Are the Mets in bigger financial trouble than we assumed?

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I don’t pretend to understand high finance that well — and I tend not to get my business news from the New York Post — so someone who knows more about this stuff than me tell if this is really a bad sign or if it’s much ado about nothing:

Banks that provided roughly $400 million in loans to the New York Mets are starting to unload some of that debt at a discount, a sign that creditors are getting nervous about the team’s finances, The Post has learned.

Potential buyers are bidding around 90 cents on the dollar for the debt, sources said. At least one creditor has bought a debt slice at a discount with the approval of Major League Baseball, which must sign off on any buyer of the team’s loans, said one source.

“This tells me the original lenders are scared,” a source close to the situation said.

Is it possible that lenders — freaked out about their returns — could start to panic and a chain reaction could happen that would force the Mets into bankruptcy like the Rangers were?  I’m not trying to be alarmist here: unlike Tom Hicks, who had been in the papers for silly finances for some time before the Rangers went into bankruptcy, I really don’t know enough about the Mets’ situation to say anything too intelligent yet.  I’m really curious to know.

For now, though, I can at least say that that stuff doesn’t sound good.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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