And here I thought the worst day of the offseason would be Jose Reyes signing with the Marlins. Instead, the Wilpons and Saul Katz reached a $162 million settlement with Madoff trustee Irving Picard in which Mets ownership will not have to make any payments for three years, by which time the $162 million could be much less or completely gone, depending on the results of Picard's clawback suits.
This is the worst day for a Picard since Captain Jean-Luc was taken by the Borg.
Much like Bobby Bonilla's contract, the days of reckoning for the Wilpons and Katz get pushed back a few years, enough time for the Wilpons and Katz to figure out what to do about the team's hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.
Attendance and TV ratings are likely to continue to fall as the team sinks into last place.
And payroll will fall even more, since the team won't have enough revenue. Even though it will be ownership's fault for not putting forth a good product, the fans will be blamed for not providing the revenue anyway.
In today's settlement, the trustee dropped the charge that the Wilpons and Katz were "willfully blind" to Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Willful blindness is a legal term that refers to the acts of
a person who intentionally fails to be informed about matters that
would make the person liable.
Met fans are now being asked to be willfully blind to the team's lack of hope. We are supposed to ignore the facts and believe that the current team is competitive. That the organization will have the resources to build a winner.
In fact, we are supposed to believe that the resources have always been there, since the Wilpons have consistently denied that the Madoff scandal had any effect on the team's finances. From ESPN: Katz said outside the courthouse that the Mets were on secure financial footing. "Always was," he said.
A team that just cut its payroll by an MLB record $50 million was, and continues to be, on secure financial footing.
Mets 2012: The Magic Is Back - as long as you're willfully blind.