It’s hard to argue with the days the Mets won the 1969 and 1986 World Series as the best days in team history, but today was not such a bad day, either. It was the day we saw the last of the Wilpons.
Steve Cohen and his $14 billion were approved by MLB on Friday (and Mayor de Blasio did not muck things up like he apparently threatened to do) to buy the team from the Wilpons for $2.4 billion. Cohen immediately earned good will by restoring pre-pandemic wages to Mets employees who had their salaries cut, and donated $17.5 million to programs that help small businesses.
Cohen said in a statememt:
I am humbled that MLB’s owners have approved me to be the next owner of the New York Mets. Owning a team is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility. I would like to thank the owners and Commissioner Manfred and his team for welcoming me to Major League Baseball.
And I want to thank Fred Wilpon for inviting me to buy into the franchise in 2012. Fred is one of the game’s true gentlemen and I consider it an honor to be the new owner of this iconic franchise.
Most of all, I’d like to thank Mets fans for their unwavering support throughout this process. My family and I are lifelong Mets fans, so we’re really excited about this. With free agency starting Sunday night we will be working towards a quick close.
Let’s go Mets!
So it is a new day in Flushing, one long overdue for us long-suffering fans.
One final note on the Wilpons, since this will likely be the last time I write about them. Fred Wilpon has taken a lot of flack over the past decade as a cheap, miserable man who does not care about winning. From everything I’ve read (including Cohen’s statement above), that was not the case at all. Most people say he is a good man. And remember, he did spend money before the Madoff nonsense. His teams appeared in the World Series three times, and it might have been more if it were not for the 2007 and 2008 collapses of those high payroll teams, which obviously were not his fault.
Of course, the Madoff scandal cannot be overlooked. Wilpon was not forthcoming with the fans about how dire his financial situation truly was. He should not have been allowed to continue to own the team, but he was pals with Bud Selig, an actual bad man. Wilpon was desperate to hold onto the team, but he should have done the right thing and sold it. So he is open to criticism for that.
Now to Jeff Wilpon. By all accounts, not a good man. The basic description of him is as a meddling, know-it-all who in fact knew nothing. Fred Wilpon wanted to hand down the team to his son. That would have been an unmitigated disaster. Fortunately, we will never know how bad it could have been.
In any case, they are now gone. Fred can enjoy his retirement as a once again wealthy man, and Jeff can use his cut to buy and destroy another business. For the Mets though, better days are ahead.