Mets' negative press saddens Doubleday
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The Wilpons are looking for someone with deep pockets to partner with them in owning the Mets. So, Nelson Doubleday, what do you think?
"No," he said by phone Monday, "I've had my turn at that game."
It's been almost nine years since Fred Wilpon bought out Doubleday's 50-percent share of the Mets, ending a partnership that began in 1980.
Although their 22-year marriage was usually described as anything but amicable, Doubleday has found no joy in reading all these negative stories about the Wilpons - and the Mets - in the newspapers.
"I hate to see the franchise get kicked around like that," he said. "And I'm sorry to see them getting kicked around."
Speaking from his home on the East Coast of Florida, Doubleday, 77, stressed that he doesn't know all that much about the Wilpons' financial state or the $1-billion figure that the special trustee in the Bernard Madoff fraud case is seeking from them in a lawsuit. "All I know is what I read," he said.
He's certainly not happy about what he's been reading, not to mention the negative effect this news has been having on the Mets' reputation. He said he had just spoken with former Mets GM Frank Cashen the other day about everything that's been going on.
"Yeah, I hate to see this trouble for them," he said of the Mets, "because I enjoyed my time with them."
A part of the Mets' ownership group since 1980, Doubleday spent his final 16 years with the Mets as an equal partner with Fred Wilpon until he was bought out in 2002.
Asked about their well-documented differences, Doubleday said it's best to describe their relationship as "good business partners."
"We got along in that and that was fine," Doubleday said. "I may not have done things the way they do it and they might not have done things the way I did them, but we got along."
Given the staggering number of accounts with Madoff that had ties to the Mets, it was noteworthy that Doubleday was spared. He said he used different "investment counseling" than the Wilpons did.
Doubleday said he spends a lot of his time these days at his Florida home, which is a few towns south of the Mets' spring training complex in Port St. Lucie. Summers are spent on Nantucket, he added, with a few visits to Long Island every now and then.
Doubleday hasn't been to a game at Citi Field yet, but he expressed interest in visiting the Mets' new home someday. "If I can," he said, "I will."
But as for investing any more time or money into the team, those days are long gone.
"I see them every now and again. Our paths cross," Doubleday said of the Wilpons. "But not as far as baseball is concerned. It's none of my business."