In 2019, Jed Lowrie suffered a lower-body injury in spring training that somehow never got better or better-understood; for much of the year, the injury was just designated as “left side.” While he was unable to play the field at all, Lowrie did finally make it back to the bigs at the very end of the year, going hitless in eight plate appearances. The Mets paid him $10 million last season, and will owe him the same amount next year. Jeurys Familia, who became a star and then a domestic-abuse disgrace in Queens, returned to the Mets on a three-year deal worth $30 million a month before the team signed Lowrie. He was one of the worst relievers in baseball last year, and arguably the most unpleasant to watch; during broadcasts, Familia could often be heard yelling “fuck” after releasing a pitch. Familia’s deal is slightly backloaded, as is the Mets’ fashion, so he will earn more than $23 million for his age-32 and age-33 seasons.
The Mets, for a team that doesn’t spend nearly as much money as its big-market peers, have a tendency to spend that money in the wrong ways—on brand names approaching their sell-by dates, or on familiar faces with familiar weaknesses. So it’s entirely in character that, deep in today’s New York Times story about the last flailing days of New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s tragicomic presidential campaign, there is a detail about the Mets ownership that proves New York’s surliest defective plutocrats still have that magic touch:
The very last donors to Mr. de Blasio’s presidential campaign were executives in Sterling Equities, including Richard Wilpon and Saul Katz, the president of the New York Mets, and several people connected to them.
...But while the filings showed a total of $5,400 given via two separate entities on Sept. 19, the mayoral request came back in April. They simply did not get around to formally giving the contributions until September. If they had waited one more day, they might have saved their money.
Of course, the Mets management is not known for timing the market.
That’s the last line of the story. The Mets ownership group—Sterling Equities is the holding company controlled by Fred and Jeff Wilpon, the team’s principal owners—getting flame-broiled at the end of a news story in their hometown paper.
There are sadder sentences in the story—a bunch of them, actually, given that de Blasio apparently spent the last days of his campaign cold-calling various New York City rich people and sweating them for maximum contributions in the hope that he could hang around long enough to participate in the October debate. “I just felt sorry for him. He was in pain,” one donor told The Times. “I felt sorry for his pain, not so much for him. I heard a person who was in pain. As a lifelong New Yorker, I said I would be happy to contribute to that effort.” The image of the city’s hapless and profoundly checked-out mayor clammily badgering real estate developers over the phone like Jack Lemmon in Glengarry Glen Ross is bleak. The fact that he got the bumbling Long Island lordlings in charge of the Mets to throw him some dough is also pretty bleak. The good news, which is indeed pretty good, is that the Mets are not counting on de Blasio to play some third base or pitch the eighth inning next year.