Pitchers and catchers report in fewer than 10 days. So, needless to say, I’m extremely excited for the start of baseball season. That being said, the recent (and ongoing) follies that are the New York Metropolitans have been entertaining to say the least. Besides all the drama going on with the owners, faltering ticket sales (for a stadium going into its fourth season), and other crazy things, the Mets have recently revoked the press credential for a media member for… well, telling the truth. They said they didn’t like how he reports.
The gift that keeps on giving.
Being a fan of an NL East team, it’s fun to watch the floundering Mets. As a baseball fan, it’s a little tougher because it’s not good for the sport overall. I wasn’t sure it could get any worse than Frank McCourt and the Dodgers debacle, but the Wilpons are starting to make McCourt look like the owner of the year.
Anyway, the reason for this post. I was chatting briefly with a friend and making fun of the Mets. I made a comment about winning the Mets on an eBay auction. It sounded like a fun blog post. So, below is my thoughts…(please remember, this is all meant to be funny… so laugh a little). It’s satire, too, so there’s no need to think about lawsuits!
Mets sold on eBay auction; team to be moved
The New York Mets baseball club has been sold via an eBay auction. The selling price was $2.49 and attracted four bidders with the opening bid at 99 cents.
(Note to editors: That is $2 dollars, 49 cents. Not 2.49 million or billion).
The winning bid came in at the last second from the owner of the website “A ‘lil HooHaa.”
“I placed the bid on a dare figuring there had to be some Mets fan out there who wanted this team more than I did,” said new owner P.J. Harmer, a lifelong Phillies fan. He noted he doesn’t plan on changing his allegiance toward the Phytin’ Phils anytime soon.
“Never,” he said. “I’m a Phillies fan until the end. This is a business investment. Heart and wallet are two different things.”
The Mets have been in distress for a while now. With the Bernie Madoff scandal helping to slowly take down the former owners, the Wilpon family looked to bail quickly. It’s believed they thought they would at least get 100 bucks for the team.
“I don’t know what they will do with the $2.49,” said Mets PR slack Jay Horwitz, who recently made headlines when the team yanked the press credentials of a reporter based on them reporting negative things about the Wilpons and the Mets. “They were thinking about re-investing the money, but their main investing person is currently being held up for the next 150 years or so.”
With normal big-time investors balking at the idea of pouring money into a cash-sucking machine, the Wilpons came up with the idea to sell the Mets via eBay.
“They thought it would be a way to give average people the chance to own a professional baseball team,” Horwitz said.
After securing the OK from baseball commissioner Bud Selig, an old pal of Fred Wilpon, the Wilpons placed the team on eBay with a starting bid of 99 cents and an auction set to run 10 days.
However, the Metropolitan front office created another gaffe when it forgot to put a minimum on the team price.
“Our legal crew never told us this was necessary, so we didn’t do the research,” Horwitz said.
After five days, only one bid — at 99 cents — had been placed. The price had gone up to 1.75 with one day remaining.
The bid was placed with no plans on winning the team. But as the clock timed down, nobody else bid.
“The funny thing is, I paid more for an autographed Chase Utley card on eBay than I did the Mets,” the new owner said. “In fact, I spent more money on certified autographs of minor leaguers than I did the Mets.”
The future of the Mets has already been decided.
“I’m moving them to Devils Lake, North Dakota,” the new owner said. “I figure nobody watches the Mets anyway, so why not see if we can drum up some interest in North Dakota?”
Devils Lake had a population of 7,141 in the 2010 census. The town features a municipal airport, which will allow teams to fly in and out for games. The team will be looking for a field as soon as possible. Lake Region State College is in Devils Lake, but the school does not have a baseball team.
“I hear North Dakota is quite a nice place,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who has been the subject of trade talks involving the Yakult Swallos, a Japanese professional team.
Rumors are any players who make more than the league minimum would likely be traded for whatever the team can get to make sure they don’t have to keep the high salaries. Single-A and Double-A players will be in high demand.
Former sports writer Jerry Beach has been named the new general manager. Beach said he’d be moving to Devils Lake soon so he could find a place for the team to play and maybe see about selling a few tickets.
“We’re thinking about having open tryouts when we first move out there to see if there’s any good talent hanging around,” Beach said. “Remember, good players can come out of North Dakota. Look at Chris Coste.”
He said it will be a tough sell early because the Mets play in the National League East and there’s no traditional rivalries with other teams in the Midwest. Therefore, the new ownership is looking to make the game feel more like a minor league game, with in-between-innings games, prizes and giveaways.
Items such as bucking bronco night, paper bag night, and “burn your New York Mets jersey” night have been planned.
Speaking of uniforms, the new duds will be scaled down a bit to save costs.
Riley’s Bail Bonds has signed on as a sponsor and will pay to have its name on the back of each jersey, eliminating the need for names on the back.
“The likelihood of the players being known is going to be slim anyway,” Beach said. “So we figured we’d make money the best we could. Why not sell every piece of space with ads? It appears to work in soccer.”
The Mets new ownership have been in discussions to sell Citi Field to the New York Yankees as a practice facility. The ownership feels that they can get some operating capital from the sale.
The goal, too, is to have the majority of players making the league minimum until the team can stabilize.
“Let’s be realistic here,” Beach said. “There are a lot of things we need to do. And the Mets don’t have a large fanbase now as it is, so we have to build everything from scratch. And there’s no Casey Stengal to start things with here.”
There will not be an immediate change in on-field management, but that will be evaluated as the season progresses.
Beach said that with moving to North Dakota, he also needed to hire a special weather consultant, so he turned to long-time Mets fan and high school classmate Matt Edwards to man that position.
Edwards said he feels the weather patterns might save the season, though he’s not sure it’s what the people want.
“Tornado projections are weak for this summer, meaning we won’t even get a homestand wiped out by Mother Nature during a 38-124 season,” Edwards said.
The new ownership and management said they feel they have a strong team of people who will play a part in shaping the team as it moves forward.
“This is not a joke to us,” Beach said. “Though I’m sure the going will be rough early, I look forward to having a ticker-tape parade down College Drive in Devils Lake soon enough.”
As long as the Mets can find a place to play, they will open their home schedule April 5 against the Braves. Beach said if any Mets season ticket holders still remain, they are welcome to Devils Lake and would be offered a grilled hot dog as part of their season ticket package.
“We can’t turn our back on the dozen people who actually supported the Mets the past few years,” Beach said. “The least we can do is give them a hot dog, and if necessary, a folding chair along the third-base line.”
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