Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig displayed his strongest support yet for the Mets' embattled owners Thursday, expressing confidence that the Wilpons and Saul Katz will find a minority buyer and survive their current financial travails -- and avoid the fate that befell the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"They've been really hard at work. They've really spent an enormous amount of time on this," Selig said of the Mets' ownership. "And I think they're coming to something pretty quickly."
Selig said he is "closely" monitoring the lawsuit against Mets ownership by Bernard Madoff trustee Irving Picard. Said Selig: "I think what [the Mets] are trying to do is very positive, very constructive. The [lawsuit] could take years . . . I talk to Steve Greenberg [who is running the sale] with great frequency," Selig added. "He's very confident that there are buyers."
In the wake of news that MLB has taken over the Dodgers, Selig dismissed the notion that such actions will happen to the Mets. "There are a lot of differences between the Mets' and Dodgers' situations," Selig said. " . . . If you're asking me, 'Is the analogy a proper one?' the answer is no."
Selig expressed confidence that the Mets will repay the $25-million loan issued by MLB last November by the end of this season.
In a related matter, Major League Soccer president Mark Abbott said the league maintains communication with the Wilpons regarding an expansion team with a new stadium built in Queens, and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon confirmed those discussions. However, it's difficult to imagine the Wilpons would be in a position to take on another such venture, given their enormous financial problems.
With Jim Baumbach