In the Daily News yesterday, Bill Madden reported that Mets owner Fred Wilpon was taken off of baseball’s executive council along with several other owners, as Rob Manfred seeks to get a new team of owners as his closest advisers. Which, sure, that makes sense. What makes less sense is that Manfred put Wilpon in charge of baseball’s finance committee.
I don’t know enough about the workings of MLB’s hierarchy to know what, exactly, the chairman of the finance council does, but Madden says the committee is “important.”
But here’s what I do know: Fred Wilpon reportedly lost as much as $700 million investing in a Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff. And that wasn’t the first Ponzi scheme in which he invested. Wilpon’s defense to losing his shirt and almost losing his team was that he was wholly ignorant of what was really going on. Really: that’s the best case scenario. That he had no idea where over half a billion dollars of his own money went. The investigation of the Madoff scandal concluded that Wilpon ignored repeated warnings that should have tipped him off that he was giving his money to a fraudster.
The Ponzi schemes aside, Wilpon’s management of the Mets has turned a team in baseball’s largest and most lucrative market into what is, practically speaking, a small market, financially strapped club, buried in debt service and forced to deal with payrolls that do not allow it to meet its baseball needs in an effective manner.
I would dare say that if Major League Baseball had an intern who lost $30 entrusted to him for a lunch run, the intern would either be fired or never allowed to touch money again. Fred Wilpon is put in charge of the finance committee. Hoo boy.