With a judge determining that New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon must pay as much as $83.3 million — and possibly $303 million more — to a trust recovering money from Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, team management is struggling to come up with ways to fill the massive financial gap.
"There have been many internal discussions about how to make that kind of money," said a front office source. "Despite how awful the team is, we had 2.3 million paying customers last year. If we get all of them to pay just $1,000 into a Ponzi scheme, we can make back the Madoff money and much more."
Management has also considered running a low-budget, talentless team out onto the field, knowing that some fans will still pay for tickets. Sales of cheap, poorly made merchandise marked up several hundred percent has also been considered.
"But we have tried forms of all that in the past," said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. "It may be time to try something new and bold."
Looking to the models of team rivals such as the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets say they are openly considering the idea of having a good baseball team that wins games and makes money through an increase in ticket and merchandise revenues.
"Believe it or not, the good baseball scheme works," said Fred Wilpon. "The Yankees and Phillies make money. Not Ponzi scheme money, but still real cash. The only problem is: how does one go about creating a good baseball team? I have no idea — and no one on my staff has any idea. But I bet it probably starts with reacquiring Oliver Perez and going from there. That guy has real talent."