The New York Mets have submitted a list of “more than a dozen names” to Major League Baseball of people who are interested in buying a minority stake in the team. Not among those names is Stuart Sternberg, the majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays.

However, sources have told the New York Post that Sternberg is interested in purchasing a majority stake in the Mets, something I speculated could happen a few weeks ago

In addition to the candidates whose bona fides are currently being checked by MLB, the current majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays is strongly considering taking a crack at buying the Mets — but not just a small piece, sources said.

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg — a Brooklyn native, St. John’s grad, and current Mets season-ticket holder –last night told The Post, “The Wilpons have been great owners, and I have no interest in buying the Mets.”

But sources said that if the Wilpon family is forced to sell its majority stake — against its current wishes — Sternberg would be interested, and is a logical choice to buy the team given his strong existing ties to both baseball and Wall Street.

Sternberg’s candidacy would be helped by having baseball Commissioner Bud Selig as a strong ally. But he would have to sell the Rays as a prerequisite to purchasing the Mets.

Of course, as I have said all along, this is contingent on the Mets being forced to sell a majority, or the entirety of the ballclub. If that happens, Sternberg could emerge as the ideal candidate because of his resume and because of what he can bring to one of baseball’s signature franchises. That is the ability to run a successful franchise without needing to spending $200 million on payroll.

An owner that can keep the Mets successful and relevant (good for baseball) while maintaining a reasonable payroll, would go a long ways to helping keep player salaries in check throughout baseball. And that is exactly the type of owner the rest of baseball would want controlling the Mets.

 
 

23 Comments

  1. Blake says:

    Question: What is Friedman’s (and other front office personnels’) contract like? Would we be looking at losing all of them as well?

    • Gus says:

      It would be a total brain drain, I’m sure.

      You read it here first (just like the original Met-Stu stories).

      I still think a franchise “swap” makes sense on these facts, with the difference in value being the cash out needed for the Wilpons.

    • Derek says:

      Nobody is going anywhere. This is getting out of hand.

      This is the money line.

      “In addition to the candidates whose bona fides are currently being checked by MLB, the current majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays is strongly considering taking a crack at buying the Mets”

      So wait? He isn’t a candidate, but he is “considering” it, says a source. Is this source Cork Gains? The question is, where will Stu get his money? His investors wont just follow him into the dark. He cant afford 60 million for us, but he is considering buying one of the most expensive teams in baseball. Bullshit.

      “Of course, as I have said all along, this is contingent on the Mets being forced to sell a majority, or the entirety of the ballclub.” This is bullshit too, as we have no proof of what will happen if the Wilpon’s sell. It’s nowhere near a giving that Stu makes a move if he can get 51%.

      Does anyone reporting on this shit shit know anything about business?

      Why why WHY? would he build this team up just to let someone else reap all the benefits? He would’t. It would be a horrible move. There is no reason, other than the Mets are his all time FAV team. It has nothing to do with money either. How much dept are the Mets in? Why would a guy who already owns a blooming team want to take on $225 million in dept? Because he has season tickets!!! and a “source” said he does.

      Doing this would be one of the worst mistakes ever. This team is about to take off in ticket sales, he is just about to turn real profits, and he will just walk away? Come to me when this story has depth to it.

      • Cork Gaines says:

        “So wait? He isn’t a candidate, but he is “considering” it, says a source. Is this source Cork Gains?”

        No, but that is flattering.

        “The question is, where will Stu get his money? His investors wont just follow him into the dark. He cant afford 60 million for us, but he is considering buying one of the most expensive teams in baseball. Bullshit.”

        If the Mets are forced to sell – either for financial reasons or because MLB doesnt want an owner so closely associated with Madoff – then investment groups will start lining up to buy the Mets. But the team is not just going to be sold to the highest bidder. It will have to be an ownership group that is approved by Major League Baseball. And every group will know that their chances of approval will be greatly enhanced with somebody that has a proven track record as an owner. This means that Sternberg could theoretically get a significant stake in the team AND a controlling voice without necessarily coming up with 51% on his own.

        “Why why WHY? would he build this team up just to let someone else reap all the benefits?”

        There are a million reasons, but I’ll stick to the most important ones: Because he is a stock market guy and selling the team now would likely mean a profit. Because he knows he can make more money in New York. Because there is no new stadium for the Rays in sight. Because even though the Rays have been successful in recent years, they still are in the bottom-third in attendance. Because even though the team has been successful in recent years, they don’t make a profit unless they are receiving revenue sharing (something that might change in the next CBA) and there is no profit in 2008 without their playoff revenues.

        “There is no reason, other than the Mets are his all time FAV team.”

        This was such a minor point, that I almost left it out of my original story. My point since the beginning has been that Selig and Major League Baseball would want somebody like Sternberg. My point was that Sternberg is the type of owner that owners would want owning a New York team. And it just so happens that Sternberg is a New York guy, so that makes the match cleaner. But his Mets fandom is NOT why any of this would happen. It would just be the icing.

        “How much dept are the Mets in? Why would a guy who already owns a blooming team want to take on $225 million in dept?”

        Presumably the same reason somebody would want to buy a house on a short-sale. Because that is when you can get the best deal. If the Mets are worth $1B without debt, and let’s assume your number is correct. Now all of the sudden the team only costs $775M, with the other $225M in team value going to pay off the debt.

        “This team is about to take off in ticket sales”

        I hope you are right. But that is an awfully optimistic statement.

        • Derek says:

          This is nothing, no substance, nothing that causes me to stop and think this is possible.

          Stu is attractive to investors: I guess this is a good point, but it’s not the real issue. Stu wont just be the cover boy for the money guys. That’s a lose lose. In order to be the controlling member, I assume he needs to fork over the most cash.

          “Presumably the same reason somebody would want to buy a house on a short-sale.”

          This is why this pisses me off. Presumably. We have a bunch of sports bloggers making outlandish claims that hold no water when tested. The problem with your house analogy is that this isn’t a house worth a couple hundred grand. This is an investment so large that it appears people can’t grasp it. You can’t just buy a team fix it up then sell for profit.

          “Because even though the Rays have been successful in recent years, they still are in the bottom-third in attendance.”

          This is not a legit reason. The Rays fanbase has gone way up since they have had success, and there is no reason to think it will just stop climbing. Actually, it’s easy to assume that we will see an increase this year fulled by Manny and the economy. Next please.

          “Because he is a stock market guy and selling the team now would likely mean a profit.”

          Sure, but holding onto the team is worth more in the long run. So that brings us to your next point.

          “Because he knows he can make more money in New York.”

          Wrong. Very very wrong. If it was assured he would make a lot more money, he would be doing a lot more than considering this. I said $225 mill in dept. I meant in the black, and it only gets worse with each passing day.

          In reference to your “look at me” twitter post. I wasn’t serious, and was just pointing out that this “source” is about as legit as you. (not at all, in case you were wondering)

          “There are a million reasons, but I’ll stick to the most important ones:”

          But there aren’t a million reasons. There are like four “reasons”. All are laughable.

          • Joe says:

            Irving Picard is the Madoff Ponzi creditor. He means business there pal. He WILL get his money and he has a fiduciary responsibility. Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Katz also know that the liquidity of the Mets franchise is what will satisfy Picard. Stu Sternberg alread being invested in the Mets has an instant inside track of the Mets and can use the Rays as collateral for a down payment for the sale.

            Keep in mind too that CitiField is brand new and comes with the sale, already paid for by the City and State of New York with helpful assitance of TARP money for CitiBank (ughhhh!) Stu gets the ballpark, SNY and the Mets franchise along with his investment group going to Queens. The money that Stu’s investment group that would be involved in any proposed ballpark in Tampa Bay would then be used in collateral to secure the Mets/SNY/CitiField. It’s an open and shut easy case and streamlined.

          • Derek says:

            No, CitiField and SNY are two reasons why he wont invest in this.

          • Cork Gaines says:

            I have no idea what Tweet you are talking about. I probably have you blocked.

          • Derek says:

            You can’t figure what tweet OF YOURS I’m talking about, but somehow you can grasp this situation that requires you to understand complex economics.

          • Mike says:

            You Know Prof. The tweet as opposed to the other 10,000 that you didn’t want anybody to read.

            Apparently the D in Derek stands for Dick.

  2. Joe says:

    Cut and dried to me. He didn’t want to be quoted directly. This is an obvious example of off the record speaking. This is as close as close can be to show Stu Sternberg having a foot and a half off the door. As long as Stu is being flimsy about his intentions, he will not get any traction on his stadium initiative.

    Today’s piece only proves his eyes are off of the area.

  3. The Garfoose says:

    To win my “Rejected Garfoose” card you must answer the following questions five:

    Are you ready? (not of one the questions) Here we go!

    1) What is the name of the picture based scale I’ve created to gauge how my days at spring training are going?

    2) What was the name of the Portland Beaver’s Triple A mascot before it was changed to “Lucky” in 2008 (my debut year).

    3) This dog, referenced in the bible, is one of the fastest and oldest breads on earth, and is known by it’s ironic nic-name, “The 45 MPH _____” ? (looking for the slang name).

    4) This verse of the Bible contains every letter except Q

    5) Somewhere on this website, in one of my previous posts, there is a simple Math Question. Answer it, for the this question and you’re done! Here is a hint. When I was broke, living on my grandmother’s floor, I did this all the time.., in fact, most of my current teammates still talk smack about it.

  4. Joe says:

    Let me ask you something here rhetorically, or if you want to answer, fine by me. Do you think in your right mind that Stu Sternberg told Lenn Robbins and Joel Sherman right after they got this quote solicited from Stu, were told some interesting tidbits OFF THE RECORD?! If this was false, or any of the pretenses, why isn’t Stu Sternberg getting his attorneys ready for a libel lawsuit?

    Of course he’s in on this. He wants to make sure he has plausible deniability and no direct quotes that can be attributed to him. And it wouldn’t surprise me that Sherman, Robbins et al got this information within 30 seconds to 2 minutes after this.

    It is time that Bill Foster, Bob Buckhorn, Rose Ferlita, county commissioners and whoever to step up and court some local investors just to make sure if and more likely when Stu does make a sale deal, that local investors can buy the team so MLB doesn’t end up with the franchise. It is imperative the franchise comes to local hands to ensure, one the franchise remains a permanent part of the Tampa Bay landscape and two, no outside force can dicate terms to the local municipalities and county commissions. It is time NOW that our local governments step up and get on the horn and have prospective investors on standby ready for a possible sale.

    • Derek says:

      If he was “in” on this nobody would be told. This team is uber secret about trades, why in the hell would he go running his mouth about the most important thing he will ever do?

      I’m sorry that you can’t grasp the magnitude of this, but this isn’t a situation where you can assume it is a likely outcome.

      • Joe says:

        Don’t you think that’s why he didn’t have a quote directly attributed to him? “Sources” is pretty ambiguous yet convenient, isn’t it?!

        What is there to assume?! Stu lives in New York, doesn’t live in Tampa Bay, its easier to for him to do business in New York. So you saying that no one is allowed to speculate?!

        What happens then, what happens to the Rays?! Is it not wise for the cities to independently line up investors so Stu can’t sell the Rays to MLB? It’s the very magnitude that disturbs me and what Stu is mulling and contemplating is the VERY FUTURE OF BASEBALL IN TAMPA BAY, gosh darnit! And perhaps if the city leaders made his decision for him easier, then Stu can leave and we can all be a little happier.

        • Derek says:

          No, it’s bullshit. Probably made up by the writer, or someone for some reason. He doesn’t have a direct quote because they didn’t give you one. He has denied it to media here and in New York.

          Business operations have little to nothing to do with it. How much does he do for the Rays on a daily basis, if he needed to be closer he would be.

          Speculation was a lot time ago, this story hasn’t grown legs since then, so now you all are just buying into the shit you post. Your speculation has been proven false. I’m sorry you cant see it.

          I don’t want him gone, as he doesn’t do anything wrong in my eyes, and before you freak out and list all the things you hate about him know I don’t care for your insane stories, and I probably wont read it.

          • Joe says:

            Then Stuart Sternberg should sue for damages and get a retraction on that. This is incredible. That is what you are saying then, you are calling six people that came up with a printed story in a newspaper all liars.

            As far as your “money line” goes:

            But sources said that if the Wilpon family is forced to sell its majority stake — against its current wishes — Sternberg would be interested, and is a logical choice to buy the team given his strong existing ties to both baseball and Wall Street.

            That is a declarative statement. The words “would be” means that he is after the initial condition is satisified. I know the English language pretty well, so maybe you would like a refresher course on tenses on verbs and present, past and future forms of “to be” are.

          • Derek says:

            No, I’m calling one person a liar, and several others choose to buy into this lie.

            The fact the I told you he denied it, and you still want to argue about this is my point. You wont accept the facts. You’ll just accept what you want to hear. There is a reason why Cork, or anyone else hasn’t dug too deep into this and presented more concrete ways about how it could happen. Oh wait, he is “attractive” to other MLB owners, and has “ties” to the Mets. lol Solid reasoning there. If the Rays as a whole are worth just $320 mill, how, or better yet why, would he try to get a controlling share of the Mets? He only owns half of the Rays, well 48%. So half of the Rays are worth… and how much is half of the Mets worth? Sure he can find more investors, but the less money he dumps into the pot, the less return he will get each pay day.

            I love this.

            “Will It Happen?
            Sternberg as the owner of the Mets may be MLB’s dream scenario: An owner with a successful track record of fiscal responsibility in control of one of their marquee franchises. It could also give MLB more direct control over one of their more troubled franchises. But in the end, this will only happen if the Wilpons decide to sell the entire Mets franchise, something that seems more likely the more we learn about the Madoff Mess.

            Not one line that mentions whether or not it would happen if Stu wants it to happen. And again, more assuming that it will just happen! if the Wilpons are forced out.

            I’m saying that Cork has claimed over and over again that this is a given. Which it is far from that. The source didn’t come out till long after this has story started, but I don’t believe the source is legit. Stories are made up all the time. Maybe you need a refresher course on the interwebzzz.

          • KG says:

            When did Prof say it was a “given”? I thought he said it “could” happen. That’s a far cry from “will happen.” maybe you need a refresher course on reading comprehensionzzzz.

          • Derek says:

            I took that course. Here are my grades:

            “But in the end, this will only happen if the Wilpons decide to sell the entire Mets franchise, something that seems more likely the more we learn about the Madoff Mess.”

            From the article AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE:

            “Of course, as I have said all along, this is contingent on the Mets being forced to sell a majority, or the entirety of the ballclub.”

            Not sure about your reading comprehensionzzzz, but these two statements simply say that if the Wilpons are forced to sell, Stu is the guy that will knocking on the door to buy.

            The only thing he is saying COULD happen is the Wilpons selling a majority share, but he claims that if they do, “this will happen”

            You thought wrong. Come back when you know.

          • Derek says:

            Your point is right. I mean, he does use the word could, but the lack of one reason against this leads me to believe he, among others, think that this will happen. I don’t blame Cork, but I expect the national media to look at both sides of the story. Instead of just saying nothing, really. There is no depth to any article.

  5. Gus says:

    Well, let’s see. New York Times reports one of Stu’s partners is already in the running for the Mets partial sale (which will turn into a total sale I think we all can agree on that). Stalking horse for Stu? Maybe, just maybe.

    So assume Stu stays put on his stake, but the Rays lose some of his money guys? That, at a minimum, is what is public now. Derek can hope against hope that Rays owners won’t kick the tires on the Mets, but we can see now that they are. How it plays out, who knows? But the fact that like John Henry, he is already in the club and has been a great onwer for MLB, leads me to believe they’ll get a first crack at a crown jewel franchise if they want it (and if they can figure out another ownr for the Rays). Remember: getting new ownership control in Tampa Bay was a nightmare the first time around.

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