Tuesday might have been one of the biggest whirlwinds for Mets fans in history, and that’s saying something. Steve Cohen, who was already being viewed as Lord and Savior by this Mets fan, might have walked away from the table on the Wilpons.
Let’s look back at how we got here…
Around midday on Tuesday, KFC and Clem from Barstool Sports launched an emergency episode of their “We Gotta Believe” podcast to share they had been tipped off to the Cohen deal falling apart. I’m a big fan of these guys, KFC and Clem are as entertaining as it gets and are must-follows for any Mets fan. At the same time, they aren’t exactly Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney when it comes to breaking news. I was concerned by this revelation, but I was still skeptical. Maybe an overanxious stoolie was just stirring the pot? That was my hope at least.
As these rumors began to make their rounds, the Mets responded with a blanket PR statement.
When asked about the possibility of Steve Cohen backing out of his deal to purchase a majority of the New York Mets, the team said in a statement: “The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual non-disclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment.”— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 4, 2020
Right away that signaled to me that something was going on. There's no reason for the Mets to even acknowledge a Twitter rumor if everything is fine and dandy. After all, there are a million and one Twitter rumors that break out daily involving the Mets. Why would you pick out this one of all things to suddenly respond to like this? Somethings up…
We'll see... pic.twitter.com/4TramrhNAr— The 7 Line (@The7Line) February 4, 2020
Then the New York Post piggybacked off the Barstool report with further information of their own, citing that the Cohen deal is “on life support.” Their sources would add: “Cohen is deeply unhappy with the Wilpons changing the terms of the deal at a very late stage and has decided to walk away.”
The exact terms of the last-minute changes remain rather vague at this time. The Wilpons involvement with the franchise beyond the original five-year departure agreement and ownership of SNY appear to be what most reports have focused on. Whatever it is, Cohen took his billions and went home.
Welp, that’s it. I guess the deal is dead and the rug has been ripped out from beneath us.
Jon Heyman came over the top with a report of his own, explaining that Cohen is still hopeful conversations will reboot.
Back to the Mets. Hear Stevie Cohen walked away when he felt the deal changed late. Word is, he hopes Mets call back though. So wouldn’t call the deal totally dead yet.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 5, 2020
To me, this all points to Cohen being the shrewd businessman he is while using the media to leverage what he wants. This is a big deal, in more ways than one. There is A LOT of money involved and there are undoubtedly a lot of moving pieces involved. These things don't get done overnight and I would imagine these sorts of things happen all the time in deals of this magnitude. It’s a give-and-take situation for both sides, and Cohen wasn’t ready to give anymore.
If I’m Steve Cohen (I’m only a few billion short of it), I’d leak the hell out of the Wilpons being a pain in the ass to reinforce the public notion that everyone wants them out and Cohen in.— Tim Reilly (@LifeOfTimReilly) February 5, 2020
...convincing myself this is the truth.
Lost in all of today's commotion was the report that Cohen was already planning a gala on Opening Day to formally announce and celebrate buying a majority stake in the Mets. This isn't a guy who wanted to conduct a standard press conference, he wanted to brag about his new toy to his billionaire friends while being surrounded by his art worth billions. Cohen had his eyes set on the Mets, and that doesn't go away this quickly.
Wilpons are set to make a great return on investment here. Makes too much sense on both sides of the table to not get it done.— The 7 Line (@The7Line) February 5, 2020
Only time will tell if this was Cohen’s way of trying to use the media to nudge the Wilpons to pick up the phone again. It's a smooth move by him if that's the case. If not, this is what the Mets offseason will have looked like:
That’s as crazy of a rollercoaster ride as I can ever recall the Mets having in an offseason. Buckle up, Mets fans, this ride is far from over…
I know I’m all over the place on this but reading this reminds me just how much Steve likely wants this asset. He’s 63 and not getting younger and lost out on the dodgers. Mets are obviously what he prefers. Until it’s officially dead, I’m holding out hope https://t.co/LW20Jo0JTS— NL ROY Pet(e) Alonso broke a lot of records! (@EDSdt1234) February 5, 2020