Steve Cohen has always been a one-person show. The bully, the elephant in the room – it’s always worked for him. Until now, the owners are his boss.
Can Steve Cohen see the proverbial writing on the wall? Does he understand he is persona non grata in the exclusive club of major league team owners – and that it doesn’t matter how much money he throws at Fred Wilpon and the Mets – it’ll never buy him, love?
It’s not that Steve Cohen gives a hoot about receiving love from anyone. His love is not equal to the love he takes and never has been.
Cohen’s business legacy is littered with questionable tactics, one of which was reviewed by the Feds for two years.
They found smoke, but not the fire, and Cohen escaped with a damaged reputation and some hefty fines.
Steve Cohen: No Fire But Unable To Elude The Smoke
It’s that reputation that’s followed and haunted Steve Cohen. In 2011, Cohen launched his first attempt to by an MLB team. As with the Mets, his money talked to make him the highest bidder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Alas, Cohen could not convince the required seventy-five percent of his would-be peers to ratify the purchase. All he could do is stand by as MLB organized itself to adopt the respected Guggenheim (of the museum) family to buy the team.
Mets Sale: D-Day Arrives On August 31
On August 31, final bids from all prospective Mets buyers are due. Reports are everywhere, indicating that Alex Rodriguez and Company are roaring back and now prepared to make a competitive bid to buy the team.
The trick is to make it at least to the plateau of $2 billion; the amount MLB has unofficially established as the minimum they will allow before the Mets are sold.
The J-Rod team, as Rodriguez and fiance Jennifer Lopez are affectionately known, has reached that level, and the “Anybody But Steve Cohen” campaign is in full swing.
Given Alex Rodriguez’s one-year suspension from baseball for whatever he did during the Steroid Era, it’s MLB doing a one-eighty if reports remain true that A-Rod will be swept in by the owners.
When pitted against much despised (in New York) Fred Wilpon and the risk of the known and unknown with Steve Cohen, A-Rod, and J-Lo look like angels descending from heaven to rescue a team badly in need of a cultural revolution.
On another level, though, that goes to show how deep the resentment toward Steve Cohen is.
***The push for Rodriguez and Lopez received another bump today when noted civil rights activist Al Sharpton published a letter that was reported on by the New York Daily News.
In an attempt to get the ear of MLB and their efforts to absorb minorities into powerful positions, Sharpton noted:
“The decision on who should earn the right to buy one of New York’s most treasured cultural institutions — the Mets — represents a significant opportunity for Major League Baseball to take a strong public stand in favor of racial equity by ensuring the team’s new owners are people of color.” Obviously, Rodriguez and Lopez fit that bill.
Steve Cohen: All Bets Are Off
Another group led by Devils and 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer remain in the picture. But J-Rod has added Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola and Vitamin Water co-founder Mike Repole to boost their funding. (New York Post)
Steve Cohen, unless he chooses to opt-out of the bidding (not likely), will put his deep pockets to work, once again butchering all other bids.
In turn, this is likely to endear him to Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, the current principal owners of the Mets.
The Mets are roiling in debt, and they need to get as much as they can from the sale to appease their many creditors.
Major League Baseball rules permit teams to borrow money from the league.
Over the years, the Mets have been one of the biggest indulgers of the privilege, reaching a point where MLB put a halt on any future borrowing until existing loans were satisfied.
Thus, it’s a far cry into the night if Wilpon believes he has any juice left to sway MLB towards Cohen,
This is relevant, though, because it could be another source of investment money for the J-Rod team to explore as a way of augmenting their final bid.
Cohen Shoots Himself In The Foot – Again!
In any event, Steve Cohen is no longer a one-person show, no matter what he does and how much he offers as an inflated price to buy the Mets, who are currently sixth in MLB team value ($2.4 billion by Forbes).
Add to the mix are reports from at least three women accusing Steve Cohen of workplace discrimination and misogyny, as the forces working against Cohen continue to rise. (A full account can be found here)
While Mets fans are more inclined to jump on the “Anybody But Fred Wilpon” bandwagon, the facts are this is a business transaction of epic proportions when you consider the last sale of a major league ballclub in New York City belonged to Wilpon.
Initially energized by the prospect of Steve Cohen as the next coming of George Steinbrenner with a pocketful of cash to spend on players, the glow is fading.
If anything, at this point, Mets fans should be sobering to the real possibility of a (former) New York Yankee controlling baseball operations.
Much like Derek Jeter in Miami, Alez Rodriguez must also be sobered by the fact that he will be installed as the President of Baseball Operations, and all monetary decisions will need to be run through Vincent Viola.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. The race, for now, leads only to August 31, and the subsequent vote by MLB team owners to approve the sale – and answering that intriguing question – can money buy Steve Cohen, love?