Faithful Mets fans everywhere have been praying for this day to arrive for a LOOOOOONNNGGGG time. No, I don’t mean Bobby Bonilla Day. I’m talking about the day we can finally be rid of the Wilpon family.
How We Got Here
In January of 1980, Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday headed a group that purchased the franchise for $21.1 million. At the time it was the highest price tag ever for an American professional sports franchise. In 1986 Fred went from being a minority owner to owning 50% of the club. It didn’t take long for the owners to begin clashing over how to run the team, and in 2002 Wilpon bought out Doubleday to the tune of $135 million. The Wilpons were now the single principal owners.
As pretty much every Mets fan knows – things haven’t gone well since then. Let’s just say that, especially in the shadow of that team from the Bronx, their ownership style has been – turbulent. From micromanaging to being stingy with player salaries, they’ve caused near constant headaches and heartache for the fanbase.
Fred Wilpon and Bernie Madoff were close friends. In 1985, Wilpon invested millions with Madoff, beginning their financial relationship. Over the course of the following 20+ years, their financial ties grew exponentially. In December of 2008, when Madoff was arrested for running a $64 billion dollar Ponzi Scheme, everything went to hell. Needless to say, the calls for the Wilpons to sell the team only grew louder.
It’s Finally Happening – Or is it?
In December of 2019, word on the street was that the Wilpons were finally selling. Hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen had reached an agreement that would make him the principal owner. Mets fans everywhere were excited about the prospect of an owner not named Wilpon. Then, in February of this year, Cohen walked away and the tentative deal fell apart.
Since then, there have been numerous different parties that have been mentioned as suitors for the franchise. Everyone from Alex Rodriguez to Brian Urlacher to Travis Kelce has been mentioned. Steven A. Cohen even made a new offer, and the race was on to see who, if anyone, would be able to pry the franchise from the Wilpon family, with Rodriguez and Cohen emerging as frontrunners.
However, Cohen’s deal pulled ahead and went in front of the rest of the MLB Ownership for a vote. Everything hung in the balance. Everything was riding on this one vote.
Sign On The Dotted Line
And now, after the MLB Owners voted in favor of the sale, and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio signed off, the Mets have a new owner. The Wilpons are gone. Queens is free of their tight purse strings and terrible decision making. The Steve Cohen Era has begun in Flushing, and Mets fans haven’t been this happy in quite some time. Perhaps now the Mets will finally be run like a baseball team and not a circus.
Lets. Go. Mets.
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