For a few years it seems as if Fred Wilpon, a real-estate guru, was more focused on the building of Citi Field rather than the team on the diamond. Wilpon, a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, built an Ebbets Field homage to his old team with the stadium design. Originally there was hardly any Mets artwork or memorabilia in the stadium, symbolic of how Wilpon routinely forgets about the Mets and their loyal fans. When it comes to the actual real estate of the field, Wilpon even messed that up. He took Shea Stadium’s dimensions (a pitcher’s park) and pushed back and raised the fences. You’d think that a real estate mogul could at least hit that one out of the park, right? Well, neither can the expensive Jason Bay.
Wilpon was blind to the fact that Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya were working in ways to save their necks. Minaya desperately signed Bay to plug in the hole in left field. Hindsight is 20/20 on Bay, but it should be noted that the savvy Theo Epstein wanted no more of Bay in Boston. To make matters worse last season, Manuel begged for the young Jenrry Mejia to make the team as a reliever. The Wilpons should have stopped them right then and there.
Cue in the bright lights as David Einhorn steps into the Owner’s Box. Einhorn is a Cornell graduate and the President of Greenlight Capital, a hedge fund known for short selling stock. Maybe he can turn this practice into profits in Flushing, before the whole team goes down the drain with the Wilpons.
It’s easy to see another organization that is getting some help from Wall Street. Take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays, who have gone to the playoffs in two of the last three years despite having a very low payroll. Stuart Sternberg bought a piece of the franchise in 2004, and with the help of fellow Goldman Sachs employee Matthew Silverman, took full control over the organization a year later. Using their Wall Street wits, they turned perennial losers into heavy hitters in a loaded American League East division by changing all that was wrong with the team. It’s possible Einhorn has the same moxy.