What follows is a hypothetical, purely fictitious conversation between hedge fund magnate, Steven A. Cohen, and Fred Wilpon, principal owner of the New York Mets. As a long suffering Mets fan, I hope this dream comes true.
SAC: I don’t care what it takes Fred, but I want to buy the New York Mets and I want to buy them right now!
WILPON: Stevey, listen to me my old friend. You are acting like Veruca Salt in Willy Wanka and the Chocolate Factory, this is not an Oompa Loompa you are bidding on. These are the New York Mets.
SAC: Fred, with all due respect to you and your son, Jeff, this team sucks. Your attendance is way down, Johan Santana has a bad arm, Jose Reyes will be a free agent you can’t afford to keep, and your closer is a wife beater. For Christ’s sake, Fred, R A Dickey is your best pitcher. My daughter throws harder than him.
Wilpon. None of that matters, Steve. This is still a bidding process. Half of Wall Street is evaluating the team right now. These guys are absolute vultures. Can you imagine if David Heller from Goldman Sachs buys the team? That will not go over well with our fan base in Flushing.
SAC. Well, Fred, you don’t have to worry about that with me. Nobody knows me outside of the hedge fund world, and I have 8 billion to throw at the team. I will make the Steinbrenners look like Ebenezer Scrooge.
Wilpon: So you will put a lot of your own money into the team?
SAC: Absolutely. We will build a new stadium with state of the art locker rooms, new uniforms, a television deal with a cable company people have actually heard of. I may even decide to move the team to Greenwich.
Wilpon: I hope you are kidding? We have a new stadium. Do you even follow baseball at all?
SAC: Mostly stocks, Fred. Baseball bores me.
Wilpon: Well you should know that we are only selling a minority stake in the team, and we intend to keep complete control over the team’s finances and operations. More importantly, we are obligated to evaluate all the offers and determine what is best for both the family and the organisation as a whole.
SAC: Fred, you are bankrupt. Stop kidding yourself. After Irving Picard finishes with you there will be nothing left. You must sell the whole team. For Christ’s sake, wake up already! How about this, I will give you 1 billion cash right now.
Wilpon: Steve, seriously, if I sold the Mets to you, how would you make them a team better?
SAC: Well, first of all I would perhaps change the name. The METS? It is very seventies. At the very least, we would need to spruce it up a bit.
Wilpon. “Meet the Mets, meet the mets, step right up and greet the mets” is such a catchy jingle.
SAC: I like, “Mets baseball, we play hard, WE HAVE SAC.
SAC I think it’s great. You see, my initials are S A C, my hedge fund is called SAC capital, and it’s a very macho catch phrase. The Latinos and the women will eat that stuff up.
Wilpon. Well, I admit there is quite a lot you can do with that promotionally. Jockstrap giveaways, condom night. The opportunities are limitless.
SAC. Exactly my point, Fred. I also think we need to add some diversity into the front office. I like Sandy Alderson but he is so bland. A 70 year old white man running a baseball team in New York. Give me a break.
Wilpon. We just hired Sandy. He is a Money Ball genius. He took a cash strapped Oakland As team to the World Series three years in a row. We also just fired Omar Minaya, who made all the wrong moves and pretty much ruined our team.
SAC: Alderson is white bread, Fred. I am thinking globally. A guy with contacts, lots of expert networks around the entire baseball world, a guy who will do whatever it takes to get the best information about players first. A guy like my good friend Raj Rajaratnam.
Wilpon: You want Raj to run the Mets?
SAC: If he is not in prison, why not?
Wilpon: I see, do you have any other plans to improve the ball club’s operations?
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