The Week That Was: The Mets vs. The Mayor

     In the days leading up to the Major League Baseball team owners’ meeting to approve Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets from the Wilpon family, a new wrinkle seemed to arise. Fans were not worried so much about whether Cohen would get the blessing from the fraternity he wanted to join as much as they were about New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio putting a kibosh on things.

Citi Field sits on land owned by the New York City Parks Department and therefore the mayor’s office had a say in the Mets ownership change. DeBlasio was both cagey and cryptic about whether he’d sign off on the deal.

The mayor has never enjoyed high approval ratings in spite of easily winning election in both 2013 and 2017 and it sure wasn’t increasing based on the calls to sports talk radio stations last week.  Last Wednesday New York Post sports columnist Mike Vaccaro sounded as if he had switched places with that paper’s chief political scribe, Michael Goodwin, as he dumped all over DeBlasio.

I can understand why DeBlasio was keeping a poker face last week. It is rare for a progressive politician to ever have leverage over a billionaire and so one can’t fault him for wanting to have a little fun making Steve Cohen squirm a bit. Of course the mayor knew there was no political upside in stopping the sale and he gave his OK as soon as the MLB owners did.

Steve Cohen was cognizant of the mistakes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made when he announced his ill-fated plan to build a second headquarters for his behemoth corporation in Long Island City .

Whether or not you supported the L.I.C. Amazon project, there is no argument Bezos took a “my way or the highway” attitude with local politicians. While US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the most recognizable face resisting the Amazon project, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos was just as influential in deterring it.

Citi Field is located inside of Ramos’s senate district. Cohen probably wasn’t surprised but also couldn’t have been very happy to read Ramos’s July 17th remark on Twitter in which she stated her opposition to Cohen becoming the new Mets owner.

As soon as he was approved by MLB owners Cohen announced he would provide $17.5 million to neighborhood businesses which have been impacted by COVID-19. Ramos has not commented yet about the sale going through. My guess is Cohen had spoken with her before last week.

Four owners voted against Steve Cohen acquiring the Mets with the most vocal being Chicago White Sox CEO Jerry Reinsdorf. There may have been some concern about a hedge fund billionaire who has run afoul in the past of the Securities & Exchange Commission but the bigger fear had to have been Cohen overbidding for free agents which would increase player compensation.

I knew Justin Tuner fairly well from his days with the Mets. He is an upbeat guy to be around and has always been a popular teammate. Nonetheless his decision to go on the field to pose for a team picture with his fellow Los Angeles Dodgers after testing positive for COVID-19, and without wearing a mask no less, is indefensible.

Turner will likely be fined and face a suspension by Major League Baseball. He also surely lost some lucrative endorsement deals in the LA market.

It is always news when McDonald’s expands its menu and they see bakery pastries as a way of attracting new customers. Last week they debuted cinnamon rolls, apple fritters, and blueberry muffins as a food compliment to their McCafe beverages. Although McDonald’s expects most of the pastry sales to occur during mornings they will be available all day.

I am happy to report that the pastries tasted like they came fresh out of a local bakery as opposed to a mass-producing factory.

One of the concerns for everyone who waited on long lines for early voting was restroom issues. This has also long been a worry for anyone who has ever enjoyed tailgating in a stadium parking lot.

A company called TP Kits is producing individual packets of toilet paper and biodegradable sanitizing wipes which can be utilized when nature calls and a public bathroom does not, shall we say, provide all of the necessary accoutrements.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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