Tom Hanks was wrong when his character in ‘A League of Their Own’ said, “There’s no crying in baseball.” He never met Rob Manfred or New York Mets Owner Fred Wilpon.
Well Mr. Hanks, there certainly is crying in baseball. The tears are unequivocally deserved under the notion that there won’t be a 2020 season after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred went on ESPN’S “The Return of Sports” with Mike Greenberg last week and declared “we are going to play Major League Baseball this year.”
After a tennis-like back and forth between MLB Commissioner and Major League Baseball Players Association on proposals for a season longer than 50 games, prorated salaries, a universal DH, and expanded playoffs, Manfred’s previous comments instilled a false hope in all 30 fanbases, including the New York Mets.
Mets fans have thicker skin than most because they’ve been down the road of false hope before. What seems like ages ago, when it was only six months, hedgefund billionaire Steve Cohen was dubbed as the franchise savior when he entered an agreement to purchase a majority stake in the team he already owned a minority stake in.
To no avail, the deal fell through and we are stuck with Fred and Jeff Wilpon, perhaps the biggest penny-pinchers in MLB. The Wilpons, who may struggle to make their loan payments, are still crying because they lost money in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-scheme.
The Mets often times find themselves shopping in the bargain basement bins when they should be window shopping on Fifth Avenue. There is plenty of money to go around. However, it seems like the Wilpons have an ally in St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt.
The tone-deaf DeWitt went on the radio and claimed the baseball “industry isn’t very profitable.” Fred and Jeff Wilpon may agree, but the woke members of the press and fanbases say otherwise, especially when the league entered a billion-dollar deal with Turner Sports for playoff game rights.
Owners such as the Wilpons and DeWitt are to blame for possible extinction of professional baseball in America. They have an easy and direct line to Manfred’s office on Park Avenue. Maybe it took a pandemic to shine a light on the owners and Manfred’s greed, stubbornness, and unwillingness to compromise. People are starting to realize that it’s never been about winning but the bottom dollar.
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In a league that fails to capitalize on marketing their top stars to cultivate a relationship with a younger demographic, it’s going to be hard to get the fans back. Steroids and sign-stealing won’t work. How about marketing the home runs of National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, the batting title chase by Jeff McNeil and Jacob deGrom’s quest for a third straight Cy Young award?
New York Mets fans will always bleed the orange and blue but one thing’s true: Manfred and the Wilpons made a fool of me and you.
With the fate of baseball at stake and a potential strike when the CBA expires, I’m content with my last fond baseball memory. Dom Smith’s walk-off against the Atlanta Braves to end the 2019 season.
Do you think the New York Mets will play in 2020? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media.