The New York Mets have a potential new owner – of a minority stake in the team – and he has visited Citi Field to meet the Mets. Keeping in the tradition of the old team song (“Bring the kiddies; bring the wife; guaranteed to have the time of your life”), Einhorn brought his children to the game but perhaps wisely left the missus at home. The Mets lost that one against the Phillies, so it probably was for the best.
Einhorn is the latest entry into the Mets mess, and one has to wonder what he will be able to do to change the misfortunes of the organization. Yes, he is a wildly successful businessman, President of Greenlight Capital, which is sort of a complete opposite of the Bernie Madoff nightmare of an investment firm. Einhorn makes big money and is ready and willing to plunk down $200 million on the Mets, and there is a distinct possibility that he will be able to buy up more of the team, eventually making him the principal owner. So the stakes are high and, since he is such a smart fellow, we have to think that he has a lot more up his sleeve than he is showing in the cards right now.
Mets fans welcomed him at Citi Field on Wednesday night, and the cheers may be for something intangible as hope. Having gone to many games at old Shea over the years, I can tell you that Mets fans will cheer for the simplest possibilities of better things. They also look at what has happened in the past five years to this organization, how it has tanked so miserably since Carlos Beltran was a bystander on a third strike from Adam Wainwright in the NLCS in 2006. Ever since that bat never left Beltran’s shoulder, the team has fallen and it can’t get up, and all the things that have happened since have driven more and more nails into the team coffin.
Einhorn has a Mets pedigree, and fans always like that. Take a look at this picture of him as a kid. He is wearing a Mets cap and a jersey that he made himself with number 42 on it – the number of Dave Kingman, the big bopper at Shea at the time. It makes me like him right away because he was a fan when it was very hard to be a Mets fan, when “Sky King” (as Mets announcer Bob Murphy called Kingman) struck out and popped up towering fly balls a lot more than he hit homers. If he could be a fan in those dark times, he is probably the right man for the job here and now.
Make no mistake – these are extremely dark times for Mets fans. If you can imagine the team existing within the Star Wars saga, I would say right now we are stuck in the Empire Strikes Back with everything going against us. All the injured players are like Han Solo getting freeze-dried, and the fans are sort of like Princess Leia being a prisoner of Jabba the Hut. We have chains around our necks and things are looking mighty grim, so we have to hope that Einhorn is approved by Major League Baseball soon. This way we can speed things all the way up to Return of the Jedi, and he can be like Luke Skywalker and swoop in and save the day.
There are many things wrong with the Mets, and the truth is most fans know the team has been run poorly for years. Whatever happened between Fred Wilpon and Madoff notwithstanding, we need an infusion of new blood fast. Einhorn may not have much of a baseball background, but he certainly has a great track record in the business world. I hope that he gets involved, rolls up his sleeves, and starts taking the Mets machine apart. When he is all done – and if we are lucky – the Wilpons will let him buy them out and he can start building a winner again.
It seems to me it is time to shake off the ghost of Beltran watching that third strike. The way to do this is to have Einhorn pull a Moses. “Let my people go,” he can say to Pharaoh Wilpon. He can let Beltran walk, perhaps Jose Reyes too, and take the team toward a new start with new blood. Hopefully Einhorn will recognize Mike Pelfrey is no ace and get into the market and bring someone here who is, and maybe after a few years the Mets can get back to where they were in the late 1980s, and the Yankees with Posada, Jeter, and Rivera gone will be the second bananas in town again.
We have a long way to go to accomplish that, David Einhorn, but you have to start somewhere, so please get in there and get to work. Mets fans need you to do something and quickly, and if you do then you will have more people in those seats and the chants of “Let’s go Mets” will resound through the new park the way they once did at old Shea. Please do it for the fans, for the city, and for yourself too. Come on, some kid is waiting to make his favorite player’s jersey just like you did. Don’t keep him waiting!
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