CitiField Shark Tank? Mark Cuban, Bill Maher and Fred Wilpon Huddle

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Timely Prevarication?

QUEENS, NYSo, I drop the kids off at school on Monday morning, and my cell rings as I leave the parking lot. It’s my old buddy Hank Goldberg. He’s in town from Boca and ready to have some fun. He has an offer he says, that I can’t refuse. ESPN  has provided him with full press access so that he can interview some Baseball types to handicap the Over/Under Win totals for each team as the MLB season begins.  Just for the record – the Mets are sitting there at 74. (I’m betting the Under)

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Hank tells me he’s on his way to CitiField for the Mets’ Opening Day game vs. the Washington Nationals.  Says he not only has press passes, but an invitation from Saul Katz (Fred Wilpon’s Brother-In-Law and Mets Co-owner). You probably know him better as Madoff co-conspirator Saul Katz,” largely his contributions to the team he helped to destroy. Saul’s invitation is to join him in the Owner’s Suite, so Hank could talk to Mets executives about his story. Furhter, Saul would like to explain why this is a different chapter in the Twilight saga that is the Age of Wilpon.

bill-maher jeff wilpon-1So, I meet Hank in the Craig Swan Entrance, where the sellout crowd of 19,000 is entering the stadium with snow falling heavily outside.  We make our way to the owner’s suite and we’re among the first guests there.  We receive news that Daniel Murphy is on his way to Florida to be with his wife, who goes into labor very early Monday morning.  Chris Young,  to whom  GM Sandy Alderson handed more than $7M bucks, is also absent from the Opening Day lineup after “tweaking” his hammy.

I try not to be totally star struck a short while later when none other than Mets minority owner, Bill Maher, walks into the suite.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a couple of other familiar faces, and suddenly I’m in the middle of Shark Tank Monday” at CitiField. Dallas Mavericks owner and Broadcast.com founder and billionaire Mark Cuban is in the suite and with him, fellow shark-tanker Barbara Corcoran, the Real Estate impresario.

So, I’m sipping a Fresca and watching the confident movements of Maher, Corcoran and Cuban as they work the room with grace and aplomb. A short while later, as the tarp is being removed from the infield – a good sign that Baseball will be played soon – Maher walks Cuban and Corcoran to the corner and makes what appears to be formal introductions of his guests to someone else. Bill Maher and Terry CollinsWhen I look more closely, I see that Maher is chatting up both Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, and that he is enthusiastically introducing the Shark Tankers to Mets ownership.

A short time later, Jay Horwitz is seen escorting this group to an anteroom, where the doors are quickly closed and locked. It’s the 4th inning before this group emerges from their “meeting.” Not sure what would have compelled such a meeting, but Cuban left the Suite with a big smile, uttering something about  “Bud” screwing him a couple of years ago when the Ricketts family was awarded the Chicago Cubs despite being vastly out-bid by Cuban.  Corcoran, for her part, dropped something about shopping centers being built across the street in the junk yards. And lastly Maher walked out cool as a cucumber and laughing while telling Cuban that “Mr. Met would be part of any deal.” Hank guarantees that this meeting was not a social meeting-and that talk of selling the team has heated up in the past few months.

013111_mr_metThe game itself got off to an exciting start. Downtown Andrew Brown smoked a shot to left center for a 3 run homer that quickly propelled the Mets to a 3-0 lead that would later grow to 4-2. Unfortunately, nominal closer Bobby Parnell was not up to the task of putting away a guy with two strikes on him, who hit .158 last year. Parnell walked him (Danny Espinosa) and subsequently blew the lead and blew the temporary good vibes that the Mets had going for about 8 innings. Same old Mets.

But Same Old Ownership? Not from what I saw yesterday. Could be some big big news coming soon! A new month and new beginnings? Only in New York, kids… Only in New York.

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Big Al Sternberg/Fake Sandy Alderson is from a not-so-nice part of Queens. But through grit and elbow-grease finds himself living on Long Island with his bride and twin 12-year-old sons. He is a sports encyclopedia... and a loose cannon. In fact, Michael Baron of Metsblog.com blocked him on Twitter. You can find The Blocked One's Tweets here: @AldersonFake

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