Bienvenue, Montreal?

Meet the Debts. How close is this team to becoming another ‘Montreal’?

For more than two years, the Mets have said that were it not for the Madoff lawsuit, everything would have been fine financially for the team. However this story in the New York Times disputes that after furthering their own investigation into this mess:

When the owners of the Mets said in late January that they would seek buyers for up to 25 percent of the club, they cited “the air of uncertainty” created by the $1 billion lawsuit brought by Irving H. Picard, the trustee representing the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’sPonzi scheme.

But a look at the team’s financial condition — gleaned from public financial documents and numerous interviews — suggests the team may well have needed the proceeds from selling part of the team regardless of the suit.

The article concludes that the team was already battling significantly lower revenues than they projected from their new park, Citi Field. Couple that with a bad economy, declining ticket sales, no financial muscle to improve a team that finished in 4th place two straight seasons and you get the picture.

We now know that the Mets were actually seeking investors behind closed doors long before Madoff was arrested.

We also know that the Wilpons are not getting any more money from Bud Selig or MLB. They owe apparently a small fortune or a big one – makes no difference, I guess. However, we are hearing about groups forming who are ready to become owners of this team – or part owners.

A new GM is in charge, Sandy Alderson who takes no prisoners, and never seems to change his mind over any decision. He listens more than he speaks – a marvelous trait.

Our new Manager – Terry Collins – is on the job every day and on top of what he has to do. He speaks with every member of the team each day and is totally up to date with what is going on with the team.

Both of these men seem to be able to operate the team just fine.

Now from another point of view – the players’. How would you like to wonder about your professional future? Will the team still be intact months from now? Will you be able to be paid? How about your future? A baseball team skews young – many are in their twenties and just starting out in the world of professional sports. Sure the contract sounded great, but now I’ll bet they are checking to see if their salary has been deposited as it should be.

I believe these questions are on the minds of a lot of Mets fans – even those of us who have been here since the beginning have never had to read about our team in the Wall Street Journal before or have Mario Cuomo serve as a mediator in Federal Court in a baseball matter.

Are better days coming?

We can only hope.