Mets fans can be forgiven for not releasing the euphoria of being rid of the Wilpons quite yet. Beware though; good fortune comes with strings attached…
Mets fans have every reason to be delirious in knowing the Wilpons are exiled from Metland, and that a free-spending billionaire is coming on board to take their place.
But before we get too giddy about Steve Cohen and visions of expensive free-agents dancing in our head, let’s sober up to understand a few things about Steve Cohen’s character that will shape the Mets organization for decades to come.
Two peas from the same pod
Everything about Steve Cohen translates perfectly to George Steinbrenner, the Yankees former principal owner known for his brashness, oversized ego, free-spending ways, and the win at all cost – take no prisoners – stamp he etched on the Yankees.
Like Steinbrenner, Steve Cohen is a self-made man who has more money than he knows what to do with. Check that – Cohen loves his extravagant toys.
Cohen spent a reported $8-12 million on a shark suspended in formaldehyde titled “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.” He paid $155 million on a Picasso painting that Las Vegas tycoon Steve Wynn accidentally put his elbow through.
Cohen’s mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, has a 6,734 sq.ft. Ice skating rink, complete with a Zamboni and its own storage cottage.
Cohen’s art collection valued at $1.3 billion alone is enough to sign The Big Three free-agents – Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendon – with still enough to sprinkle in Dellin Betances, Dallas Keuchel, and the Wilpon’s big splash of yesterday, center fielder Jake Marisnick.
The Mets – Steve Cohen’s new toy
You get the idea. Now, Steve Cohen has a new toy – the New York Mets. The Mets happen to be the team Cohen grew up loving along with his family on Long Island. As soon as he could, Cohen bought a small 4% share in the Mets.
In a time much less than the five years being reported, Steve Cohen will own 80% of the New York Mets. With each infusion of cash, he can muster up gradual control of the Mets – and he is not one to work slowly on anything.
In 2017, Cohen was almost brought to his knees as federal investigators looked for and found grand schemes of insider trading within his hedge funds.
Cohen was never charged but suffered regulatory pushback over the charges, which resulted in $1.8 billion in fines following an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2016. Three years later, here he is buying the Mets.
It’s no coincidence George Steinbrenner had his brushes with the law. And it will be no coincidence either when Steve Cohen looks and acts like Steinbrenner in everything he does as the Mets principal owner.
He will hire and fire at will. No one will be safe from his tyranny – or goodwill – depending on whose side you appear to be on any given day.
Steve Cohen – Here, There, and Everywhere
Steve Cohen will be everywhere, playing with the Mets as his new toy. He will dominate New York Newspapers and talk radio. We’ll see him at every game in his owner’s box, as well as at road games for critical games.
We’ll see him in the clubhouse congratulating or cajoling players at will – a la George Steinbrenner in his heyday.
And we’ll see Cohen in constant “communication” with his General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen. Conversations, which for the most part, will be one-sided with Van Wagenen doing a lot of nodding.
From there, it will be up to Van Wagenen to decipher between Cohen when he is venting and Cohen when he means, “Get this done – or else.” On this, Van Wagenen may want to pal up with Aaron Boone and Joe Torre for advice on handling an alpha personality.
Self-made men like Cohen and Steinbrenner are unique by definition. They are who they are, and they don’t change. We have another of the same brand living in the White House.
Mets Fans: This will be an adventure
Now look, this is not to put a damper on the euphoria we all feel as Mets fans in ridding the team of the Wilpons. Without a doubt, the Mets are in better hands and circumstances than they were a week ago.
But we need to understand we are trading in a couple of pussycats for a lion. Steve Cohen does not run a family business – he is the business.
Free spending, he will be. In return, however, Cohen will be hands-on, brash, and belligerent at times. We probably won’t “like” him, but we will always respect the fact he is doing everything he can to put a winning team on the field at all times – a la Mr. Steinbrenner.
One thing we can be sure of is the Mets will never be the same. Let the adventure begin.