It's been a funny winter for the Mets.
Baseball-wise, everything is great. They rebuilt their troubled bullpen with Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, and they even found a taker for Scott Schoeneweis. They don't have a fourth starter yet, but the way that market is looking, they'll probably get one eventually at a decent price.
All is well, as long as you don't mind losing millions of dollars. Or hundreds of millions.
Financially, everything isn't great. It began with the problems at Citigroup, a huge Mets sponsor and the holder of the naming rights for their new ballpark. The Mets insist the new park will still be called CitiField, and they held today's Rodriguez press conference at a holiday party for local kids, held at the Citi Building in Queens.
But it's not just Citi. Mets owner Fred Wilpon is said to have invested hundreds of millions of dollars with Bernie Madoff, whose $50 billion "Ponzi scheme" came to light late last week. So now the Mets are having to reassure their employees and everyone else that the losses won't take down the team, too.
Jeff Wilpon, Fred's son and the Mets' COO, repeated the assurances today.
"Not at all," he said, when asked how the Madoff scandal will affect the Mets operations. "It's truly two different things."
Wilpon said he and his father won't be any more hesitant to spend money, because of what they have lost with Madoff. In fact, he suggested that the best way for the Wilpons to start earning back some of the money they lost is for the Mets to succeed.
"That's better for us," Wilpon said.
Wilpon said his sympathy is with people who were depending on Madoff money more than he and his father were.
"I feel really bad for people who had a lot less money (invested) than we did, and who don't have an operating business," he said.