With all the recent revalations of how Selig has aided the Wilpons maintain ownership on countless occasions, I felt this needed to be said: Selig is not helping the Mets; he is simply helping his buddy Fred.
The job of the MLB commissioner is to keep everything running smoothly in several areas of the game. His goals are to keep the game both popular and economically sound. That is done is by keeping as many teams as possible competitive year in and year out.
So when an owner’s finances dry up, what shouldn’t be done is give him every opportunity to remain the owner of a baseball team. In the situation with the Mets, Selig is letting a team in New York, the biggest market on earth, go down the tubes so Wilpon can maintain his ownership.
Despite what he SHOULD do, Selig has instead provided Wilpon with a $25 million loan, given him an extention on repaying that loan, helped Wilpon and Katz get out of their deal with Einhorn and of course the reports we learned from our own Joe D. These actions could be justified by the idea that Selig is saving the Mets from becoming the next Dodgers (i.e. seizing and auctioning off a team), but in reality all this is aiding is Wilpon.
The Texas Rangers declared bankruptcy, were sold midseason in 2010 and were able to acquire several top-tier players, maintain a high payroll and win the AL pennant for the past two seasons. The Dodgers were seized from Frank McCourt, then proceeded to sign Matt Kemp to the largest contract in National League history and ink about 10-15 free agents this winter. The Mets on the other hand, are seen as “lucky” to receive Selig’s “help” and as a result lose Jose Reyes, slash payroll $35 million and have an almost-guarenteed spot at the basement of the NL East.
New York is not a patient town, and as the Mets continue their free-fall because of Wilpon’s financial situation, the fanbase will lose interest quickly. Once the fanbase has dissipated, the Amazin’s will continue to hemorrhage money until Selig, or whoever is commish by then, is forced to seize the team from Wilpon’s clutches.
The only way to end such a vicous cycle from occuring would be to keep the Mets competitive. The only way to that is for them to have financial flexibility, and in order for them to have that, Selig needs to put his foot down and force Wilpon to sell. The Mets weren’t competitive with a $140 million payroll, so how does Selig expect them to be a winning ballclub with a payroll half that amount?
Selig came down hard on McCourt and seized the Dodgers from him. Yet when it comes to Wilpon, he has gone out of his way to help his pal keep his team. Despite mounting nearly $500 million in debt, taking out two eight-figure loans (one from MLB itself), losing $70 million in 2011, having no clear way for how to pay for the construction of Citi Field and on top of all that having a high profile lawsuit in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal, Selig has taken no steps to work towards a changing of hands of the Mets to another, more financially stable owner.
This whole situation is a prime example of what friends in high places can get you. While under the guise of helping to save the Mets, all Selig is doing is coming to the aid of his good friend Fred Wilpon, and royally screwing the Mets and the fanbase in the process.