MLS Wants To Give The Mets Owners A Team, For Some Unfathomable ReasonS

Grant Wahl of SI chatted with MLS commissioner Don Garber on Thursday, and New York's most beloved and comically destitute real estate barons came up in conversation.

Apparently Garber, the business mind that brought you NFL Europe before joining MLS, is considering another delightfully dubious deal.

SI.com: The Wilpons have to be out of the running for the 20th MLS team in New York and any stadium at this point, right?

Garber: They're not. We remain in discussions with them. I spent almost a day with them this past weekend. They continue to have interest in MLS, and they also have a pretty darn good stadium site. I have a lot of respect for Fred and Jeff Wilpon, and I think there's more to that story that's still to be told. They are good people and real sportsmen. I hope they're able to solve whatever their short-term issues are.

Oh, Don.

"Real sportsmen?" If Fred and Jeff Wilpon are real sportsmen, does this mean, say, that Jeffrey Loria, noted art dealer, Expos hijacker, and Peanuts chronicler, is also a real sportsman?

OK, Fred Wilpon played on Sandy Koufax's high school baseball team, but so did 20 other now 75 year-old guys from Brooklyn. And as for Jeff Wilpon, well, here's the New York Times saying all that needs to be said in 1998 (subscription required):

He had been drafted by the Montreal Expos out of college and believes he could have started at catcher in the major leagues, he said, but quit after one spring training session to join the family business.

"More to that story that's still to be told," you say? Well, the story's being told, unlike when things started in December 2008. "The Mets are completely self-sufficient, and we have confidence that none of the other investments will affect the team," MLB COO Bob DuPuy said at the time. In February 2009, the Mets said in a statement: "As we have said before on numerous occasions, this does not and will not affect the day-to-day operations and long-term plans of the Mets' organization and the Citi Field project."

And this went on and on, as Amazin' Avenue chronicles. Only recently have we heard the story. And it doesn't seem to contain many nice things about the Wilpons.

"Short-term issues"—this refrain is the new "completely self-sufficient." Yet now no one's buying it. The Times reported that the team fell over $40 million short of its 2009 revenue projection. Bond payments for the Mets more than doubled last year, all while 600,000 fewer fans showed up to Citi Field. This is collapse, this is stagflation. This is short-term like Bobby Bonilla's contract is short-term.

"Darn good site?" Uh, not really.

Here's crusty Daily News journo Denis (brother of Pete) Hamill:

[In] this new shrine to corporate America, the Mets disinvited local Little Leagues in their first year and priced out the average working class fan as they chased the Manhattan yuppies with sky boxes and boutique food and a veritable class system in a stadium in Flushing.

We'd add that everything's concrete and that the lines at Shake Shack are too long.

Short-term problems? The Mets have short-term problems like Bill Pulsipher's elbow had short-term problems.

MLS commissioner talks Pacific Northwest rivalry, league's future [SI.com]
Mets Had Money Trouble Before Lawsuit Was Filed [NYT]