UPDATE: The New York Times confirms Adam Rubin’s report and adds that the deal being discussed between Einhorn and the Mets does not include SNY, which is the team’s television network. Einhorn didn’t say much during the conference call Thursday, but was adamant that he had “no interest” in owning a television station.
9:30 AM: Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that David Einhorn does indeed have a path to majority ownership with the Mets. Of course, that was the assumption all along, as it wouldn’t make much sense if he didn’t have that option, but the exact terms of the deal are a doozy.
Einhorn has agreed in principal to purchase roughly 33 percent of the team for $200 million, which will infuse cash and keep the organization solvent in the immediate future. In three years, according to the source, Einhorn has an option to up his stake to 60 percent, although principal owner Fred Wilpon and his family have an opportunity to block Einhorn from gaining that majority stake.
The source said the Wilpons can stop Einhorn from gaining the majority share essentially by returning Einhorn’s initial $200 million investment yet allowing him to keep the 33 percent share of the team.
So, basically, in three years either Einhorn will either have majority control of the Mets or get his initial $200 million investment back and still keep one-third of the team. Kind of makes you wish you had $200 million sitting around, right? Not only is this the best deal you’ll see this week (year?), but it also tells you how hard-up the Wilpons are for cash right now.
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: