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SBD/February 18, 2011/Franchises
Fred Wilpon Says Family "Will Be Vindicated," Plans To Keep Control Of Mets
Published February 18, 2011
SILENCE IS GOLDEN? In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes there is "something a little desperate and disingenuous to the defiance that both Jeff and Fred Wilpon have deemed their default position now." Vaccaro: "I do think it's fair to wonder how a man with 50 years of almost ceaseless success in business ... could allow himself to be taken in so completely" (N.Y. POST, 2/18). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff writes, "I'm not sure how much Wilpon's outreach and access helped his family's cause, which prompts this question: Are the Wilpons, so often private when they should have been public, now making themselves visible when they should be hiding?" It is "fully understandable that Wilpon wants to fight," but the Wilpons' standing "seems to drop every time they open their mouths" (NEWSDAY, 2/18). In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes Wilpon's decision to address the Madoff litigation "has led various commentators to suggest Mets ownership should shut up and go into exile." But if he "stayed locked in a closet, those calling for his self-imposed exile would accuse him of stonewalling." Raissman: "When the rhythm of the baseball season kicks in, Fred and Jeff Wilpon will be in the background, working behind the scenes, as they normally do" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/18).
READY TO LEND A HAND: On Long Island, Davidoff & Baumbach note while MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is "waiting for more information, he could help the Wilpons by trying to find a buyer for the 25 percent of the Mets they want to sell." If the Mets are "struggling to cover expenses, he also could help by giving the Wilpons a line of credit" from MLB, or Selig could "simply help by meeting with the Wilpons and listening to them, as he already has done." Selig will "do what he can to protect Wilpon in a way that the commissioner wouldn't" for Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt. Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent said, "Of all the people I knew in baseball, it's hard for me to think of another owner as close to Selig as Fred is, with the exception of (White Sox owner Jerry) Reinsdorf" (NEWSDAY, 2/18). SI.com's Jon Heyman reported Selig is going to give Wilpon "substantial time to sort through the Madoff mess." The commissioner "surely hopes that Wilpon will hold onto the team," but neither Selig nor "anyone else knows whether Wilpon will be able to do that" (SI.com, 2/17).