Major League Baseball provided $25 million to the owners of the Mets as they struggled to deal with a cash shortfall last fall and a looming lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s vast Ponzi scheme according to people briefed on the arrangement.
This direct intervention of Commissioner Bud Selig is telling – and the fact that this transaction was done in secret last November and was never made clear until today is even moreso.
The Mets have exhausted baseball’s standard bank line of credit - tens of millions that Mr. Selig and the sport’s owners make available to teams for a variety of reasons. However three weeks ago, Mr Wilpon and Mr. Katz announced that they were willing to sell 25 percent or more of the club, but will not give up majority ownership.
Mr. Selig’s decision to give what amounts to extraordinary assistance to one of the sport’s most prominent and highly valued teams could anger other team owners, who might wonder why their money is being used to rescue a team with a $140 million payroll.
These unusual loans also show that Major League Baseball will prop up a team they feel is worth saving, no matter how much the cost, nor how soon the money is paid back.
These revelations are hurtful to the Mets faithful who are being asked to pay even more for a day at the ballpark than most can afford. It is truly a shame that our children will not experience the games the way we did at their age.
It also makes life difficult for the players who must wonder about job security and if they will be traded for money to help pay the Mets debts.
The phrase “take me out to the ball game” sure has a different meaning these days.