>Meet the Me$$: A Mets Fan’s Perspective

Posted: February 8, 2011 by Keith Stone in baseball, Mets


My buddy Rodave is a huge Mets fan and was actually in attendance for Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. He E-mailed me in response to the Madoff situation with the Mets. Here’s what he said:

As a Mets fan, my only issue with the Wilpon-Madoff scandal is that for the first time in a while even at the outset of the season, the Mets have no hope for contention. Typically since the 2007 collapse, those hopes are dashed quite early on in the season, but at least there is always the glimmer of optimism. Not this year.

There’s a looming sentiment of depression when discussing anything Mets. It’s not anger or disappointment (after 2007, you’re just fooling yourself if disappointment is still in your vocabulary as a Mets fan.) Hell, those emotions would be welcomed over the helplessness we now feel. Some Michael Vick-esque scandal may be just what the team needs to ignite some sort of fire (and yes, I use Vick over Big Ben because it’s all we have over Philadelphia these days.)

In legal proceedings, the purported criminal’s mental state is paramount in determining the type of crime charged. With the Wilpons the question is whether they really were in the dark or were willfully blind. The willful blindness, or ostrich theory, seems appealing because the Wilpons and Sterling Equities are “sophisticated investors.” How could they have been duped? Picard will answer that they weren’t—that they were in fact in on it (the fact that the $500+ million they still managed to withdraw from the fund doesn’t look too good.)

As you pointed out, however, the other alternative is that the Wilpons were just moronically oblivious to the Ponzi scheme. For one thing, there were plenty of sophisticated investors tied to Madoff losing vast sums of money, including my very own NYU. Additionally, while the Wilpons profited on certain accounts, they also lost on others.  The facts seem to show that they at least invested nearly as much as they eventually took out. Yes, the profits will still be subject to Picard’s claims, but it is not clear that those profits were gained with inside knowledge. If you want to keep a Ponzi scheme, it occurs to me that Madoff would slowly bleed all his accounts and not simply go for the kill. Lastly, it’s the Mets. If you’re Picard trying to build your resume, the fact that you took the owners of the Mets down rather than some pension fund or educational institution would make for a better story.

In the end, I don’t care. The Wilpons will lawyer up. They may or may not keep the team. I’ve heard past players including Darryl Strawberry say kind words about the family, and perhaps, they really
deserve to keep the team. But as a fan, I don’t have a special place in my heart for the Wilpons as some owners, such as Mark Cuban or George Steinbrenner, have in the hearts of their fans. Right now all I hear is the deafening woosh of the 2011 season passing by like an Adam Wainwright curve to Carlos Beltran.

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