New York Mets: With David Einhorn in Place, It's Time To Dump the Wilpons
Finkle is Einhorn! Einhorn is Finkle! Einhorn...is a man?!
Sorry, just had to get that out of the way.
Anyway, desperate for a positive story to hit the newspapers, the Mets finally found a potential minority owner in hedge fund manager David Einhorn.
Einhorn's $200 million bid to purchase a share of the Mets still needs approval by Major League Baseball, but Mets fans should be excited.
Einhorn is not only a man smart enough to be lauded by one Wall Street exec as having the "brassiest brass ones," but more importantly, he's a Mets fan.
"I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets," Einhorn told Jeane MacIntosh of the New York Post. "I even dressed in a homemade jersey as a Met for Halloween."
Being a Met for Halloween?
It's safe to say Einhorn has an inside track.
If the bid is accepted, the Mets may finally have found a way to dig this team out from the basement. Fans can now hope that the Wilpons sell their remaining share of the team because there is a real fan waiting to take over.
How badly did Einhorn want a piece of the Mets?
Well, during the Wilpons' search for a buyer, it was widely assumed that any deal would have to include a piece of SNY. Any deal that didn't would probably be a mistake. After all, SNY is the only part of the Mets that actually makes money.
Yet Einhorn's share does not include SNY.
Since Einhorn was announced, he has given several quotes that should excite any Mets fan.
He called his chance to purchase a minority share of the team "beyond my wildest childhood dreams."
He wants to be here, and he wants this team to win.
Yes, he's not the first guy to come in and proclaim he wants a winner. But the Wilpons' desire (and ability) to put a winning product on the field has taken a drastic nosedive, culminating in Fred Wilpon's quotes bashing his star players David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.
Who knows? If the Wilpons decide to sell the team this season, perhaps Einhorn would be more generous with his finances and keep Reyes in New York.
One can only hope.
Einhorn is also a big fantasy baseball fan. Owning a major-league team is far from fantasy since we're playing with real people and very real money.
But when asked what he would do when a top player hits the draft market, Einhorn says, "I would close my eyes, pay up, break the budget and buy him. It would be too good an opportunity to pass up."
The Mets have famously given big money to aging players or have simply watched their seemingly quality investments collapse due to injury or poor performance.
They don't need another guy coming in throwing money around to just anybody.
But Einhorn said any acquisition would have to be a "value" player, so it's safe to assume that Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez would not have been cashing any checks from the Mets with Einhorn at the helm.
Einhorn is also big on charity. He won $660,000 at the World Series of Poker in 2008—and gave it all to Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's research charity.
The Mets may be the biggest charity case in baseball right now.
Yes, bigger than the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If the Wilpon's sell, would you be happy with Einhorn as majority owner?
So if Einhorn is looking for a new charity, he's found it in Queens.
Einhorn's $200 million investment would help boost the Mets' lagging finances for the moment, but they're certainly not out of the woods yet.
They still need to resolve the $1 billion lawsuit with Irving Picard stemming from the team's involvement with convicted swindler Bernie Madoff.
Einhorn would certainly have put himself in a position to have first dibs on buying the whole team should the Wilpons decide to cash out.
The Mets have taken steps in recent months to create a winning culture. They brought in Sandy Alderson as general manager, who, in turn, brought in his own baseball support staff of J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta.
They also brought in Terry Collins, who has already paid huge dividends in the win-loss column by changing the atmosphere in the clubhouse. There is almost no way this team is just three games under .500 without Collins in charge.
The pieces are there for the Mets to win. The problem is at the top of the pyramid.
If Einhorn eventually becomes the majority owner of the Mets, fans should feel completely confident that the team can make the right moves.
There is still lots to do. They still need to restock their poor farm system and find the money to bring in quality talent and keep the quality talent they already have in town.
With Einhorn, the Mets now have confident and, more importantly, competent faces in power from top to bottom.
Now they just need to get the Wilpons out of town so a childhood Mets fan can play out his real-life fantasy game.
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