Remember the past few years when everyone from Fred Wilpon to Jeff Wilpon to Sandy Alderson was insisting that there were no payroll restrictions on the Mets? Well, that turned out to be the biggest lie the front office has told, and that’s saying something.
The New York Post reported Thursday night that the Mets are close to refinancing their $250 million loan. The report says this would put the Mets financial problems behind them (financial problems that the Wilpons said were already behind them, but whatever).
But the key part of the new agreement is that “there are no payroll limits written into the re-worked loan,” according to a source.
Then came this line:
The existing loan restricts the team from greatly expanding payroll.
Read this line carefully. If it is true, and there is no reason to believe it is not, then the Mets were not allowed to expand their payroll. Forget Jeff Wilpon saying that Alderson has all the money he needs. Forget Alderson claiming that he can spend money if he can find worthy players. All lies.
We really should not be surprised. These were the same men (except for Alderson, who was not there yet) who initially said the Madoff scandal would not affect team operations. We know now that was not true. It is safe to assume that the Mets front office has lied every single time it has been asked about the team’s finances.
“The fact they are still here after Madoff is a miracle,” a sports industry source told the Post. Yes, the Wilpons are still here, but they have absolutely destroyed the Mets and alienated their formally loyal fan base.
Even if the Mets can emerge from this morass and win at some point over the next few years, it will not make up for the needless suffering the Wilpons have put us through. If they could not afford to operate the team without massive loans from MLB, banks and minority investors, they should have sold the team.
Bud Selig forced Frank McCourt to sell the Dodgers, but he would not punish his pal Fred Wilpon the same way. Another black mark for Selig. But what it all boils down to is that it has been Mets fans who have been punished, having to support a team that could barely support itself.