Alison Cowan of the New York Times reports that the Bernie Madoff affair was not the first time the Wilpons have had to pay back money as a result of getting in early on a Ponzi scheme:
But for the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, it is not the first time they have had their names and personal fortunes roughed up in a Ponzi scheme. An investment firm started by the two men had to pay back nearly $13 million two years ago when a hedge fund run by the scion of a wealthy New Orleans family collapsed in what was then regarded as one of Wall Street’s more brazen frauds.
I spent two years of my professional life defending a guy convicted of running a $50 million fraud, and part of that involved a number of mini-ponzi schemes and other assorted activities. One thing I learned is that a great number of the victims of such schemes are people who really like the idea of getting rich quick and who, either out of simple negligence or out of willful blindness, are eager to give their money to someone who promises quick and/or outsized returns on investment. Yes, some people are truly innocent victims, with the fraudsters creating elaborate schemes which withstand a reasonable amount of due diligence by the investor. But often times people are willing to skimp on the diligence because they are so dazzled by the prospect of boffo returns.
I have no idea where the Wilpons fall in all of this. But I do know that it’s not often that investors get burned by not just one, but two ponzi schemes. Especially allegedly sophisticated investors like the Wilpons.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.