Biggest Anti-Hero in Baseball? The New York Mets and Their Owner
Yesterday, Major League Baseball, and its Players Association, finally ended their 99-day stand-off, and voted to ratify a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It was the end of months of posturing, bad blood, arguments, threats, and a number of other ugly behaviors that slowly ate away at the fanbase of America's pastime. At the end of the day, however, both sides were able to meet somewhere in the middle, and sign on the dotted line. Players were immediately allowed to report to spring training, and free agents were immediately allowed to sign with new teams.
Meanwhile, certain members of the New York Mets continued to voice their frustrations with Major League Baseball, and the tactics used in negotiating the new CBA. Between the star-power on the field, and the aggressive way of spending by owner Steve Cohen, the Metros are beginning to resemble something that the superhero genre knows all too well.
The Mets are, in fact, becoming anti-heroes.
Now, let me clarify: the Mets aren't villains, necessarily. The most vocal members of the organization, namely Cohen, Max Scherzer and Francisco Lindor, have been fighting on the side of the players, and consequently, most of the fans.
Here is what Scherzer had to say about the lockout:
Meanwhile, here is what Lindor put out to the public:
That all being said, the Mets aren't simply heroes, either.
Take their payroll, for example. The New York Mets are currently spending $265 million on their baseball team, in a league that has a luxury tax threshold of $232 million. They have certainly been the most active participants in free agency in each of the last few seasons, and have added star power in multiple different positions.
It's a foregone conclusion that the New York Mets will be over the luxury tax threshold, and will be paying a tax back to the league because of their spending. That tax threshold has been given a new nickname, as a matter of fact.
It's called "the Steve Cohen tax".
You read that right, the Mets spend so much money, that an entire tax bracket is named after their owner. What a world we live in.
Now, if you haven't heard any of the stories about Steve Cohen's lifestyle, then allow me to enlighten you. A hedge fund founder and operator, Cohen is worth almost three times as much as the next richest owner in baseball, and has not made it a secret that he wants to win right away.
Not only that, but Cohen takes things personally, both in business, and in baseball. Check out what the Fansided Mets' blog, Rising Apple, had to say about other teams dealing with Steve Cohen:
"The more other owners push against Cohen and his ways, the more we should hope he takes it personally. You better believe when those teams target a free agent in the future or need a vote in their favor, Cohen will look at his list." - Rising Apple
And yet, Cohen is also on the side of the players, and the fans. Check out this tweet that he liked earlier this week:
To bring all of this together, the New York Mets are not baseball's villains, but they're far from baseball's heroes. They're a mix of the two; an anti-hero. Their most vocal personalities have fought for the game of baseball when it's mattered most. They have also, however, voted against the new CBA, and have spent millions more on their roster than the next closest team.
They'll be easy to root for if you're a Mets fan, and easy to root against for the rest of the league. No matter what, we're in for a lot of fun.