Series with that team. 

But after they won, they decided they needed to get better—they went out and signed Raul Ibanez. When the trade deadline came, they weren’t afraid of what kind of prospects they needed to give up when they traded for Cliff Lee. The following season, they spent big on Roy Halladay. 

When that didn’t work, they opened the checkbook for Cliff Lee.

Meanwhile, the Mets are constantly passing on making moves at the trade deadline. The Mets are saying they don’t need to bring in free agents, that they are happy with what they have. The Mets are handing massive contracts out to Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. When the Mets needed pitching, they threw $66 million at outfielder Jason Bay. 

The Mets stayed out of the free agent market after the season. It is no secret that Fred Wilpon, the team’s owner, lost a lot of money in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, but Wilpon constantly says the Mets still have money, even though they won’t spend any of it.

Wilpon is simply lying to his fan base to keep up the illusion that the Mets could make a splash every offseason, so fan interest and ticket sales will go up. 

The Mets are tied down by bad contracts to old players. Players that hurt the team just by playing. The team would be much better off losing because they are rebuilding and have young prospects on the field.

Instead, the Mets opt to play these bad players because of their contracts. 

Whether these players remain in the lineup or get released, the Mets would have to pay them. If the Mets were committed to winning, they would pay them to leave and give their young players a shot. 

In Philadelphia, there are no doubts about how committed management is to winning. They will spend the money on players and are not afraid of shipping away prospects if it will give them that piece that will put them over the top. 

The most telling tidbit is this: last season, several free agents turned down the Mets even though the Mets offered the most money. They wanted no part of this organization.

This season, Cliff Lee left $50 million on the table just to return to Philly. 

While there may be a lot of animosity between these two teams and their fan bases, as a Mets fan who roots for a team who’s management is not committed to winning, how could you hate a team who’s management is committed to winning. 

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