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Fred Wilpon shoots high, predicts survival

Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:29 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 4:42 pm

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Every year, kindly Mets owner Fred Wilpon gives his state-of-the-Mets address at about this time in spring training, and of course his predictions in recent years have, for the most part, overshot reality. This year, he offered predictions for both the team and himself, giving himself a chance for the first time to go 0-for-2.

First, about the team, Wilpon said, "I'm very optimistic that this team will be far better than you guys have reported. We're going to surprise some people.'' A snappy comeback might suggest that they'd surprise folks merely by winning a third of their games or even beating the '62 Mets.

As for the bigger question about franchise ownership, Wilpon said of himself and brother-in-law Saul Katz, "We plan to own the franchise for a very long time.'' Then, Wilpon, an eminently pleasant man, added his own punchline, saying something along the lines of "whether people or happy about that or not.''

The Mets arrived in camp with their first sub-$100-million team in a long time, the result of an unprecedented $50-million cut from their $140 million paryoll of a year ago. Their spin on it is they didn't finish the year with the big payroll and that their previous year's payroll was bloated with non-productive players, including the two now unmentionables, the perenially-picked on Oliver Perez plus Luis Castillo.

The reality is that no New York team should have a payroll as puny as $90 something million dollars, unless they've done such a terrific job of picking talent that they've gathered many underpaid players. That obviously isn't the case here. Their players are generally paid handsomely for what they bring.

Obviously, the biggest name hanging over camp continues to be Madoff. Some of the more inquisitive players are continuing to ask about what's going on with the case regarding the all-time crook, as everyone here knows it affects everything. Wilpon explained that his prediction when the scandal broke that Madoff would not affect the team came when "we weren't being sued.'' Wilpon's contention is they would have been fine had Madoff trustee Irving Picard not sued them for clawback monies and more. But now it's still uncertain whether they'll be fine.

Now they definitely can't say Madoff hasn't affected things. Sure, they have been losing and having trouble drawing. But does one respond to that by returning with a payroll that's $50 million lower? Of course not. Madoff hangs in the air.

Wilpon, pressed a bit, did admitt Madoff had some effect on the greatly lowered payroll, which included the loss of superstar Jose Reyes to the rival Marlins. Speaking specifically about Reyes and Madoff, Wilpon said, "It has had some effect, but that was not the deciding factor.''

Wilpon maintained, though, that the Mets made an offer to Reyes that would have allowed him to make close to $100 million (with many incentives), in opposition to Reyes' contention 40 miles down the road in Jupiter, where he repeated again just Sunday that there was never an offer for him. (It's possible that the Mets suggested that that's where they might go, which in Wilpon's mind must count as an offer, though in reality it technically is not an offer to Reyes, not when there's a concrete $106 million waiting in Miami.)

Madoff isn't only hanging over the team, it is hanging over the ownership team of Wilpon and Saul Katz. Wilpon can speak optimistically about his chances for ownership survival, and he might end up being right about it, but it's too early to know for sure.  Picard is still looking for $300-million more from them at a time when they are in debt to a lot of folks already. "We'll see,'' Wilpon said. "Things will be a lot clearer in the next few months.''

Wilpon's future with the team is going to come down to the court cases that will likely be played out soon. One person familiar with the issues said he believes Wilpon and Katz "need a lot of things to go right'' to survive as owners. But one thing you have to say about Wilpon and Katz, they are nothing if not survivors.

It's not sure the same could be said for their diminishing team. 

Category: MLB
Tags: Fred Wilpon, Mets

Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:32 pm

Fred Wilpon shoots high, predicts survival

I too will not attend another Met game, buy another jersey, cap, shirt or bobblehead.  This trio has less business sense than Mike Tyson.  They are mostly disliked by the fans because they have squeezed money out of fans for a failed club.  They will get the point this year when they won't get a 35% full stadium except when the Yankee fans come across the river.  As a fan, I can help but hope for Wright to leave.  What jersey would any Met fan buy today?????  The braintrust is obviously listening to their useless PR guy Horriblewitz and it's time for a change.  A very sad chapter continues to evolve in Flushing with MLBs being fully complicit. 

Since: Feb 28, 2012
Posted on: February 28, 2012 8:23 am

Fred Wilpon shoots high, predicts survival

I wish Heyman would remove the sacharine adjectives use to describe Wilpon from the 80s. "Kindly, gentlemenly"...are you kidding? The guy is a crook! The chances that he, his helmet headed son, and that fat toad Katz didn't know the madoff thing was a fraud are nill!  There is nothing "kindly" or "gentlemenly" about willfully stealing and looking the other way. It is a well established fact that they "profited" at least $83M from the madoff nonsense. Where is the kindly and gentlemenly gesture to return those ill-gotten gains-perhaps to less well heeled madoff victims?  The Wilpons were "pikers" before Madoff made them "kings."  They used madoff money to buy out Doubleday. They used madoff money to sign bad players to bad contracts without any caution. And why not? They had their nest egg..the madoff nonsense to sustain them. Fred's arrogance yesterday was so emblematic; so typical of this "imperious" idiot who doesn't get it. He's a criminal. He should be in Butner, NC.  The Sterling "empire" has always been a house of cards-built solely on the fraud of madoff and wilpon. This is not a particularly intelligent guy-this Fred. There is no way he would have made a fraction of his money without madoff.

Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:08 am

Fred Wilpon shoots high, predicts survival

Mets fan since 1967.....Season Ticket holder since 1997.....I'll never go to another Mets game until the Wilpon's sell the team. Plain and simple. Predicts survival, got to be kidding. Citifield will be a morgue this season. The Cyclones might outdraw the Mets. From one pissed off Mets fan!

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: February 27, 2012 8:02 pm

Fred Wilpon shoots high, predicts survival

LOL, thats great for the rest of the N.L. East, esp the Nats, because the Mets will be in the basement for the forseable future, maybe they can start turning it around when the stop paying Bobby Bonnilla, how far away is that again?

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:19 pm

Fred Wilpon shoots high, predicts survival

It helps to be FOB (friend of Bud) in MLB.  Unlike in LA where the present owner is hated
by Bud the Mets owner is treated with kid gloves by Bud.

Both the Mets and LA are a total mess.  Bud has force the owner in LA to sell while
he babies his friend with the Mets.

The Mets had a chance for salvation but Fred forced out the
buyer with Buds help

It is going to be many years for both the Dodgers and Mets
fans to taste victory again.

Under Buds guidance he has given us Baseball fans the
Steroid Age and now the destruction of two of the most prominent franchise.

Since: Nov 13, 2009
Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:07 pm

Fred Wilpon shoots high, predicts survival

As long as the three stooges (both Wilpons and Saul Katz) are in control, the Metropolitans will never see light at the end of a long dark tunnel.  Who is Fred kidding?  Both Fred and Jeff destroyed this franchise because of their evil deeds--greed being the main culprit.  David Wright will be donning a new uniform next year, no one will want to come and play for the Mets because of their long-term financial woes, and talent at the Triple-A level is mediocre to say the least.  I'm hoping that MLB will step-in and remove all three duds from the Mets' organization and take control of the team themselves.  


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