In the days leading up to the Major League Baseball team owners’ meeting to approve Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets from the Wilpon family, a new wrinkle seemed to arise. Fans were not worried so much about whether Cohen would get the blessing from the fraternity he wanted to join as much as they were about Mayor de Blasio putting a kibosh on things.
Citi Field sits on land owned by the New York City Parks Department and therefore the Mayor’s Office said it had a say in the Mets ownership change. De Blasio was both cagey and cryptic about whether he’d sign off on the deal.
He has never enjoyed high approval ratings in spite of easily winning election in 2013 and 2017 and it sure wasn’t increasing based on the calls to sports talk radio last week. Last Wednesday, New York Post sports columnist Mike Vaccaro sounded as if he switched places with that paper’s chief political scribe, Michael Goodwin, as he dumped all over de Blasio.
I can understand why de Blasio kept a poker face. It is rare for a progressive politician to ever have leverage over a billionaire and so one can’t fault him for wanting to have a little fun making Cohen squirm a bit. Of course the mayor knew there was no political upside in stopping the sale and he gave his OK as soon as the owners did.
Cohen was cognizant of the mistakes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made when he announced his ill-fated plan to build a second headquarters for his behemoth corporation in Long Island City. Whether or not you supported the Amazon project, there is no argument Bezos took a “my way or the highway” attitude with local politicians. While Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the most recognizable face resisting the Amazon project, state Sen. Jessica Ramos was just as influential in deterring it.
Citi Field is located in Ramos’ district. Cohen probably wasn’t surprised but also couldn’t have been happy to read her July 17 remark on Twitter in which she stated her opposition to Cohen becoming the new Mets owner.
As soon as he was approved, Cohen announced he would provide $17.5 million to neighborhood businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Ramos has not commented yet about the sale going through. My guess is Cohen spoke with her before last week.
Four owners voted against Cohen, with the most vocal being White Sox CEO Jerry Reinsdorf. There may have been some concern about a hedge fund billionaire who has run afoul in the past of the Securities & Exchange Commission but the bigger fear had to have been Cohen overbidding for free agents, which would increase player compensation.
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I knew Justin Turner fairly well from his days with the Mets. He is an upbeat guy to be around and has always been a popular teammate. Nonetheless his decision to go on the field to pose for a team picture with his fellow Dodgers after testing positive for COVID-19, and without wearing a mask no less, is indefensible.
Turner will likely be fined and face a suspension by Major League Baseball. He also surely lost some lucrative endorsement deals in the LA market.
Life and style
It is always news when McDonald’s expands its menu, and the big chain see bakery pastries as a way of attracting new customers. Last week it debuted cinnamon rolls, apple fritters and blueberry muffins as a food complement to McCafe beverages. Although McDonald’s expects most of the pastry sales to occur during mornings, they will be available all day.
I am happy to report that the pastries tasted like they came fresh out of a local bakery as opposed to a mass-producing factory.
One of the concerns for everyone who waited on long lines for early voting was restroom issues. This has also long been a worry for anyone who has ever enjoyed tailgating in a stadium parking lot.
A company called TP Kits is producing individual packets of toilet paper and biodegradable sanitizing wipes that can be utilized when nature calls and a public bathroom does not, shall we say, provide all of the necessary accoutrements.