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.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.