The Mets have been casting about for investors for a long time now, and they’ve not had a ton of success yet. Yesterday it was reported that one of the $20 million shares they’ve been peddling is going to hedge fund manager Steven Cohen. Today we hear where more of those shares are going. From Richard Sandomir of the New York Times:
Time Warner Cable and Comcast are nearing a plan to finance SNY’s purchase of four shares in the Mets, worth $80 million, said one person with knowledge of the plan who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Kind of convoluted, in that Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz’ company — Sterling equities — owns SNY, and then, in turn, SNY will own a stake of the Mets. Time Warner and Comcast, in turn, own stakes in SNY. Makes my head get all fuzzy thinking about it.
Ultimately, though, the idea seems to be that Time Warner and Comcast don’t want to see the regional sports network they own suffer, and by shooting money, somewhat indirectly, to the Mets, they’re shoring up their network’s programming. Which makes more sense to me than some random rich person giving the Wilpons money as some sort of vanity investment. At least there are stakes here for the cable companies.
Oh, and I suppose I should offer a two-part full disclosure here: (1) Comcast owns NBC and NBC pays me, so you know; and (2) if things go sideways for the Wilpons and Comcast does something nutty like take the Mets over completely, I promise that when I am installed as the team’s Lord Protector that I shall be tough but fair in my administration of its affairs.
Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston
David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.
Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.
In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.
Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”
Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.
The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:
“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”
As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.
It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.