When it was learned last week that the Mets refinancing removed previous covenants that capped the team’s payroll figure and restricted spending, it validated what I believed and posted many times that it’s the banks who have been calling the shots.
Explaining the consequences of that, the dangerous precedent it sets, and the ill-effects it could have on the game, is Kavitha A. Davidson of Bloomberg. She does a much better job of explaining this mess than I ever could.
Let me get this straight: The Mets — a team playing in the country’s largest television market, notorious for its inflated payrolls, in a sport that, unlike others, prides itself on the absence of a salary cap — have been operating under such a cap imposed by a third party? And Major League Baseball let this happen? Why hasn’t there been a public uproar against this?
She’s right. Imagine if more and more third parties took note and implemented the same restrictions on teams in exchange for loans?
Once it spreads, you may have what the MLB Players Association has been fighting for almost 50 years, a salary cap. And one that didn’t require any collective bargaining whatsoever.
Maybe this is why Bud Selig allowed this to fly. He of course being the mastermind in keeping his friends the Wilpons afloat while letting other owners in the same boat drown. Friends in high places.
And finally, closely reiterating what I wrote last night and have been arguing this morning in the comment threads:
But the Mets aren’t a small-market team, and their financial issues are the fault of its ownership. This is a team that, if run properly, would be able to take full advantage of a system that favors its position in the country’s biggest television market, as their crosstown rivals do, and in theory field an expensive, productive squad that would reap postseason rewards.
Well said, Ms. Davidson, you have my applause. Read the article in its entirety here.