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SBD/May 13, 2014/Franchises
Mets' Katz Denies Report He Wants To Sell Majority Share; Wilpon's Control At Stake?
Published May 13, 2014
IT'S ABOUT TIME? In New Jersey, Bob Klapisch writes Katz' possible sale is a "complicated story," in part because Katz "strongly denied it." But a source said that Katz is "relying on semantics for cover." Klapisch writes to the "hard cores who still live (and die) for the Mets, this coup can’t happen fast enough, presumably because the Wilpons ... would have to be deposed by [MLB Commissioner Bud Selig] if Katz moves on." But it is "not that easy, of course, and don’t discount how much Selig’s friendship and loyalty to Fred Wilpon matters." A new commissioner next year will mean "new neutrality in the way the Mets are viewed" by the league office. But the "real reason to vote for regime change" is the Wilpons' "inability to afford a big-market payroll." The Mets "always feel like they’re one step behind, not to mention millions of dollars short in their quest for respectability" (Bergen RECORD, 5/13). ESPN N.Y.'s Adam Rubin noted the Mets have "reduced their payroll" to roughly $86M this season after operating at levels approaching $150M "during the final days" of former GM Omar Minaya's regime. Fans who are "upset with the team having suffered five straight losing seasons, and with a lack of spending at levels customary" in N.Y., have "stayed away from the ballpark, further placing a drag on the team's finances." Average home attendance "has gone from 51,165 in the final year of Shea Stadium" in '08, "to 38,941 the following year in the first season at Citi Field, to 32,401 in 2010, then 30,108, then 28,035, and to 26,695" in '13 (ESPNNY.com, 5/12). ESPN N.Y.'s Johnette Howard wrote Mets fans yesterday "rushed onto Twitter to dance on the Wilpons' grave and dream of life after Fred and his son, Jeff." The fact that the story "might be inaccurate wasn't the point" (ESPNNY.com, 5/13).
RADIO GAGA: In N.Y., Justin Tasch notes WFAN-AM's Mike Francesa yesterday on his show called the Mets "jackasses" for banning members of their organization from appearing on the station. Francesa, who was doing his show from Yankee Stadium, said that the Mets "were mad WFAN didn’t reup its contract with the Mets after 25 years as the team’s flagship radio station." He also "complained about not being able to do shows from Citi Field." Francesa: "They get what they deserve. I hope there’s 10,000 people at Citi Field in a couple of days. ... [Mets GM Sandy Alderson] makes moves, he’s not allowed on the show. Even [SNY's Keith Hernandez is] not allowed on the show. I mean, you’re banning Keith Hernandez from the show. It’s utter nonsense. No wonder you have to run around and put out fires about Saul Katz wanting to sell. If I was Saul I’d want to sell the franchise too, the way things were going." Tasch cites a source as saying the Mets "were not 'boycotting' WFAN, rather trying to build up their new radio relationship" with WOR-AM. A source added that the new flagship is "not eager to see Mets on the old station" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/13).