The “Herald de Paris” and author JE Sved (a Mets fan) released a story last Friday that might have blown the lid off elaborate scheme that could potentially send the Mets packing north of the border to Montreal.
It all starts with the Willets Point land that is going to be re-developed over the next 10-15 years and leads us down a rabbit hole that could eventually lead us Mets fans to have to learn French and US-Canada money conversion rates.
It involves Fred and Jeff Wilpon, Sandy Alderson, Bud Selig, the Jamestown Expos and much, much more.
The story is quite long and is full of as much information as the author could find for this story. Below are some of the highlights of the story that I pulled out for you.
If you want to read the entire post you can click the link in the first sentence of this post.
What does Willets Point have to do with the demise of the Mets, who are estimated the be the 2nd most valuable franchise is all of professional sports? Plenty. The Willets Point land award coincides with the steep slide of the Mets. In 2010, the Mets fired their general manager, the successful and well-liked Omar Minaya, and replaced him with Sandy Alderson, who was working in the Commissioner of Baseball’s office. Alderson, a child of MoneyBall, was brought in under the guise of rebuilding the franchise. Nevertheless, the team’s fortunes have not improved….
…Jeff Wilpon claims to have played part of the 1983 season with the low minor league Jamestown Expos, of the NY-Penn league. Not according to the Jamestown Expos manager that year, the legendary college coach, Moby Benedict. When asked if Jeff Wilpon played for him in the NY-Penn League Moby replied, “I don’t think he did … the years I was there, and I was there three years, and I don’t recall that he played. No. No — not for me.” A report in the New York Times states that Jeff was signed by the Expos as a favor to Fred Wilpon. Jeff was assigned to the A-ball team, and was released a week later, never having played.
What is the connection with Montreal? And why did Fred get a favor from the Montreal Expos when he was already a minority owner of the New York Mets, in 1983?
The Montreal Expos were taken under the control of Major League Baseball in 2002 during a flurry of activity when three teams changed hands, in a decision made by Commissioner Bud Selig, a friend of Fred Wilpon’s….The last Expos general manager was Omar Minaya, who ended up in the same position with the Mets, after the Montreal franchise was sold and moved to Washington, DC.
Fast forward to 2014, when the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays played two exhibition games in Montreal, prior to the opening of the current baseball season….
Why were the Mets, of all teams, in Montreal to play the Blue Jays? Selig, again, holds the cards. After the Madoff scandal, the Mets owners took out a $25 Million bridge loan with the approval of the Commissioner’s office. MLB later extended an additional loan of $25 Million to the Mets, to keep them afloat during the Madoff frenzy. Earlier this year, the Mets refinanced that loan, to avoid the loan coming due. Selig, it seems, has a finger in the Mets, which may be why his right-hand man, Sandy Alderson, is now running the team. If Selig wanted the Mets in Montreal for two games, the Mets would be there. They couldn’t say no.
But they may not have denied the opportunity if they wanted to.
Jeff Wilpon extolled to anyone who would listen how impressed he was with the Montreal fans. Jeff, who often says things in the media he ought not, may have tipped the family hand.
The Wilpons are, first and foremost, developers. Fred Wilpon was handed $500 Million worth of city-owned property, known as Shea Stadium, on which he built Citi Field. Then Fred was handed the adjacent Willets Point property by the City…. Would a developer, like Wilpon, invest in the construction of Citi Field to secure $1 Billion worth of free land from the City of New York? In a heartbeat.
With the Willets Point project moving forward, how much more valuable would the adjacent Citi Field site be if it were also developed as a mixed-use development, and no longer played home to the Mets? Fully developed, each piece of the Flushing-Corona properties could easily yield $4-5 Billion. Thus, the Wilpons are sitting on a $10 Billion section of New York. Maybe more. They just need to move the Mets off the site to realize their developer dreams. All they really need to do is strip the club of its top players and its high salaries, then drive the fan base away with a lousy product on the field. They seem to be doing just fine, in that regard.
…Say the Mets move to Montreal, where baseball fans and elected officials are so thirsty for major league baseball that they would gladly build a new ballpark for a new ownership group. The sale of the team would yield the Wilpons $2 Billion, more than covering their ill-fated ballpark construction, and help Selig fulfill his shell game of moving teams hither and yon. And if the WIlpons don’t sell the franchise? Jeff Wilpon owes Montreal a favor, for the Expos having drafted him. But why would Selig want the Mets out of New York? The 2000 Subway Series, between the Mets and the Yankees was great for New York. It was a nightmare for MLB.
Selig has insisted he is leaving the Commissioner’s post since 2012. His latest decree has him in the position until January, 2015. Is Selig part of the whole plan? Seems likely. It also seems likely that upon exiting the Commissioner’s Office, Selig will turn up as a trustee of the Corona-Flushing development.
Inevitably, New York baseball fans would clamor for another National League team in New York. Ultimately, MLB would have to allow another National League team to move to NYC, or the league would have to expand to accommodate two new teams. Where would a new team in New York build a ballpark? Why, Brooklyn, of course, the fashionably revived Borough which has already become the home of the NBA Nets and the NHL Islanders. And who owns the baseball rights to Brooklyn? None other then the Wilpons, who have a minor league team at Coney Island.
This article just floods you with information that truly makes me, and should make all of you, wonder why we have been so blind to all of this.
This plan has been going on right underneath our noses the entire time. How could we have been so naive as to have not seen this coming.
I mean, to build a brand new stadium only to use it as a rouse to get billions of dollars worth of land, potentially sell the team to get even more money and see them moved them to Montreal whether they are sold or not is a scheme that is almost too hard to believe.
Sadly, I think it’s time to accept the idea that the New York Mets are heading to Montreal, the Wilpons are going to make billions and a plan that all started with a favor granted by the Expos in 1983 is going to cost us our favorite baseball team.
Adieu Mets! Nous connaissions à peine (Translates to “Goodbye Mets! We hardly knew you)