After a purchase by Kansas City Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur fell through due to Francoeur’s inability to determine where the lines for his signature were, New York Mets owners the Wilpon family have agreed to sell a majority stake in the team immediately to New York Yankees co-owner and Senior Vice President Henry G. “Hank” Steinbrenner. Terms were undisclosed but were expected to be in excess of $550 million.
Steinbrenner will not give up his stake in the Yankees or his title of Vice President. This would be a violation of numerous Major League Baseball rules, but according to Commissioner Bud Selig, “What the Hell.”
In a press conference Steinbrenner promised that he would be a “hands-off owner” who would run the Mets “The way my old man taught me”. This includes:
- Manager Terry Collins will be promoted to executive assistant general manager after the season and replaced by first base coach Mookie Wilson.
- Pitching coach Dan Warthen will immediately switch jobs with bullpen coach Jon Debus.
- Complaining that two-year-old Citi Field was “hopelessly outdated”, Steinbrenner announced he had opened discussions with groups in New Jersey and Long Island.
- The numbers of former Mets Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Wally Backman, Tim Teufel, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, and Rafael Santana will be retired in monthly ceremonies throughout the season.
- Losses to the Yankees in interleague play will be “unacceptable” and result in firings of “anyone who can be blamed”.
- Reporters will no longer be allowed access to the clubhouse without written notes from Steinbrenner.
- Steinbrenner said that General Manager Sandy Alderson is “totally in charge” of all on-field decisions.
- Steinbrenner stated that the team will now be re-built around speed, as baseball is entering an era where the stolen base will be preeminent.