Baseball has a standard line of credit teams can access to cover short term cash flow issues. But as the article points out, the Mets exhausted the limits of that, and Bud Selig apparently authorized additional funds for them without telling anyone. Does that strike anyone else as really crazy? After we just found out that Selig has basically signed Frank McCourt’s ownership death warrant (rightly, for what that’s worth) we’re also finding out that the commissioner is taking extraordinary steps to preserve his friend’s ownership of one of baseball’s most valuable franchises after they were embroiled in one of the most famous cases of criminal fraud in American history?
I suppose at the end of the day I don’t really care about this. The fortunes and travails of Frank McCourt and Fred Wilpon really aren’t important to me in any meaningful way, except in so much as I watch them as a baseball story and occasionally write about the developments. But really, on a personal level, there’s no real reason for me to care about who owns any team other than the Yankees. But on the other hand, this shows just how much arbitrary and capricious power the commissioner of baseball can exercise from time to time.
Ultimately though, I think the Times probably overestimates the degree to which the other owners will really be outraged by this. For better or worse, in most cases Selig has acted to preserve the interests of incumbent owners, and that obviously endears him to the owners to some degree. The McCourt situation isn’t much more than the exception that proves the rule, as Selig is in many ways protecting the franchise from the desperate gambit of a broke owner. It’s not pretty, but it is what it is, and given how much money has been made by everyone on Selig’s watch, I don’t really expect it to change anytime soon.
For better or worse, in Bud we trust.