So David Einhorn's deal to buy into the Mets is dead, which means that the future of the Mets ownership is once again in question.
First of all, what happened? It didn't take someone as smart as Alex P. Keaton to realize that the talks weren't going well. After all, the two sides announced an agreement on May 26 and expressed hope that it would be finalized by the end of June.
Einhorn, in a telephone news conference earlier today, politely smeared the Mets and the way they conducted their business. One accusation, however, simply didn't make any sense. Einhorn wanted pre-approval as the Mets' control person in case he took over majority interest of the team, and he said that he received such assurances from Bud Selig before the Mets "lobbied" behind the scenes to remove that provision.
Huh? Baseball doesn't allow such pre-approval. A control person transition is subject to a vote by the owners and commissioner at the time it comes up for consideration, not five years before the fact.
That's not to say the Wilpons are blameless here. What did they expect when they chose Einhorn as their partner? Everyone knew that Einhorn aspired to eventually run the team.
Okay, so what happens now? The Mets say they'll get their $200 million by selling off a number of shares to family and friends, creating a pool of "limited partners" like George Steinbrenner did when he purchased the Yankees back in 1973.
Could it work? Yes, although one person familiar with the mechanics of this setup said that the Mets have to establish a "point system" to divvy up the shares and percentages, making sure they distribute sufficient value but also don't overextend themselves. Are you confident that they can successfully do so?
And the bigger question is, can the Wilpons and Saul Katz survive without Einhorn? They are in better shape than they were a few months ago because the $700 million, "they should have known what Bernie Madoff was up to" portion (pardon the sophisticated legal language) of Irving Picard's $1 billion suit against them has been moved from bankruptcy court to federal court. That surely made them less desperate in their talks with Einhorn.
The Mets said in their statement today that they provided additional capital to cover their losses for this year. They haven't asked for more money from MLB, a person in the loop said.
Nevertheless, doubts persist within the industry over the long-term viability of this ownership, considering their debts even beyond the Madoff case. For now, the Mets will be given time to execute this new idea. But there's no doubt that today represents a significant setback.
As for what, if anything, today's news means for Jose Reyes and the likelihood he'll re-sign with the Mets? It's even more clear now that Einhorn, with his eye on the prize of majority control, wasn't going to dig into his own pockets to help retain Reyes. So it probably isn't fair to say that this will have a significant impact.
--Gary Carter, fighting brain cancer, had to go to a hospital emergency room earlier this week due to a blood clot.
--The Mets acquired the two players to be named later from Milwaukee to complete the Francisco Rodriguez trade.
--Jesus Montero, Scott Proctor, Raul Valdes, Chris Dickerson and Brandon Laird have joined the Yankees here at Fenway Park, as the roster maximum expands to 40. Montero is starting tonight at DH against Boston and Jon Lester, and it's apparent that Montero will be given every opportunity to make the Yankees' postseason roster.
--Alex Rodriguez planned to take batting practice today, the first time he'll have done so since the cortisone shot to his left thumb on Monday.
--Have a great night.