The Mets finally won something that could be a huge positive for the franchise’s future on the next to last day of a very disappointing 2011 baseball season.
While not a total victory, the news that a bankruptcy judge dismissed most of a lawsuit filed by the trustee for the victims of Bernie’s Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is a huge relief for the Mets owners and for the franchise. There are conflicting reports about the impact of the judge’s decision, but one story indicates that the Mets owners, even if they ultimately lose the case, will only have to pay at most $400 million, a far cry from the $1 billion trustee Irving Picard was seeking. If that’s true, perhaps most of the pressure on the Mets to look for potential investors for their baseball team will be lifted. But the Mets are not completely off the hook, according to the reports, as the ruling seems to indicate that Picard can still go after that $1 billion, although the judge’s decision significantly raised the bar that he will have to overcome to show that Fred Wilpon & Co intentionally ignored the signs of Madoff’s fraud.
The saga may not even make it to trial, with the media reports indicating that a settlement could be more likely right now, a settlement that would be more tilted in the Mets’ favor than before the judge’s decision. Hopefully, the Mets and Picard can now come to a quick settlement, one that will allow the Mets to take care of business in the offseason, namely re-signing shortstop Jose Reyes and building a team that can compete with the rest of the National League, not to mention their cross-town rival New York Yankees, who are heading for yet another postseason.
After a 2011 baseball season devoid of good news, the Mets have finally emerged with a victory when they needed it the most. Perhaps the worst of this hellish nightmare for their fans, players and other employees is finally behind them. Or perhaps this is just win #1 in a long season of litigation.