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William C. Altreuter
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Friday, October 16, 2015


As a rule articles about the finances of sports teams are about one of three topics: player salaries (typically stories that contain the implicit notion that athletes are paid too damn much); stadium financing (typically stories about how tax money must be spent, because otherwise We Will Lose the Team, although sometimes stories about how team owners are outright thieves); or stories about how much a given team cost to buy. The Mets being the Mets stories about the Mets' finances sometimes take a different turn: Mets ownership got scammed by Bernie Madoff, so not only are they chumps because they are still paying Bobby Bonilla, they are chumps because they can't be trusted to walk past a three card monte game without losing their watches.
This story goes beyond the usual, and explains the financial maneuvering that brought the team Casey Stengel used to call, "My Knickerbockers" to the National League Championship, and it makes for pretty good reading. Turns out that the rash of injuries the Mets started the season with-- most notably to David Wright-- meant that the team was reimbursed for a significant portion of the team salary dollars they otherwise would have been laying out. (Back  in the Madoff days they'd have taken the money they should have used to buy insurance and "invested" it with Bernie. I've never understood why so many people believe that rich is the same as smart.) They deserve credit for spending that money smartly, but it was just dumb luck that they had it to spend-- and in typical Mets' fashion it looked like bad luck.

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