New York Mets: Are They the Next Team MLB Will Seize Control Of?
In a story that made headlines all over the country, Major League Baseball took control of the Los Angeles Dodgers this week.
This decision came in response to the ugly divorce involving Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.
On Monday, Commissioner Bud Selig announced that former Texas Rangers general partner Tom Schieffer would be running the day-to-day operations of the team.
It’s a shame that MLB was forced to intervene in this situation, which involves one of baseball’s most storied franchises.
Selig believes this move will preserve the Dodgers franchise and get the team back on track.
Here are five reasons why the Mets may fit the bill.
5. Set Precedent with Dodgers
Now that MLB has taken over the Dodgers, the league has set a precedent for being able to step into a troubling situation in an attempt to make it right.
The Mets are suffering from the effects of the Madoff scandal, which has eaten away at team finances.
If this experiment with the Dodgers works, there will be no stopping MLB from trying again with the Mets or another franchise.
Though the Mets can avert some of this negative attention by playing fundamentally sound baseball, the offseason troubles aren’t going anywhere fast.
4. Looming Debt Appears Insurmountable
The Mets are rumored to owe over $300 million of fake Madoff profits to victims of the scandal.
This isn’t exactly money that will grow on trees.
The Mets are already familiar with receiving loans from MLB, so having the league take control wouldn’t be so outlandish given the nature of these loans.
Though the Mets will have a significant amount of payroll coming off the books next season, Sandy Alderson and company should use that money to sign impact players rather than have to pay off debts.
If taken over, the Mets would have the luxury of receiving more financial loans in an attempt to alleviate some of the team’s debt.
3. Convince Fans Change Is Imminent
If the MLB took over the franchise, it would convince the fans that change is imminent.
The Mets went out and hired a brand new front office—highlighted by Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi—to change the culture of the team.
While slowly but surely this seems to be working, the looming financial burden has caused many fans to lose faith.
However, if the league steps in, it may give fans a renewed sense of hope that a consistently winning product is on the way.
The problem here would be how long the league remains in control even after the financial troubles begin to subside.
The situation with the Dodgers will be very telling.
2. New York Market
The sport of baseball is heightened when both New York teams are on top of their games.
However, the last few years, only the New York Yankees have made noise in the boroughs.
New York is the largest baseball market in the country, which means that it’s good for the game when both teams are playing well. It would be in the best interest of the league to ensure both New York teams are in the spotlight.
Though there is no correlation between MLB stepping in and the team playing well, the Mets would be able to focus more on the game, while the league looked more at the financial issues.
Once again, Los Angeles—the second-largest baseball market—will set the example of how a team responds when the league intervenes.
1. Wilpons May Be Persuaded to Sell Fully
If it comes to the point where MLB is forced to step in, it will send a message to the Wilpons.
The Wilpons are already losing popularity as the team’s owners, especially since they are claiming to have not known of Madoff’s intentions all along.
Seeing their franchise fall into the hands of MLB may convince the Wilpons that it’s time to sell the whole team instead of just minority shares.
The sale of the franchise would give the fans and even the front office and players a new look on things and could lead to a return of winning baseball to Flushing.