Mike Ozanian of Forbes Magazine, eulogized the Mets this weekend and wrote the following:
The Mets franchise as we have known it since Nelson Doubleday and Wilpon bought the team in 1986, is dead. There are two causes of this fatality: One, Wilpon forgot his primary duty as a team owner was to produce a quality product that, in baseball’s biggest market, was self-sustaining. He had that obligation. Instead, he used the team as an ATM to earn high returns from a dubious fund manager and his cable channel to pay himself a leveraged dividend. Second, MLB commissioner Bud Selig neglected his responsibility to baseball to act in the best interests of the game. Selig whiffed on the huge debts that Wilpon piled up on the team, stadium and cable channel. I do not believe this was because of Selig’s friendship with Wilpon. After all, Selig fell for a similar game with Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers. But it is neglect nevertheless.
Ozanian goes on to speculate that Wilpon and Katz are as good as gone and it will happen sooner rather than later. I disagree with him.
He further adds that it would be good for baseball in general if commissioner Bud Selig resigned. He feels strongly that Selig turned a blind eye to this Mets disaster as he has before with other teams and owners.
He concludes that until the Wilpons are finally gone and a new commissioner is put in place that is dedicated to ensuring the integrity of every team in the league, the image of the Mets and the National Pastime will remain tarnished.
Those are some very harsh words from Forbes who seem to be interested in taking the lead on this Wilpon/Madoff situation ever since the story first broke.
While I don’t believe the Wilpons will get through this mess by simply selling a 25% stake in the team, I do believe they will ultimately find a way to pay for any settlement agreement, and still maintain a majority ownership of the Mets.
They may have to give up 49% of the Mets and also a part of SNY to keep that control, but at the end of the day, the Wilpons will still maintain majority ownership and all decision making power over the New York Mets.