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Bleak Mets Offseason: Are the Wilpons Reeling from Madoff Mess?

Posted By Mark Reichman On Jan 24 2011 @ 7:59 pm In New York Mets | No Comments

Boof Bonser?  That’s the Mets offseason?  C’mon Mets, you want me to re-emerge from blogging oblivion this winter and all you give me is a questionable pitcher whose first name is a sound effect for a punch to the face on the old Batman TV show?

Indeed there was a loud *Boof* this winter, but I’m talking about the punch to the face of Mets fans. A Mets team that ranked near the bottom of nearly every offensive category did almost nothing to help their lineup, and their paltry pitching rotation added just a few new borderline arms to fight for spots they might not even get.

So did the Mets’ owners (the Wilpon family) tighten up their wallets after getting slammed by the Madoff ponzi scheme?  Its hard to find a straight answer to this anywhere on the web (where by the way on Google “Wilpon Madoff” is the first two-word search that comes up if you start typing “w-i-l-p-o”).  The Wilpons tell you, “no its not a problem, we only lost money from this pile and not the Mets money, the Mets money is from the other pile.” And then there is that big lawsuit against the Wilpons where they actually made some fake money from their fake Madoff “investments” which they now have to very really return.

OK, great, well if that’s all true, how come the Mets are spending like the Kansas City Royals this offseason?  Oh wait I’m sorry the Royals just dropped 30 mill on resigning Billy Butler, so make that the Indians.  There’s gotta be some reason the Mets went from shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue to the sale rack at Target.

It’s a fact that the Wilpon’s still have a huge debt to pay off from their buyout of the team from former partner Nelson Doubleday in 1980.  With the hindsight we now have from the Mets front office inactivity, it seems like there must be something to the Madoff rumors, especially if a potential financial shortfall was aggravated by the dropoff in attendance for the second year at CitiField and the financial strife of major sponsor Citibank.

So while I would love to write a hopeful piece on how the Mets acquired a nemesis that has tormented them for years in Nats and Braves uniforms (Willie Harris, from the “if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em” department), how they acquired a former dominant arm with a potential to rediscover his brilliance (Chris Young), or how they remade their bullpen with two guys named Taylor (Buchholz and Tankersley), I just can’t.  But with the humiliation that was 2010, and with the ink still wet on a questionable managerial signing (Terry Collins), I just don’t have that hopeful spirit and I’m in a protective, jaded state, defensively pointing out the many shortcomings of my team.

You know its bad when my only positive feeling from the Mets transaction wire was the hiring of Ken Oberkfell (my choice for manager) as bench coach, making me think “maybe when Collins gets fired midseason…”

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