Multiple outlets are reporting this morning that the Mets have an agreement to sell 49% of the team to one David Einhorn of the hedge fund Greenlight Capital, Inc. for $200 million. The sale would not include a stake in SNY, it’s being reported. No word on what kind of managerial control, if any, Einhorn would have.
For those who care about such things, Einhorn is really young — he turns 43 this year — and is a serious poker player too. Colorful guy.
It’s also probably worth noting that Einhorn is in the news this week for much more significant business reasons: he, as one of the bigger shareholders in Microsoft, is calling for the company to fire its CEO Steve Ballmer. He’s also famous for being the guy who called B.S. on Lehman Brothers’ valuation and business practices well before anyone else did, and has made oodles shorting the stock of companies he feels are mismanaged. And he’s been pretty much vindicated in all of these assessments.
So: Einhorn is a guy who is not afraid to call for the head of management and he’s a guy who knows how to make a killing on a distressed asset. Yeah, I can totally see Einhorn agreeing to a deal in which he’s willing to sit back and let Fred Wilpon do everything he wants to do without any power to question, control or take over the course of the New York Mets. No question about it. It’s like, totally his M.O.
It may not be today and it may not be tomorrow, but I have this feeling that Fred Wilpon’s days as majority owner of the Mets are numbered.
A Solar Eclipse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union — launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.
Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”
As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.
I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.