An Open Letter to the New York Mets from True New Yorkers

by Mr. Met

To The New York Mets:

Recently, I and many other die-hard Mets fans received a letter imploring us to stand with our team.

You invoked the strength of the fan base in supporting championship clubs of the past, and asked us “to give today’s club the same chance we had.”

The implication underlying your statement however offends the sensibilities of thousands of impassioned Mets fans not only in New York but across the country.

My fellow fans and I continue to root for this team, in spite of a seemingly endless string of embarrassing and demoralizing on- and off-field developments. We continue to spend millions of dollars cumulatively each season on a team that has been mediocre for over five years. We continue to sacrifice hundreds of hours out of each year for this team.

But our dedication to the Mets has not been reciprocated by you, the owners; ownership has irreparably impaired its goodwill with the fans by being utterly derelict in its fiduciary duty to the team.

To wit:

  • Ownership and management have repeatedly lied about the fiscal condition of the team, perpetually promising “financial flexibility,” and the resources to field a winning team, directly contradicted by the facts:
    • Subsequent to the discovery of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme in December 2008 — in which the Mets’ majority owners were invested — the team’s payroll has declined from a high of ~$149mm in 2009 to ~$89mm in 2014 (down 40%), the lowest payroll in over a decade; the Mets rank in the bottom third in payroll of all Major League teams, while residing in baseball’s biggest market
    • The heavily indebted Mets have been forced to undertake a series of restructurings — encumbering their most valuable asset in their tv network, SNY — and an equity capital raise, while potentially subjecting themselves to restrictive financial covenants[1]
  • While consistently “moving the goal posts” with respect to success as defined by ownership and management, the Mets’ on-field performance has been poor:
    • Since 2008, the Mets have finished no higher than 3rd place, averaging 75 wins per season, while spending an average of $1.6mm per win (21% more than the MLB average over such time)[2]
    • Over the same period the team’s total WAR has averaged 11% below the MLB team average[3]

As a natural consequence of the Mets’ tangible and intangible failures, fan morale has declined, manifesting itself in a 9.3% annual decline in Citi Field attendance from its open in 2009 through 2013[4].

***

True New Yorkers demand accountability, excellence, and an unwavering commitment to achievement. True New Yorkers deserve an ownership that will compete with its cross-town rivals year in year out – that in fact wants to overtake their cross-town rivals during the 21st century.

Until you, the Mets owners turn over your reins to honest and credible stewards, with the resources, intellect and dedication necessary to win world championships each and every year, any success will be incidental, and you will never have the full support of the fan base.

We true New Yorkers deserve nothing less than an ownership equally as passionate and dedicated to this team as we are.

So we ask the New York Mets: Will you give us the same chance fans of the 1969 and 1986 New York Mets had?

 

__________________________

Note: Detailed presentation to come.

[1] We do not know the financial covenants to which the Mets are subjected, as the club’s debt documents are not public.

[2] Based on historical payroll data via USA Today.

[3] Based on historical cumulative team WAR via Fangraphs.

[4] Based on historical Mets stadium attendance via Baseball Almanac.

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