The Wilpons didn't lose as much money to Madoff as believed

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If you believe financial experts like Larry King, Mets owner Fred Wilpon and family lost as much as $700 million investing with former friend and current inmate Bernie Madoff.  That, however, may be a slight exaggeration:

A partnership connected to the baseball team — which had widely been rumored to have lost money investing with Bernard Madoff — actually gained a net $48 million from its dealings with the convicted swindler, according to a bankruptcy-court filing.

The filing, by the court-appointed trustee handling claims for Madoff victims, is the first documentation of how deeply invested Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon was with Mr. Madoff, a longtime friend.

The filing showed that the Mets Limited Partnership, which is connected with Sterling Equities Inc., owner of the Mets, deposited about $523 million into two accounts with Mr. Madoff — and withdrew about $571 million.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Wilpons made money.  Yes, it’s a net increase in the money in play, but (a) the Wilpons may have had his money with Madoff for many, many years; and (b) they may have believed, via Madoff’s fraud, that they were up way, way above that.  So in financial terms the Wilpons could have suffered a huge loss in terms of forgone, legitimate gains, and they may have been making financial decisions based on a radically different position than the one in which they actually found themselves to be once the fraud was discovered.  That’s not a $700 million loss, but it’s certainly not great either.

Sadly for Mets fans, however, the team’s competitive position remains just as dire as previously believed.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.