BOB: Closure for the Metsby Brian Borawski
March 21, 2012
Mets' owners settle in Madoff caseFred Wilpon and Saul Katz, the owners of the New York Mets, settled their legal battle with Irving H. Picard, the trustee in the Bernie Madoff scandal. If you're a regular reader, you know this has been going on for a while, and we now get some closure as Wilpon and Katz will pay $162 million to the trustee.
What's also interesting is Wilpon and Katz could potentially recoup a lot of this money because they'll now be considered victims, so when all of the money is collected and then split up to the various stakeholders, they'll get their piece of the pie.
The important question is, what does this mean for the Mets? First, it gives their owners closure and some cost certainty. The team is a bit of a mess in one of the tougher divisions in baseball and is saddled with a large amount of debt. Now the owners know what they're dealing with and can work towards paying down their debts, finding some new investors and pushing the team forward. It might take a couple of years, but it finally looks like there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Marlins resolve two issues, but not everyone is a fanA few months ago, I talked about how the city of Miami might be on the hook for $1.2 million in property taxes because it didn't follow the proper protocol to get an exemption. By leasing parking structures to the Miami Marlins on game days, the Miami-Dade Property Apprasier said that, because the facility was no longer being used for public purposes, the city wouldn't meet the requirements for a property tax exemption.
Fortunately for the city, the State of Florida stepped in and exempted the city from having to pay the property taxes. Just as important, the Property Appraiser isn't going to challenge the states ruling, so the city is off the hook.
In other Marlins parking news, local residents in Little Havana have to find a place to park their cars on game days. Because the Marlins' new ballpark is woefully short on parking, the city decided to ban residential parking on several stretches of road near the ballpark. To compound the problem, residents aren't allowed to park in local lots because those require a ticket to a baseball game in order to park when a game is going on. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out during the season.
Athletics stadium issue takes new twistNothing has been decided regarding the Oakland Athletics' potential relocation to San Jose, but it looks like there has been some movement in a different direction. A rumor broke that two or potentially three groups called MLB commissioner Bud Selig expressing interest in buying the Athletics and then working out a deal to keep them in Oakland.
Athletics' owner Lew Wolff said that nobody had contacted him about wanting to buy the team from him and also reiterated that the team wasn't for sale.
In the meantime, what I liken to a big game of chicken continues to roll on, and as it does, so will the rumors. At this point, very little will get resolved unless the league can talk the San Francisco Giants into giving up their rights to the San Jose area. Until that happens, my guess is it will be the same silence we've gotten for the past three years.
Nationals extend PDA with four minor league clubsThe Washington Nationals extended player development contracts with four of their minor league affiliates last week. With this being an even numbered year, many clubs will see their player development contracts expire, and we'll see more and more of these extensions.
The teams that the Nationals' locked up through 2013 are their Triple-A (Syracuse Chiefs), Double-A (Harrisburg Senators), High-A (Potomac Nationals), and short-season New York-Penn League (Auburn Doubledays) affiliates. Harrisburg has had the longest run with the Nationals; they've been an affiliate with the franchise since 1991, when the Nationals were the Montreal Expos.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.