Team owners have very fickle relationships with the fans of the teams they own. They tend to be more hated than loved, and that’s because each fan would love to be the one percenter that owns their favorite club
Owners also make business decisions, which sometimes fly in the face of the fans’ wishes of winning, after all it’s not their money the fan base is spending.
But in the sports world, it’s a results-based business, which is why Giant fans are grumbling about John Mara now, after doing no wrong around 10 years ago. And his father Wellington, along with George Steinbrenner, quickly went from vilified to sainted after a couple of rings.
So today with the news the Wilpons are close to selling the Mets to billionaire Steve Cohen, there was nothing but cheers from the Amazin’ fanbase. For years, the Mets either could not spend money or when they did open the purse-strings, spent it on the wrong things, which blew up in their faces.
It’s why there is a perception out there that the Wilpons are either cheap or at least tight with the dollar and generally have too much of their noses in the baseball operation.
However, it looks like this is changing. Cohen – already a minority owner in the club- is close to upping his steak to 80% ownership with the Wilpons owning the rest. According to a statement released by the Mets, Fred and Jeff Wilpon will retain their roles of CEO and COO, respectively for five years, but you have to wonder how much say they will have once Cohen gets the majority.
But before Met fans do their best Gerald Ford and say, “The long national nightmare is over,” Cohen doesn’t come without a few warts. As a hedge fund manager, he paid a number of fines for insider trading and his ruthlessness became the inspiration for the character Billy Axelrod from the TV show “Billions.”
With a net worth of $13.6 billion and paying for the Mets at a valuation of $2.6 billion, the Mets will have an owner who will have the financial means to play on the upper tier of payroll and according to some reports, has the will to win, will make the Mets a player again in free agency.
That doesn’t mean the Mets are a lock for the playoffs come 2025. It all depends on how hands on Cohen will be in running the Mets. Remember, Steinbrenner didn’t go back to the World Series until he was forced to give control to Stick Michael and James Dolan spends money, but his meddling ways makes the Knicks a laughingstock every single year.
Change is good, though, and the Mets may need the infusion of new blood. Cohen is a lifelong Met fan, so on the face of things, he will want the team to win and obviously has the financial means to have them win, but success on Wall Street doesn’t mean he’s going to successful in the owner’s box.
However, he gives the Mets and today, that’s all the fanbase wants.