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Real victims: Mets faithful followers

So much for being lovable losers. Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said yesterday the team’s owners are the real victims in the whole Bernie Madoff mess.

So much for being lovable losers. Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said yesterday the team’s owners are the real victims in the whole Bernie Madoff mess.

“This is all obviously a little bit of a distraction, and I feel really bad for our family and bad for my dad [Fred] and my uncle because this is just unfounded criticism on them,”?Wilpon said at the team’s training complex in Florida.

Wilpon also said the family will maintain majority ownership of the team despite staring at a $1 billion lawsuit by a former trustee. The declaration comes after the announcement late last month that they were contemplating selling 20 to 25 percent of the team to finance any settlement.

“We’re not selling controlling interest in the team,” Wilpon said. “It’s not on the table.”

Perhaps we’ll never truly know if the Wilpon family was swindled or did the swindling in the Ponzi scheme. One thing is for certain, though, Mets fans have been terrorized by bad investments for the better part of a decade. They are the true victims.

Bad investments

Omar Minaya, hired as general manager after the 2004 season.
The scheme: Fred Wilpon was apparently impressed by Minaya’s past moves with the Montreal Expos, including trading prospects Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore for a hefty Bartolo Colon. He was expected to bring big names to New York.
The real return: Minaya had a disastrous six-year run despite having one of baseball’s most expensive payrolls. The Wilpons stuck by their GM even when clubhouse fights erupted and top free agents looked at the team as a laughing stock.

Francisco Rodriguez, signed to a three-year, $37 million deal in December 2008.
The scheme: The Mets claimed they were just one player away from being a title contender. That player, in their eyes, was a guy who just threw his arm out recording 62 saves.
The real return: K-Rod’s slider has all but disappeared and at times so have his brains. He fought his girlfriend’s father outside the Mets clubhouse, which he apologized for yesterday.

Oliver Perez, signed to a three-year, $36 million deal in February 2009.
The scheme: They needed another big arm behind Johan Santana. Rather than go after a big free agent like the Phillies or Yankees, they re-signed the MLB leader in walks.
The real return: Largely considered the worst contract in team history, Perez has battled injuries and was relegated to the bullpen shortly after signing the deal. He went 0-5 last season.

Jason Bay, signed to a four-year, $66 million deal win December 2009.
The scheme: OK, so they needed one more player to truly be a title contender. Forget the fact that player was a pull power hitter and Citi Field had nightmarish dimensions.
The real return: Bay was more than bothered by the cavernous ballpark. He smashed 24 of his 36 homers to left field in 2009 but just one of a whopping six bombs to left in 2010.

Jose Reyes, signed four-year, $23 million deal in 2006.
The scheme: The young shortstop had all the potential in the world and this deal was a bargain to keep the core of their future in tact.
The real return: It’s not that this was a bad deal, it’s that the Mets stunted his growth by surrounding him with losers in the clubhouse.

 
 
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