The dust has settled on the early off-season activity, such as it was. With the official announcement of the signing of Frank Francisco – the latest member of the College of Closers, joining Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Bobby Parnell – the 40-man roster finds itself at 40-men. The winter’s haul, which also included older Angel Pagan doppelganger Andres Torres, was modest compared to some. Alas, it appears the finances will only allow for modesty at the moment. This may be the last such moment.
Apparently, the mortgaged-to-the-hilt Wilpons are approximately six months from a day of reckoning. Yes, they have an extension on the outstanding $25 million loan from MLB – evidently, it pays to be a Seligian lap dog – but I have a feeling Bank of America, the latest Mets mortgagee, will not be as forgiving when it comes time to collect on $40 million just lent. The due date on that loan is sometime in mid-July 2012, according to reports. There is also outstanding debt on the SNY television network and on Citi Field itself, two entities which one would think would be moneymakers, especially in the New York metro market. Yet the team is projected to lose $70 million in 2012. With the on-field product looking the way it does, attendance in Flushing is likely to take another dip, adding to the fun. If this were a mob movie, the next line would be, “These guys are dead and don’t know enough to lie down.”
So what this means is that for us fans, by this time next year there should be a more solvent ownership group in place, one which can identify a duck and tell us it’s a duck, rather than trying to convince us it’s really a swan and that we just don’t know enough about swans to correctly identify it. Perhaps it will be a group which will truly blow some fresh air through the fetid Citi offices and bring on a new attitude. Maybe it will be someone flamboyant enough to not give big rat’s backside about PR perceptions – or better yet, not make any PR blunders to begin with. A group that knows what it’s doing and even appears to know what it’s doing? That would be something new, something we haven’t seen since the early-90s.
It would also blessedly untie Sandy Alderson’s hands. It will allow the GM to do some real GMing and make the moves to bring in some true difference-makers while the arms ripen in Buffalo and Binghamton. If the new guys have any brains at all, they’ll be able to pump money into the scouting and development department, as well as improving the major-league product – if it works across town, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work in Queens.
Then this will be last year we get coal from Sandy Claus.