Since we last spoke, which was a while ago, I think I must have stepped into some sort of alternate universe or something. In this universe, the actual news story is funnier than the jokes that are made about it:
... The owners of the Mets, who have spent the last four months trying to line up 10 or so minority partners, have some long-term upsides to sell: the $20 million would buy 4 percent of a New York City sports franchise that, history instructs, is likely to rise in value over time. But for those perhaps uncertain over whether to part with their millions, the owners have listed some less obvious perks that would come with a share of the Queens ball club.
Access to Mr. Met, the team mascot, although the degree of access is not entirely spelled out. It definitely means you, as a part-owner, can schmooze with Mr. Met at Citi Field. It’s less clear whether you could get him to come to your child’s birthday party without a fee.
A formal business card, complete with the prominent designation: "Owner."
And if you are a wealthy doctor, commodities trader or real estate mogul who wants to try to swat the ball over the newly pulled-in outfield fences at Citi Field on a Mets day off, you are entitled to attend what appears to be an exclusive kind of fantasy camp: “Owners’ workout day."
I swear to you the following: When I first read this, I immediately looked for a punch line. No matter that this was a New York Times story ... I thought it was a goof. The actual goofs came later, but really, who can top true life? A business card that says "owner"? I can get that at Vistaprint for $20, which is about $19,999,980 less than what a prospective partner would pay. Obviously, the Wilpons are betting that future owners will flock to the Angel Berroa Rotunda without degrees in economics.
This came on the heels of a report that the Mets were eliminating their affiliation with their Gulf Coast League team, which is a savings of under a million dollars, or: 1/13th of what they decided to pay Frank Francisco. I was tempted to blog that night. I was tempted to let the cilo doors open and let loose. But, I was careful. It's not like every other team in the league had 9 MiLB teams and the Mets were the only team to go down to 8. Maybe this does speak more to a new drafting philosophy than saving some bucks. Maybe this doesn't fall into the "Mets are cheap" narrative.
Maybe cheap isn't the right term. Perhaps "low rent" would be more fitting. The Mets are Baltic Avenue on the Monopoly board. It's fine that the Mets might be shifting philosophy. But getting rid of a whole minor league affiliate to prove your point? Plenty of teams draft college players that are too advanced for a rookie league team. Organizations don't normally get rid of those teams as a result. Seriously, how often does that happen? And saving $800,000 at the expense of a potential pipeline of young talent when that's the only way this organization can get out of this hole short of forcing the Wilpons to sell the club?
Or, "low rent" as in taking $20 million from a future owner, an owner that has agreed to basically loan you money to save your ass since he or she or they aren't going to have any real ownership duties, and not being able to guarantee a free appearance by Mr. Met for a kid's birthday party? Are you seriously kidding me? It's $500 an hour for Mr. Met to hang out with you for an hour ... or, $19,999,500 less than it would cost an owner for the same privilege. So that's $520 for the same two things that somebody else would pay $20 million for, without being a "wealthy doctor, commodities trader or real estate mogul". Oh, but you would get a parking space too? Oh that settles it, you win.
It's the kind of stuff that makes people not want to give the benefit of the doubt to them when the David Wright to the Phillies rumors ramp up. Is it a ridiculous sounding rumor? Sure. Are Mets fans going to panic? Of course. Why? Well besides the very thought of Wright wearing a P on his cap threatening pains that only a woman in labor can truly understand, because the Mets are willing to lose a whole minor league team for $800,000. How would you expect us to react? I believe that Wright is gone. Now that Jose Reyes is gone, all of the ties to the recent past will follow ... especially the expensive ones, which Wright will be. And Sandy Alderson will be damned if he allows himself to have any hope that Wright will get to free agency and then return, like he had with Reyes. If Wright and Reyes are allowed to leave without prospects coming back, people are going to lineup to jump off the Shea Bridge. And if Wright is allowed to leave for nothing a year from now, you know the Phillies will go after him if they don't have another third baseman by then. I just hope that the Mets don't trade him to the Phillies for their prospects, especially one who was just labeled a top 10 prospect flop.
It's also why the Mets don't get the benefit of the doubt when you hear that they sent a letter to R.A. Dickey telling him that if he injures himself climbing a mountain for charity that they will consider voiding his contract. Are the Mets secretly hoping that Dickey chips a tooth on the climb so that they have just cause to void the contract? That's the kind of normally ridiculous question one would ask oneself when you're dealing with a team that will flush a minor league team down the drain for $800K. But for those of you worried about R.A. injuring himself on this trip, climbing Kilimanjaro is more of a hike than an actual climb. Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins made the climb (though not all the way), and it was documented by the NHL. Sounds like more of a long hiking trip than an actual climb. I don't think R.A. will have to worry about torn ACL's or rotator cuffs as much as he'll have to worry about exhaustion and stamina.
And to the best of my knowledge, the Bruins didn't mail Chara any letters or give him one bit of grief about climbing the mountain. Probably because Chara is bigger and tougher than anybody on the planet and if he approached me in a dark alley and told me the sky was green, I'd ask "Kelly or Forest?"
But the sky is green in the universe I'm living in anyway. Or maybe it's not, but it sure ain't blue. It's a universe where Carlos Beltran will be wearing two birds on his chest and be teammates with the man who crushed his (and our) dreams five years ago. But here's the deal, If I can survive this residue from that strikeout:
I can survive Carlos Beltran protecting Lance Berkman in 2012.