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The Mets Ownership / Management Thread

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  • Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    Read the post again. All these points were addressed. Check out the financial statements embedded in the series of Deadspin articles.
    Mongoose, that was about the Pirates finances (documented by the NY Times) again not a fan of deadspin (or care about the other teams they documented) because they are lazy and do spin. Find me a more credible outlet for the other teams to go with the Pirates who were making a 30m profit, not 500m.

    Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    Subtract player salaries from each and you'll find operating expenses tend to fall in the $80-$90 million range regardless of market. Each is itemized. Why would the Mets be especially different?
    Because as you pointed out this is New York and costs are much more expensive for all expenses to operate a franchise and a network.

    Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    The bit in the New Yorker about how attendance equates to revenue rings true. "Citi" Field is expensive and most of the seats are in the lower bowl. I think most people there aren't consciously boycotting concessions. They aren't pikers either once you get out of steerage. It doesn't take much to consume $40 worth of food and drink. Now that the Wilpons have apparently quit dumping tickets, most of the tickets you see on Stub Hub were purchased at full price by season ticket holders. Still, I allowed for crummier turnstile attendance and ticket discounts in estimating total revenue.
    I would like to see the article and quotes from someone other than Fredo himself to substantiate his claim. Both of us would never take Fredo at his word but you did on this point.

    Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    Doug's a poster here and made the point that much of SNY's revenue comes from cable subscribers. $120 million of it is paid in what are basically royalty checks with no related expenses at all. Outside the $70 million they skim off the top themselves for Mets rights, what other significant expenses does SNY have? Their partners already have the necessary infrastructure to run a regional sports network.
    We need a lot more professional media information to make any claim a network is this profitable beyond writing tv rights have exploded or another posters claims.

    As for Doubleday no doubt he had problems with Fredo and Jeff-R-Us, but it takes more than that to claim a losing franchise in a mostly empty ballpark are now making 500m every single year unless his final settlement was countless times the club's estimated value in 2002.

    The Mets have been on television for generations, they had owners bleeding red ink and so have the Yankees as they bounced between CH 9, 11. I'm not giving you a hard time but you should be doubting the 500m figure and you did not touch my point on NYC telling them leave if they did not like their ballparks because based on the revenue claim of 500m that never would have been possible.

    We also have contemporary information on Cable rights with regard to the Dodgers in a ballpark older than Shea:
    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,5602405.story
    Last edited by WEB; 11-19-2012, 08:33 PM.

    Comment


    • http://www.newyorker.com/search/quer...=Fred%20Wilpon

      Here is Fredo's archives in the New Yorker, perhaps it was not in six tagged articles, however I did not find his financial comments but know it's been re-written by others:


      http://www.capitalnewyork.com/articl...-or-their-fans

      While it is still unknown who bought all of the minority shares—the already-identified new owners are, well, the old owners, with Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz each purchasing a share, and SNY, the Wilpon-owned network, purchasing at least four—that matters less than the reality that if the Mets did take in $240 in exchange for 48 percent of the team, then the owners bought themselves time.

      How much time? Given what is known about their remaining obligations, as much as a year from this sale.

      Let's take a look at where the money is going.

      Of the $240 million, $40 million went out the door immediately to pay a bridge loan from Bank of America from last November, $25 million went to pay a past-due loan to Major League Baseball, and at least $100 million to JPMorgan Chase to pay down a portion of the $430 million debt against the team due in June 2014. That's $165 million of the sale that immediately went back out. It may be more: JPMorgan Chase might have needed more money to allow the Mets to take on new debt, which is what the sale is, since the owners can sell their stakes back to the Mets in 2018, for what it cost them plus three percent annual interest. But let's give the Mets owners the maximum possible use of this new money.

      That leaves $75 million to deal with this year's obligations. The owners will have to make a pair of payments on Citi Field—those payments totaled $43.7 million last year. They'll have $20 million in interest on the $450 million debt against SNY due in 2015, plus $30 million in interest on the $430 million debt against the Mets. If we assume that's been knocked down by a quarter, or even a third—those three obligations still total right around $75 million.

      That leaves essentially no breathing room for the team to deal with any team losses in 2012. But there is a massive difference between last season's budget, which saw the Mets lose $70 million, and this one. The team chopped $52 million off the books in salary, cut ten percent of their workforce, and even eliminated a minor league team (at an estimated savings of $800,000). If we assume, best-case, that the workforce laid off amounts to even $2 million—doubtful, if you know how M.L.B. employees who aren't on the field or executives are compensated—then we'll estimate that they chopped $55 million off the expenses, getting 2012 losses down to $15 million.

      The problem there is assuming their intake will be static as well. The Mets managed their 2011 budget with attendance of 2.34 million. Attendance, of course, is the financial lifeblood of a baseball team. Having cut ticket prices significantly, the Mets wouldn't even have the same revenue if every fan who attended in 2011 returned in 2012. And there's little indication that even that is happening so far.

      With every 200,000 fans worth $25 million to the Mets, even a drop to, say, 1.7 million fans in 2012 would create a shortfall equal to the money they need to pay off 2012 Citi Field debt and interest payments.

      But again, giving the team the benefit of the doubt—maybe the depleted roster, inspired by Terry Collins, will find a way to scrap their way into contention—let's say that the owners' projection of attendance increasing by ten percent in 2012 is correct. (That projection was rejected by Standard and Poor's late last year, and seems entirely at odds with both the product on the field and fan sentiment, but never mind.) That would keep revenue essentially flat, since they've reduced ticket prices.

      Their owners' dilemma is that in a year, that $240 million will be spent. And in 2013, they face the same payments all over again: two Citi Field payments, interest on their SNY debt, interest on their Mets team debt. And in the intervening year, because of these crushing obligations, they have little opportunity to improve the on-field product, making it hard to increase revenue.
      Last edited by WEB; 11-19-2012, 09:27 PM.

      Comment


      • I'm having time wrapping my head around that. The owners of the Mets sold the minority shares of the club (that they already owned?) to themselves or their cable affiliate (that they own?). What sort of shell game are they playing at? I assume there is a tax advantage otherwise why not just reach into their own pockets.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by PVNICK View Post
          I'm having time wrapping my head around that. The owners of the Mets sold the minority shares of the club (that they already owned?) to themselves or their cable affiliate (that they own?). What sort of shell game are they playing at? I assume there is a tax advantage otherwise why not just reach into their own pockets.
          Best to ask some lawyers why they did it that way. Nothing they do is straightforward. There's always some weird angle with a new swindle hanging off it.

          They must feel pretty secure right now. Jeffy has inserted himself in the middle of things again:

          http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/mets/...source=dlvr.it

          Wright ‘50-50’ to sign Mets extension

          By MIKE PUMA
          Last Updated: 3:05 AM, November 20, 2012
          Posted: 1:58 AM, November 20, 2012
          Mets Blog
          Mets on Twitter

          David Wright is taking his time ordering new business cards that include a Mets logo.

          According to an industry source with knowledge of the discussions, Wright is a “50-50” proposition at best to sign a long-term extension with the Mets this offseason, as the two sides continue to negotiate a deal that would potentially allow the All-Star third baseman to finish his career in Queens.

          The source said Wright is less than thrilled with the length of contract and amount of guaranteed money the Mets have offered. It could set up a game of chicken between Mets brass and Wright’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, heading to the winter meetings, which begin in two weeks in Nashville, Tenn.

          The team’s general manager, Sandy Alderson, last week indicated he would be seeking clarity on the status of Wright and R.A. Dickey between Thanksgiving and the winter meetings as the Mets try to determine whether to lock up or potentially trade their stars.

          The Mets and Dickey have discussed a two-year extension — among various other scenarios, according to a source — but it remains unclear if a new deal with the NL Cy Young award winner would eliminate the possibility he is traded this offseason.

          A team official said he was “not sure” if a contract extension for Dickey would guarantee the knuckleballer isn’t traded this winter. The Mets have glaring holes in the outfield and at catcher and could look to deal the 38-year-old Dickey to fill those needs.

          But in the aftermath of the Marlins unloading several stars, including Jose Reyes, to the Blue Jays — a deal that was finalized yesterday — the thought within the industry is Dickey might consider seeking some form of no-trade protection in negotiations with the Mets.

          Wright, who turns 30 next month, is believed to be seeking a deal of at least seven years and $125 million that would give him the largest contract for a position player in franchise history.

          Wright’s agents also could push for the Mets to tear up the $16 million option they recently exercised on the third baseman for 2013 and add a small amount — say $500,000 (making Wright’s new salary $16.5 million) — and allowing the sides to frame a new deal as including next season and pushing it beyond the $137.5 million contract Johan Santana received before the 2008 season.

          But the two sides remain at a stalemate.

          “Part of it is [COO] Jeff Wilpon tries to win every negotiation, he doesn’t go for the middle ground,” said a person familiar with the club’s negotiating tactics.

          Wright has said he will not negotiate with the Mets beyond spring training, putting him in position to hit the open market next offseason if a new deal can’t be struck.



          Nelson Doubleday gave a great interview to the Newark Star Ledger on July 21st 2003.

          Jeff Wilpon is mentioned:


          Rocca: Doubleday has his say

          Monday, July 21, 2003

          It has been almost 11 months since he completed the sale of his half of the Mets to Fred Wilpon, and Nelson Doubleday misses being involved in Major League Baseball, which is not to say he misses being involved with the Mets.

          "I think it's been awful out there," Doubleday said by phone early Friday night from his Long Island home. "I don't want to fire shells at somebody, but we're 22 games out. It's so close that it gets you nervous. We might fall into a minor league. We might not even make it into Triple-A. The Mets might be in Double-A next year."

          "The most exciting thing lately was that brawl between the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones. Maybe they took lessons from (Armando) Benitez. He hadn't even reported yet and they got into that brawl."

          That Doubleday knew the Class A affiliates of the Yankees and Mets had a nasty brawl Thursday is evidence he's been paying close attention to baseball, even as he said he occupies his time these days playing golf in "Florida, Nantucket, here and there. I haven't made it out to Shea once this year."

          Doubleday still owns box seats at Shea, right next to the Mets' dugout, close to where Jeff Wilpon sometimes sits in the owner's seats. That seems to be one reason Doubleday doesn't go to games.

          "Jeff sits there by himself like he's King Tut waiting for his camel," Doubleday said. "Hump one. Hump two. They like that, two for the price of one."

          Doubleday has great disdain for Fred Wilpon, but maybe even more for his son, whom he single-handedly kept out of the organization in recent years.

          "He got thrown out of Greenvale in the fifth grade for being arrogant and he hasn't improved," Doubleday said of the Long Island private school his children attended and through which he met Wilpon.

          "I saw a comment in another paper after the (Roberto) Alomar trade, that it was a very good trade, but it would have been an excellent trade if they had included Jeff Wilpon.

          "(John) Franco and (Al) Leiter meet with Mr. Jeff Wilpon everyday. Mr. Jeff Wilpon has decided that he's going to learn how to run a baseball team and take over at the end of the year.

          "Run for the hills, boys. I think probably all those baseball people will bail."


          Doubleday wondered whether any potential exodus would include Mike Piazza. Doubleday was the driving force behind his acquisition and suspects the Wilpons might be trying to push the superstar out of the organization

          "I like the skill and finesse with which they told Mike he is going to be a first baseman," Doubleday said. "That's like an oversized truck trying to get through the Midtown Tunnel. 'Here's your hat. What's your hurry?'"

          Doubleday also said he "felt badly" that Steve Phillips and Bobby Valentine were fired.

          "I mean, Art Howe?" Doubleday said. "Come on. This isn't Padooka."

          Doubleday seemed amused that Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Armando Benitez and Tom Glavine have been disappointments after celebrated recruiting and motivational efforts by Fred Wilpon this winter.

          On Vaughn, Doubleday said: "They made him lose weight so they didn't have to feed him so much in the team lunch basket."

          Of Glavine, Doubleday said: "Somebody ought to check his record in the second half of last season. Maybe he lost his lunch at the Four Seasons."

          The restaurant in the Manhattan Four Seasons is where Wilpon dined with Alomar and Glavine during the winter.

          Doubleday also took some shots at Franco, a favorite of Wilpon's and fellow alumnus of Lafayette High School in Brooklyn.

          "There's a great pitcher," Doubleday said. "The other night, it didn't look like he could throw it through the hole in a life preserver. But he's from Brooklyn! Watch out! He goes home to Ebbets Field every night. He takes a ride on the Cyclone."

          Doubleday misses baseball, but not the Wilpons or the Mets.



          The whole interview is LOL funny, especially the bits about Glavine and Vaughn towards the end.

          Looks like Jeff will continue the tradition of arrogant meddling for decades to come.


          "The Fightin' Met With Two Heads" - Mike Tyson/Ray Knight!

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
            Best to ask some lawyers why they did it that way. Nothing they do is straightforward. There's always some weird angle with a new swindle hanging off it.

            They must feel pretty secure right now. Jeffy has inserted himself in the middle of things again:

            http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/mets/...source=dlvr.it

            Wright ‘50-50’ to sign Mets extension

            By MIKE PUMA
            Last Updated: 3:05 AM, November 20, 2012
            Posted: 1:58 AM, November 20, 2012
            Mets Blog
            Mets on Twitter

            David Wright is taking his time ordering new business cards that include a Mets logo.

            According to an industry source with knowledge of the discussions, Wright is a “50-50” proposition at best to sign a long-term extension with the Mets this offseason, as the two sides continue to negotiate a deal that would potentially allow the All-Star third baseman to finish his career in Queens.

            The source said Wright is less than thrilled with the length of contract and amount of guaranteed money the Mets have offered. It could set up a game of chicken between Mets brass and Wright’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, heading to the winter meetings, which begin in two weeks in Nashville, Tenn.

            The team’s general manager, Sandy Alderson, last week indicated he would be seeking clarity on the status of Wright and R.A. Dickey between Thanksgiving and the winter meetings as the Mets try to determine whether to lock up or potentially trade their stars.

            The Mets and Dickey have discussed a two-year extension — among various other scenarios, according to a source — but it remains unclear if a new deal with the NL Cy Young award winner would eliminate the possibility he is traded this offseason.

            A team official said he was “not sure” if a contract extension for Dickey would guarantee the knuckleballer isn’t traded this winter. The Mets have glaring holes in the outfield and at catcher and could look to deal the 38-year-old Dickey to fill those needs.

            But in the aftermath of the Marlins unloading several stars, including Jose Reyes, to the Blue Jays — a deal that was finalized yesterday — the thought within the industry is Dickey might consider seeking some form of no-trade protection in negotiations with the Mets.

            Wright, who turns 30 next month, is believed to be seeking a deal of at least seven years and $125 million that would give him the largest contract for a position player in franchise history.

            Wright’s agents also could push for the Mets to tear up the $16 million option they recently exercised on the third baseman for 2013 and add a small amount — say $500,000 (making Wright’s new salary $16.5 million) — and allowing the sides to frame a new deal as including next season and pushing it beyond the $137.5 million contract Johan Santana received before the 2008 season.

            But the two sides remain at a stalemate.

            “Part of it is [COO] Jeff Wilpon tries to win every negotiation, he doesn’t go for the middle ground,” said a person familiar with the club’s negotiating tactics.

            Wright has said he will not negotiate with the Mets beyond spring training, putting him in position to hit the open market next offseason if a new deal can’t be struck.



            Nelson Doubleday gave a great interview to the Newark Star Ledger on July 21st 2003.

            Jeff Wilpon is mentioned:


            Rocca: Doubleday has his say

            Monday, July 21, 2003

            It has been almost 11 months since he completed the sale of his half of the Mets to Fred Wilpon, and Nelson Doubleday misses being involved in Major League Baseball, which is not to say he misses being involved with the Mets.

            "I think it's been awful out there," Doubleday said by phone early Friday night from his Long Island home. "I don't want to fire shells at somebody, but we're 22 games out. It's so close that it gets you nervous. We might fall into a minor league. We might not even make it into Triple-A. The Mets might be in Double-A next year."

            "The most exciting thing lately was that brawl between the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones. Maybe they took lessons from (Armando) Benitez. He hadn't even reported yet and they got into that brawl."

            That Doubleday knew the Class A affiliates of the Yankees and Mets had a nasty brawl Thursday is evidence he's been paying close attention to baseball, even as he said he occupies his time these days playing golf in "Florida, Nantucket, here and there. I haven't made it out to Shea once this year."

            Doubleday still owns box seats at Shea, right next to the Mets' dugout, close to where Jeff Wilpon sometimes sits in the owner's seats. That seems to be one reason Doubleday doesn't go to games.

            "Jeff sits there by himself like he's King Tut waiting for his camel," Doubleday said. "Hump one. Hump two. They like that, two for the price of one."

            Doubleday has great disdain for Fred Wilpon, but maybe even more for his son, whom he single-handedly kept out of the organization in recent years.

            "He got thrown out of Greenvale in the fifth grade for being arrogant and he hasn't improved," Doubleday said of the Long Island private school his children attended and through which he met Wilpon.

            "I saw a comment in another paper after the (Roberto) Alomar trade, that it was a very good trade, but it would have been an excellent trade if they had included Jeff Wilpon.

            "(John) Franco and (Al) Leiter meet with Mr. Jeff Wilpon everyday. Mr. Jeff Wilpon has decided that he's going to learn how to run a baseball team and take over at the end of the year.

            "Run for the hills, boys. I think probably all those baseball people will bail."


            Doubleday wondered whether any potential exodus would include Mike Piazza. Doubleday was the driving force behind his acquisition and suspects the Wilpons might be trying to push the superstar out of the organization

            "I like the skill and finesse with which they told Mike he is going to be a first baseman," Doubleday said. "That's like an oversized truck trying to get through the Midtown Tunnel. 'Here's your hat. What's your hurry?'"

            Doubleday also said he "felt badly" that Steve Phillips and Bobby Valentine were fired.

            "I mean, Art Howe?" Doubleday said. "Come on. This isn't Padooka."

            Doubleday seemed amused that Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Armando Benitez and Tom Glavine have been disappointments after celebrated recruiting and motivational efforts by Fred Wilpon this winter.

            On Vaughn, Doubleday said: "They made him lose weight so they didn't have to feed him so much in the team lunch basket."

            Of Glavine, Doubleday said: "Somebody ought to check his record in the second half of last season. Maybe he lost his lunch at the Four Seasons."

            The restaurant in the Manhattan Four Seasons is where Wilpon dined with Alomar and Glavine during the winter.

            Doubleday also took some shots at Franco, a favorite of Wilpon's and fellow alumnus of Lafayette High School in Brooklyn.

            "There's a great pitcher," Doubleday said. "The other night, it didn't look like he could throw it through the hole in a life preserver. But he's from Brooklyn! Watch out! He goes home to Ebbets Field every night. He takes a ride on the Cyclone."

            Doubleday misses baseball, but not the Wilpons or the Mets.



            The whole interview is LOL funny, especially the bits about Glavine and Vaughn towards the end.

            Looks like Jeff will continue the tradition of arrogant meddling for decades to come.
            The 2003 story sounds like Nelson had a bad case of sour grapes. I am not sure if he would not be public enemy #1 if he was the current owner of the Mets. I also was not happy when I heard Jeffies comments. I though he was supposed to stay out of it and let the guys he pays to run the team, run the team. I guess owning a toy is not fun unless you get to play with it once in a while.

            Comment


            • http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/time-for-new-york-mets-fred-wilpon-to-reinvest-in-

              some tid bits: Exact quotes from the article....especially noteworthy is the catching, outfield and bullpen remarks.

              But tell that to Mets fans.Tell them why, in a year in which the Mets will host the All-Star Game at Citi Field, the team still appears to be operating rather tentatively, as if re-signing outfielder Scott Hairston will bust the budget.

              and

              Why aren’t the Wright and Dickey extensions finished if the Mets truly intend to keep them? Why aren’t the Mets aggressively trying to upgrade their catching, outfield and bullpen?

              and

              More to the point: Why the heck should anyone believe that anything better than a fifth straight fourth-place finish is in the Mets’ immediate future?

              and

              Meanwhile, the team’s attendance has dropped from 3.15 million in ’09 — the first year of Citi Field — to 2.24 million last season. The Mets’ total ranked 17th in the majors, just behind the Reds and just ahead of the Marlins. Both of those clubs play in much smaller markets, and were disappointed by their respective figures.


              Hmmmm, doesn't Ken Rosenthal realize the Mets are headed down the right path?

              http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/t...in-team-111812

              Comment


              • Originally posted by rjsallstars View Post
                The 2003 story sounds like Nelson had a bad case of sour grapes. I am not sure if he would not be public enemy #1 if he was the current owner of the Mets. I also was not happy when I heard Jeffies comments. I though he was supposed to stay out of it and let the guys he pays to run the team, run the team. I guess owning a toy is not fun unless you get to play with it once in a while.

                Well, Jeffy's reemergence ends the charade that Alderson had much more real power than Al Harazin or Jim Duquette.

                Jeffy's actually been quite vocal lately. He's reasserting himself. Here's more:

                http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...sort-1.4247750

                Jeff Wilpon: Trading David Wright, R.A. Dickey would be only a last resort

                Originally published: November 20, 2012 6:12 PM
                Updated: November 20, 2012 9:26 PM
                By MARC CARIG marc.carig@newsday.com

                If the Mets fail to sign R.A. Dickey and David Wright to long-term deals this winter, conventional thinking dictates that both would be shopped in the trade market, allowing the team to salvage some value for parting ways with their two brightest stars.

                But chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday that trades would be only a last resort, and that if deals can't be reached, he'd rather have both play out the final year of their deals. The goal remains signing both to long-term extensions.

                "That's the first preference; that has been the first preference," Wilpon said. "Second preference is probably keep them and have them play out the season. Third preference would be to trade them. They're both very important to the franchise, they're both fan favorites, so we'd like to keep it that way."...



                In other words they plan to employ the same tactic used with Reyes. If they can't sign Wright and Dickey, most likely to a lowball contract, they'll keep them to fill seats during another otherwise lost season, and then let them walk for nothing, thereby not improving the team at all.

                I always assumed this was a Wilpon strategy when the puppet Alderson employed it with Reyes. Jeffy's helped confirm it.
                Last edited by Mongoose; 11-21-2012, 06:51 PM.


                "The Fightin' Met With Two Heads" - Mike Tyson/Ray Knight!

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
                  Well, Jeffy's reemergence ends the charade that Alderson had much more real power than Al Harazin or Jim Duquette.

                  Jeffy's actually been quite vocal lately. He's reasserting himself. Here's more:

                  http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...sort-1.4247750

                  Jeff Wilpon: Trading David Wright, R.A. Dickey would be only a last resort

                  Originally published: November 20, 2012 6:12 PM
                  Updated: November 20, 2012 9:26 PM
                  By MARC CARIG marc.carig@newsday.com

                  If the Mets fail to sign R.A. Dickey and David Wright to long-term deals this winter, conventional thinking dictates that both would be shopped in the trade market, allowing the team to salvage some value for parting ways with their two brightest stars.

                  But chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday that trades would be only a last resort, and that if deals can't be reached, he'd rather have both play out the final year of their deals. The goal remains signing both to long-term extensions.

                  "That's the first preference; that has been the first preference," Wilpon said. "Second preference is probably keep them and have them play out the season. Third preference would be to trade them. They're both very important to the franchise, they're both fan favorites, so we'd like to keep it that way."...



                  In other words they plan to employ the same tactic used with Reyes. If they can't sign Wright and Dickey, most likely to a lowball contract, they'll keep them to fill seats during another otherwise lost season, and then let them walk for nothing, thereby not improving the team at all.

                  I always assumed this was a Wilpon strategy when the puppet Alderson employed it with Reyes. Jeffy's helped confirm it.
                  Hey Mongoose....I tried to send you PM's but it says you have way too many already...try deleting some !!!!

                  Comment


                  • I wonder if Fred and Saul know any honest men?

                    Birds of a feather, and all that...

                    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/03/sp...ewanted=2&_r=1

                    A Mets Owner and Claims of Consumer Fraud
                    By STEVE EDER, RICHARD SANDOMIR and ALISON LEIGH COWAN
                    Published: December 2, 2012 58 Comments

                    In March 2012, a group of online retailers was sued in federal court, accused of having participated in a cynical and longstanding scheme to cheat customers out of millions of dollars. One of the named defendants is 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., which says it is the world’s leading florist and gift shop.

                    The plaintiffs said the system worked this way: a customer, perhaps racing to buy flowers online for Mother’s Day, would enter a credit card number, click “Purchase,” and then be offered a cash-back rebate. If the customer clicked on the rebate option and failed to read the fine print, however, he or she wound up registering for a near-worthless club membership that would charge the credit card for months, sometimes years, before the expenses on the credit card statements were detected. Outfits like 1-800-Flowers.com received a cut of the operation, what regulators and others have called “bounties.”

                    A recent legal filing by lawyers in the case asserted that “1-800-Flowers was well aware that its customers were getting defrauded.”

                    Shortly after the lawsuit was filed in Connecticut last spring, the founder and chief executive of 1-800-Flowers.com officially became a minority owner of the Mets. The company executive, James F. McCann, had been selected by the team’s owners as one of a handful of investors whose infusion of cash was needed to help rescue the Mets from a financial crisis.

                    The team’s owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, have never told the public, or fans, the identity of the emergency investors — and new part owners. But McCann, whose company has long been an official sponsor of the Mets, and whose advertisements are prominently displayed at Citi Field, has acknowledged that he now owns a small chunk of the team.

                    It is unclear if Wilpon and Katz knew that McCann’s company had been accused of defrauding customers.

                    But a review of 1-800-Flowers.com’s legal problems makes clear that the 2012 lawsuit is hardly the first time someone has accused McCann’s business of knowingly participating in defrauding customers — with some of its victims quite possibly Mets fans, given the company’s aggressive marketing to the team’s loyal supporters.

                    Two years ago, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Long Island claiming consumer fraud and racketeering violations against 1-800-Flowers.com and other companies, alleging they had worked together to “levy unauthorized charges on the unsuspecting consumers’ credit or debit card accounts” by inducing customers to pay for memberships to discount clubs without their knowledge.

                    That lawsuit, now in the process of being consolidated with the Connecticut case, came after the New York attorney general at the time, Andrew M. Cuomo, launched an investigation into the “discount club” industry, finding that 1-800-Flowers.com and other companies had “tricked” consumers into signing up for these memberships that charged them hidden fees.

                    There were also Senate investigative reports, issued in November 2009 and May 2010, that prominently cited 1-800-Flowers.com for its aggressive online sales tactics, saying the Long Island-based flower firm had been paid more than $10 million for allowing others to engage in what the report described as “post-transaction marketing.”

                    A spokesman for McCann and 1-800-Flowers.com would not comment for this article but said in an e-mail that the matters raised “are more than two years old, have been largely resolved and have been previously disclosed in our company’s public filings.” Last month, 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. said in a regulatory filing that it intended to defend itself vigorously in each of the outstanding lawsuits.

                    But in a 2010 settlement with the New York attorney general, the company paid $325,000 and promised to end practices Cuomo’s office had called “fraudulent,” at least as they related to the company’s New York customers. The company neither admitted nor disputed claims of wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

                    The settlement noted that 1-800-Flowers.com had since removed the solicitation and membership club enrollment link from its order confirmation page.

                    A spokesman for Wilpon and Katz and the Mets declined to comment on McCann’s legal entanglements.

                    In 2008, when Bernard L. Madoff was arrested and his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme collapsed, Wilpon and Katz, as longtime Madoff clients with investments of hundreds of millions of dollars, had their financial empire upended. Things got worse when, late in 2010, the court-appointed trustee representing Madoff’s victims sued Wilpon and Katz for $1 billion, saying they had enriched themselves for years while ignoring warnings that Madoff was up to no good.

                    Wilpon and Katz, as a consequence, went in search of cash. The men needed to repay some of their debt and deal with operating losses that rose to $70 million in 2011. The men ultimately decided to raise $200 million by selling 10 to 12 shares in the club, each representing a 4 percent ownership stake. Eventually, 12 were sold, but only a small number went to true outsiders.

                    One of those outsiders is Steven A. Cohen, the head of SAC Capital Advisors, a $14 billion hedge fund at the focus of an intensifying government investigation into insider trading. Cohen has not been accused of wrongdoing and may never be, but last month federal prosecutors charged a former portfolio manager with a $276 million insider trading scheme that for the first time connected Cohen to some questionable trades. Prosecutors have called the most recent case against an associate of Cohen’s the most lucrative insider trading case in history...



                    I notice McCann made $10 million from the scam and only paid $325k in penalties to make it go away. I wonder if the former Governor was brought in to broker his settlement as well?
                    Last edited by Mongoose; 12-03-2012, 09:44 PM.


                    "The Fightin' Met With Two Heads" - Mike Tyson/Ray Knight!

                    Comment


                    • Of course you are right.

                      But anything not related to Mets/Fredo business inside mallpark walls are considered diversions requiring directives under threat of bans and warnings.

                      You remember when things turned to Willets Point? Real estate is considered digressive about Fredo's ownership operation which means it has to be policed away or filtered down to a non discussed topic here.
                      Last edited by WEB; 12-05-2012, 12:34 PM.

                      Comment


                      • I was just thinking...

                        The Mets reportedly deferred $12 million of Bay's 2013 salary, $8 million of Wright's... They non-tendered Pelfrey and Torres for a savings of about $10 million between them. Not resigning Hairston and Rauch should make up for Murphy and Davis's raises in arbitration.

                        At this time payroll is about $30 million lower than it was last season.

                        Anyone think all that's going to be reinvested in the team?

                        Most of the better free agents are already signed, and the winter meetings are over.


                        "The Fightin' Met With Two Heads" - Mike Tyson/Ray Knight!

                        Comment


                        • I have a question. Since I can't figure this out, hopefully somebody can help me out.

                          If the Mets are so broke that they can't seem to pay RA Dickey, or add any free agents to play the outfield or catch, then how did the Mets entertain these thoughts just 2 years ago?

                          http://metsblog.com/metsblog/note-wi...ing-islanders/

                          According to the Associated Press, “Jeff Wilpon has talked to New York Islanders owner Charles Wang about building an arena for the NHL team near Citi Field… Wilpon says he also talked to Wang about the possibility of buying the team.”

                          …i know next to nothing about hockey… but, i do know there is talk among the Mets, people connected to the Mets, etc., that they’d love to see the area around Citi Field someday become the ultimate sports and entertainment destination in the tri-state area, with multiple sports venues, restaurants, shopping, etc… and so, this fits right in to that idea, i suppose…


                          SINCE THEY DID NOT BUY THE ISLES, WHERE IS THAT MONEY??????

                          Comment


                          • Fredo in 2004 was not so broke he had 54m in his bank account to finally be rid of laughingstock Msg brand even before SNY got started:
                            http://articles.nydailynews.com/2004...al-fred-wilpon

                            Fredo and Jeff-R-Us have more revenue streams available as Mongoose points out with SNY (but not 500m per year and not without growing expenses that have caught up with them) because (like the Yankees) they were able to escape the hold of being associated with failed Msg brand to start SNY and buyout that contract.

                            Of course even Fredo won that lawsuit just as the Yankees did. (against a joke company with only relevant sports property basketball)

                            It's the only time Fredo really won anything (without Doubleday's help) but buying out Msg is like buying out Jason Bay.

                            http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...53C1A9629C8B63
                            http://www.nypost.com/p/item_mZuqDK9NbGtsdGRRVMELWM
                            Last edited by WEB; 12-11-2012, 08:27 PM.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by WEB View Post
                              Fredo in 2004 was not so broke he had 54m in his bank account to finally be rid of laughingstock Msg brand even before SNY got started:
                              http://articles.nydailynews.com/2004...al-fred-wilpon

                              Fredo and Jeff-R-Us have more revenue streams available as Mongoose points out with SNY (but not 500m per year and not without growing expenses that have caught up with them) because (like the Yankees) they were able to escape the hold of being associated with failed Msg brand to start SNY and buyout that contract.

                              Of course even Fredo won that lawsuit just as the Yankees did. (against a joke company with only relevant sports property basketball)

                              It's the only Fredo really won anything (without Doubleday's help) but buying out Msg is like buying out Jason Bay.

                              http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...53C1A9629C8B63
                              http://www.nypost.com/p/item_mZuqDK9NbGtsdGRRVMELWM
                              You may not like the NY Rangers, and/or the NY Knicks, or even the Dolans Gang. But that so called "joke company" is on a roll.....over the past 10 days One Direction, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber...all the way to the historic 12/12/12 event....are all in Madison Square Garden. The place is a GOLD mine, and all that gold goes into Mr Dolan's pockets !

                              NY Rangers net worth, up 48% in one year (even with a lockout). Valued at $750 million dollars. NYR/Toronto/Montreal responsible for 83% of all NHL Revenue. NYR revenue $199 million...operating income $74 million. Looks like they have the last laugh !

                              Devils worth $205 million and $122 million revenue...and operating income of only $2.8 million !!!
                              Islanders worth $155 million with $65 million revenue and an operating LOSS of $16 million.

                              But since you don't let facts get into your arguments, and you don't like sources like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes....you can read about Dolans and his Knicks success in the NY Daily News. Can you hear the cash registers ringing over on 33rd and 8th? I was there Friday and it was sweet music seeing the new MSG ! THE brand in excellence.
                              http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/ba...icle-1.1215925

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by WEB View Post
                                Fredo in 2004 was not so broke he had 54m in his bank account to finally be rid of laughingstock Msg brand even before SNY got started:
                                http://articles.nydailynews.com/2004...al-fred-wilpon

                                Fredo and Jeff-R-Us have more revenue streams available as Mongoose points out with SNY (but not 500m per year and not without growing expenses that have caught up with them) because (like the Yankees) they were able to escape the hold of being associated with failed Msg brand to start SNY and buyout that contract.

                                Of course even Fredo won that lawsuit just as the Yankees did. (against a joke company with only relevant sports property basketball)

                                It's the only Fredo really won anything (without Doubleday's help) but buying out Msg is like buying out Jason Bay.

                                http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...53C1A9629C8B63
                                http://www.nypost.com/p/item_mZuqDK9NbGtsdGRRVMELWM
                                Total T.V. revenue from all sources - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, in fact - are probably in the $250 million range. Forbes puts total stadium revenue around $220 million. Add them up yourself. I don't feel like rehashing...

                                SNY is worth $2.5 billion! - it massive cash flow is discussed here:

                                http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozan...s-fans-suffer/

                                But I'm tired of analyzing this over and over.

                                In other news, the filthy P.O.S. Wilpons won't reward Dickey for putting fans in the seats by giving him even a modest extension. Now they're mad at him for expressing his disappointment to the press:

                                http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/20...th-r-a-dickey/

                                Meanwhile their stooge says we'll be getting the same Mets team in 2013 that went 28-49 to end 2012:

                                http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/met...medium=twitter


                                Alderson: 2013 should look like end of '12
                                December, 11, 2012
                                Dec 11
                                1:25
                                PM ET
                                By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

                                With so little turnover thus far on their roster, it's beginning to look as if the 2013 Opening Day roster will closely resemble 2012 -- albeit minus Tim Byrdak (recoverying from shoulder surgery) as well as free agents Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Kelly Shoppach and possibly Scott Hairston and non-tenders Mike Pelfrey, Andres Torres and Manny Acosta.

                                Even GM Sandy Alderson acknowledges the rosters very well will be similar.

                                Sandy Alderson acknowledged the Opening Day roster may look a lot like the end of 2012.
                                "I would expect the roster will look similar to the way it did at the end of last year -- with some exceptions," Alderson said Tuesday. "It's hard to speculate. When you think about it, the trade market, signing free agents and so forth, it's relatively young in the season. It's hard, really, to accurately predict where things will end up."

                                David Wright reduced the amount he was owed in 2013 as part of his new deal, Jason Bay deferred money as part of his buyout and Mets officials swear the payroll can inch slightly higher in 2013. Still, Alderson acknowledged, the Mets may not use the available capital -- in part because the prices on the market may not be worth it.

                                "Again, it's hard for me to predict what exactly will happen," Alderson said. "But we're not going to spend the money in mid-December just because we have it. We may spend it in January. We may spend it at some other time. We may not spend it. But the important thing is we have the flexibility to make a baseball decision about that rather than be constrained by sort of an artificial financial limitation."



                                Well, that addresses the $30 million I was wondering about.


                                "The Fightin' Met With Two Heads" - Mike Tyson/Ray Knight!

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