We keep waiting. At this rate, it might be a long time.
Today, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the 2013 All-Star Game will be held at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Joining Selig for the announcement, which was held at City Hall, was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mets owner (and Selig confidant) Fred Wilpon. All three were all smiles.
This news should not shock one person. I don’t say that because of the fact there has been some stirring of this news for a while now. I say it because of the friendship of Selig and Wilpon. Before I go any further here, I have no ax to grind with Wilpon or anyone that’s associated with them as far as past players, current players and any writers out there.
Well, maybe Bud Harrelson…
Here’s some things to note.
The last time an All-Star Game was in the Big Apple, it was 2008 at Old Yankee Stadium. The festivities that surrounded the ASG generated over $148 million in revenue to the NYC area. During today’s announcement, Bloomberg estimated that the 2013 festivities could infuse NYC with over $191 million. By contrast, this year’s ASG to be held in Kansas City is expected to inject $60 million into the KC metro area.
Talk about standard of living.
So, back to Bud and Fred. This is all a little odd to me.
Recall some time back when the Mets ownership was drawing the ire of many? Seems like they may have been a little caught up in Bernie Madoff’s doings. While nothing of such has ever been stated, at one time, the trustee for the Madoff case was wanting the Mets owners to fork over a huge chunk of change. At one time, that amount was a billion dollars. Instead, Wilpon and company recently settled for $162 million after an initial payback of some $83 million.
What’s the line used in almost every crime drama? Follow the money. That’s the road I’m going here.
You see, Wilpon needed a means to recoup some of those “funds” he will lose or has already lost. Selig provided such a vehicle. It may not be on the scale of recovering all the losses, but hey, at this point, a few million here and there will do.
I can imagine the conversation that happened a couple of years ago…
Bud Selig (BS – how appropriate): Fred, it’s Bud. You know, I was thinking about something last evening. Wanna run it by you.
Fred Wilpon (FW): What’s on your mind?
BS: I know you got that trustee wanted a crap load of cash from you. I think we can help each other out here. I need a place for my 2013 All-Star Game. I think Citi Field would do the trick.
FW: Why would I want that? I got enough on my plate at the moment.
BS: Hear me out, Fred. If Citi Field were to host my game in 2013, you could make a few more bucks. You might be needing those funds on down the line. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
FW: More money? Keep talking.
BS: So, the 2013 All-Star Game will be at Citi Field and you make money. What are you getting here?
FW: I got it alright. So, I take it all you want me to do is say yes?
BS: It won’t be that simple. Gotta make you work for it.
FW: What’s that supposed to mean?
BS: I know your ballpark is new and all, but there’s a couple of things I still don’t like about it. If I let you host my game, I need a favor in return. I need some changes made.
FW: What kind of changes? You’re not going to make me take the big apple out, are you?
BS: Heck no! Love that thing. Baseball is a game where fans like to see runs score. Your new park isn’t exactly hitter-friendly. Bring those fences in.
FW: IS that all?
BS: yes. Wait! No, it isn’t. The part about fans wanting to see a lot of runs is true, but they also like to see outfielders rob a home run every now and then. Can’t happen with that wall you got in left field. Lower it to about eight feet so outfielders got a shot. Heck. The fans like those web gems almost as much as homers.
FW: I think I can do that. But won’t this set me back some money?
BS: Don’t worry, Fred. Got that all figured out for you already. Picnic area, Fred. Picnic area. More seats to sell. More people in your park means more money.
FW: More money. I might break even on this deal yet. I could be a winner after all. Sure, Bud. I’ll host your game.
Bud? You there?
As I was Googling some facts from the Madoff scheme, I also saw an alert for a great piece by C. Trent Rosecrans on CBSSports.com. His last paragraph may provide a little insight on the next time we could see an All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
"Hosting the game isn’t always about what team hasn’t had it in a long time, there are other factors and those will come to play, but it seems the Marlins are the favorite for 2015 and the Twins for 2016. Another one to keep in mind, 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of professional baseball and would be a perfect fit for the Reds, who haven’t hosted an All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park and owner Bob Castellini is desperate to land the game."
2019 seems like a long time off, C. Trent, but your premise makes complete sense to me.