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Did Fred Wilpon ask Bud Selig to get him out of the sale to David Einhorn?

Dec 16, 2011, 8:40 AM EDT

File image of New York Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon talking to reporters at a news conference in New York Reuters

This is fun.  Howard Megdal has a book coming out about the Wilpons and the Mets, and it contains a pretty juicy claim. The claim: that Fred Wilpon asked Bud Selig to put the kibosh on the deal he made to sell a stake of the Mets to David Einhorn because he was afraid of losing the team.

The report, passed along in the New York Post, is that after the deal was reached in principle, Wilpon got cold feet, realizing that Einhorn’s option to purchase a controlling interest in the Mets was way too obtainable. Wilpon, not wanting to lose the team, asked Bud Selig to intervene and strike portions of the deal in which Major League Baseball would assist Einhorn in taking over if the provision was triggered. As the Post puts it, “to play bad cop” as it were.  This angered Einhorn and the deal quickly died. Major League Baseball sharply disputes Megdal’s reporting, calling him a self-promoter. Megdal stands by it.

This strikes me as one of those things we’ll never know 100% for certain because that kind of business — called in favors from friends, etc. — isn’t exactly documented in official reports. Megdal has a source or two telling him this. Baseball denies it.  It’s just … business.

Juicy business, though.

  1. paperlions - Dec 16, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    If Wilpon was genuinely concerned about his ability to pay back $200M over 5 years…..that does not bode well. At some point, he’s going to have to come back to reality and sell his interest in something that he borrowed money to obtain (which actually describes pretty much everything he “owns”). With their current team and I don’t see how they make enough money to pay their debts on time and still operate the team….every year the Mets tread water is going to cost him more and more money as fans don’t attend or watch games….hard to sell high priced advertising when no one is watching.

    • mcsnide - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM

      There was a good piece at earlier this week about just how leveraged and trapped the Wilpons are. I think Craig or Aaron linked to it. At this point, I just don’t see how this ends well. The Mets are in deep hock, SNY’s in deep hock, and the Madoff thing is still out there. I’ve wondered if they haven’t settled with Picard simply because they have nothing to offer in a settlement.

  2. hittfamily - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    There are 3 things that will help the Mets regain their luster.
    1) Rid themselves of Bay, Wright, Johan. They aren’t going anywhere this year or next, so eat some salary, and get some prospects. Beltran got a top 50 for 2 months of service. Pull some strings and make it work.

    2) Bring the fences in even more. Fans love homeruns. The Yankees give the people what they want, and the Mets should too.

    3) Um. Er. Um. Ooops.

    • hittfamily - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:01 AM

      I meant the EPA.

      • hittfamily - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:03 AM

        No. No I really didn’t mean that. I meant energy.

        The Mets need Tim Tebow, because he transcends both politics and sports.

      • phukyouk - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:15 AM

        how long you been waiting to use that?

      • mcsnide - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:30 AM

        Long enough that it took me a couple read-throughs to get the joke.

      • hittfamily - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        Bout as long as a Texas handshake.

  3. angrycorgi - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    That’s it. Einhorn is Finkle! Finkle is Einhorn! Einhorn is a man! Oh my God! Einhorn is a man!

    • amaninwhite - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:35 AM


    • cur68 - Dec 16, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Laces OUT, Dan…

  4. mcsnide - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    By the way, Craig, shouldn’t you be napping or something? Gotta save your strength for the marathon Barry Bonds coverage later today. We’re counting on you to bring logic and explanation to what’s sure to be a hysteria-filled afternoon/evening.

    • Old Gator - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      I’ll be on a plane to Cincinnati for the annual Over the Rhine Christmas concert at the Taft this afternoon, thank Buddha, and by the time I get my rental car at the airport and head up to Camp Washington for some sublime faux chili, this entire Bonds idiocy should be old news. Thank Buddha. I’m almost as sick of this entire subject now as I am going to be of the Ryan Braun fiasco by next week.

      • mcsnide - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:28 AM

        You don’t enjoy watching/reading the same talking heads repeat the same talking points every few months?

  5. xpensivewinos - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    angrycorgi –

    It’s 6:15 in the morning and I’m reading this through one bloodshot eye and your post made me laugh out loud.

    That was effin’ funny, dude Good one.!

  6. loge23 - Dec 16, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    This has gotten way out control for most Met fans, like myself. We all know that the Mets are not like the Yankees (thankfully) and never will be. But after 50 years of this nonsense, with slight and infrequent interruptions for winning seasons, it is time for this franchise to grow the heck up already. Unfortunately, we have a moron for a commissioner in Selig who has partnered himself with the equally managerially-challenged Wilpon group.
    Among the many recommendations that are being offered up here and elsewhere for the resurrection of this franchise, let me offer this: Stay away. Stay away from Wilpon’s poorly designed tribute monument to his beloved Dodgers, stay away from the Triple AAA team masquerading as a NYC BB franchise, and stay away from the carnival that has become the New York Mets – complete with clowns, witch doctors, and our new barker, Sandy Alderson.
    Enough is enough already. We’re looking at years of mediocrity as long as the idiotic Wilpons continue to hold on.

    • adenzeno - Dec 16, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      Now I dont have to write anything-Thank you

  7. sdelmonte - Dec 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    So why couldn’t Wilpon just back out on his own?

    • paperlions - Dec 16, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      Because then he would have to take responsibility for doing so….if you haven’t noticed, accountability isn’t exactly his strong suit.

  8. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 16, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Do you have any other Wilipon picture outside of this ‘sexy librarian’ attempt you keep using?

  9. pdonnellon - Dec 16, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    As a life long Mets fan I beg the Wilpons to sell this team. This team has underachieved for years under them before the financial troubles. This just won’t ever get turned around. I lose interest with every year knowing this team isn’t going anywhere. With a new stadium, it’s own network, NYC at it’s resources and the team has a GM that is handling the team like it’s in Kansas City. The Wilpons must go!!!!

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