I don’t pretend to understand high finance that well — and I tend not to get my business news from the New York Post — so someone who knows more about this stuff than me tell if this is really a bad sign or if it’s much ado about nothing:
Banks that provided roughly $400 million in loans to the New York Mets are starting to unload some of that debt at a discount, a sign that creditors are getting nervous about the team’s finances, The Post has learned.
Potential buyers are bidding around 90 cents on the dollar for the debt, sources said. At least one creditor has bought a debt slice at a discount with the approval of Major League Baseball, which must sign off on any buyer of the team’s loans, said one source.
“This tells me the original lenders are scared,” a source close to the situation said.
Is it possible that lenders — freaked out about their returns — could start to panic and a chain reaction could happen that would force the Mets into bankruptcy like the Rangers were? I’m not trying to be alarmist here: unlike Tom Hicks, who had been in the papers for silly finances for some time before the Rangers went into bankruptcy, I really don’t know enough about the Mets’ situation to say anything too intelligent yet. I’m really curious to know.
For now, though, I can at least say that that stuff doesn’t sound good.
On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.
The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.
Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:
While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.
Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.
It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.