It's official, everybody: the Mets are broke. Wait, you knew that already. But now they're officially really, really broke. They're so broke, they just put all their CDs and VHS tapes up for auction. Where else will you find Jungle 2 Jungle and its soundtrack in one place, both lightly used? Well, Bud Selig must really love Jungle 2 Jungle.
According to the New York Times, the Mets have received $25 million more from Major League Baseball—the Times calls it a "lifeline"—on top of the $75 million MLB has already loaned the team.
Here's the Times:
The Mets have exhausted baseball's standard bank line of credit—$75 million Selig and the sport's owners make available to teams for a variety of reasons in the course of any year. They also have more than $400 million in debt on the team. Thus, the additional money being provided by Selig could be crucial.
But Selig's decision to give what amounts to extraordinary assistance to one of the sport's most prominent and highly valued teams—one owned by Wilpon, a man Selig has long regarded as a close personal friend—could anger other team owners, who could well wonder why their money is being used to rescue a team with a $140 million payroll.
That's not to say that MLB doesn't dole out money where it shouldn't. Rather, the league has been known to assist teams who don't need or deserve any extra cash. But it is remarkable that owners who have been, at the very least, cartoonishly naive with their money for a long time get such an incredible reprieve from the Commissioner. (It's also remarkable that Bud Selig gets to give reprieves like this—name another commissioner who might make $25 million appear from thin air when his subjects start begging.)
Only recently did the Wilpons explore selling the team, and even then they only talked of selling a minority interest. What an offer: bail out a massively debt-ridden entity, and you'll own a stake that allows a bumbling family to overrule you in perpetuity! Where can Stu Sternberg sign?
Only Donald Trump publicly expressed a desire to buy the Mets, and he was last seen hawking vitamins in a pyramid scheme and proposing a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods as a cornerstone of a 2012 presidential campaign. Even that irrepressible huckster said he would only be interested in a majority stake in the team.
(According to the Times, "fewer than 12" potential owners have asked MLB for permission to look at the Mets' financials—we can only hope that a few of them are not reality TV stars.)
What's worse, the Wilpons insisted for the better part of a year that the team was in no financial trouble from the Madoff meltdown. All the while, they were stockpiling hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, readying for a lawsuit.
Irving Picard, the trustee acting on behalf of Bernard's Madoff victims, is seeking $1 billion from the Wilpons. The victims might not get all of that.
But there's one easy way to raise, say, $858 million. Maybe they can start pretending it's an option.