The great hope amongst New York Mets fans is that billionaire Steve Cohen will save their beloved franchise. In December it was reported that Cohen, already a stakeholder in the club, would buy out Fred Wilpon for $2.6 billion and become the team’s primary owner.
Only Tuesday the baseball rumor mill was aflutter with reports that the deal may be falling apart. Now the deal is reportedly “on life support,” as fans brace themselves for the worst — an all-too-common thing in Queens.
Reports of the deal initially called for Cohen to fully take over the team in five years, with Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff, the team’s COO, easing out of their current roles.
Mets fans (and all of baseball, really) were dealt a surprise Tuesday afternoon when the Mets released a statement that seemed to give credence to a rumor that the sale wasn’t going according to plan:
Mets ownership has released the following statement in response to rumors that their deal to sell a majority stake to Steve Cohen is dead:— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 4, 2020
"The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual non-disclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment.”
Not long after that, the New York Post ran a story saying that the deal was “on life support” after Cohen became unhappy with the Wilpons. From The Post’s Thornton McEnery:
According to those sources, Cohen is deeply unhappy with the Wilpons changing the terms of the deal at a very late stage and has decided to walk away ... Sources close to Cohen tell The Post that the 63-year-old, $13 billion man is taking the NDA more seriously than the Wilpons and is holding his tongue for the time being.
Where did the rumors about the Mets sale come from?
The interesting part about all this: When the Mets issued their statement, many people had the same response — “what rumors?”
Turns out two outlets began populating a rumor that the sale was falling apart earlier in the day. First, it was the We Gotta Believe podcast, a Barstool Sports show that covers the Mets.
(Warning: Some NSFW language in the following video)
Brace yourselves. We’re here for you and just want to soften the blow pic.twitter.com/Ad6Yw7qxey— We Gotta Believe Podcast (Weds, iTunes & Spotify) (@GottaBelievePod) February 4, 2020
“There’s a million things why this could be nothing but rumors,” said host KFC, “but ... [it’s] enough that I feel like we should put it on the radar just in case.”
Meanwhile, Mike Silva, another Mets podcaster confirmed that he’d heard the same thing.
What does this mean for the Mets’ sale?
It’s hard to say whether this is a legit thing for Mets fans to worry about — or both sides negotiating through the media. But The Post’s story paints a much more grave picture than the initial rumors.
Something seemed off about the Mets’ response here. If it were blatantly false, wouldn’t Mets PR just not give the rumor the time of day?
What’s true about all this is we haven’t heard anything legit about a sale of the Mets to Cohen and a succession plan for the Wilpons since the first reports in December. You’d think there’d be a press conference where everybody sang kumbaya and talked about the great future ahead for the Mets. But that hasn’t happened.
Perhaps it’s time to remember Rule No. 1 of the Mets: Nothing ever turns out the way it’s supposed to.
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