As it has so often happened in the history of the New York Mets, they are once again in the news for something other than playing good baseball. The latest incident involves the victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme victims, a billion dollar lawsuit, and more than $500,000,000 in bank loans. To make a long story short, the team is being sued for a billion dollars in restitution to the victims of Madoff, and have already received loans in excess of 400 million dollars from banks, and $25 million from Major League Baseball.1
Recently, word has emerged MLB will not loan the Mets any more money, leading the Wilpons, the owners of the Mets, to announce their intent to sell off a non-controlling interest in the team to raise funds. Some names have already started to emerge as possible buyers, the frontrunners of which have roots in Wall Street. In addition, former manager Bobby Valentine is involved with one of these groups.2
Now, as a lifelong Mets fan, nothing would please me more than to see Bobby Valentine involved once again with the team. His fiery temper as a manager during the last time the Mets were competitive for multiple seasons in a row was often worth the skyrocketing price of admission. That being said, there is a simple solution to the embarrassing financial woes of the Mets, though MLB would most likely be extremely hesitant to allow it.
Enter Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. For years Cuban has been quite vocal in his desire to become an owner in the MLB. Sadly, commissioner Bud Selig and the rest of the owners for reasons unknown to this baseball fan have constantly rebuffed his desires. First he was denied the chance to place a bid on the Chicago Cubs, and most recently he was told he had no chance of purchasing the Texas Rangers. Are they afraid of his unorthodox style of ownership, which consistently puts the fans first? Perhaps.
For a moment, let us speculate. Cuban has a history of putting contenders on the court; his Mavericks have made the playoffs for 10 straight years.3 Though they haven’t won a championship in those 10 years, it is still commendable to be an annual contender. This is exactly what the Mets need. It’s quite easy to understand why the other owners might be scared of allowing him entry to their club: he would probably be more popular with fans than they are. The man is immensely popular for his in-your-face-style of ownership, while MLB appreciates a more low-key effort, with the exception of the Steinbrenners.
As a Mets fan, I would love to see Cuban get involved with the team. Obviously the Wilpons are in way over their head as owners. Allowing Cuban to buy into the team would make the Mets more interesting as well as make it more likely they would put a contending team on the field. And, really, as a fan, that’s what watching a team is all about. We just want to root for a team that has a chance of winning each year.