The Mets may be a big market team but they have big financial problems. Bigger than they’ve been letting on, it seems, because the New York Times is reporting that Major League Baseball provided the Mets $20 million to cover operating expenses last fall. Or maybe it was more, because the Daily News is reporting that it was $25 million. Either way, Fred Wilpon is a tad sensitive about it all:
Wilpon, in Florida for spring training, said on Friday that he would not talk about the team’s finances. Asked directly whether baseball had been assisting him, Wilpon walked away, saying he did not want to discuss the team’s finances with a reporter.
Remember last year when the Rangers got help with their operating expenses? How everyone considered that to be some kind of affront to fair play and market economics and all of that? Something tells me that a team with a $140 million payroll and its own cable network needing similar charity isn’t going to go over well.
Also: remember how Tom Hicks started out saying he was going to sell a minority interest in the team? And then had to take money to keep afloat? Anyone really all that confident that the Wilpons are going to avoid the same fate Hicks met?
*Correction: When I first posted this I had the headline in the future tense — as in, the league was going to provide assistance. The assistance came last fall. Sorry for the error.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.