The Mets, Bernie Madoff, And The 'Vig'

A general view of the New York Mets locker room in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

In which the Mets get an offer they can't refuse.

Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are being sued by a court-appointed trustee for those who lost money in the Bernie Madoff scandal; the accusation is, according to the New York Times:

The trustee, Irving H. Picard, asserts that Katz and Wilpon took out bank loans just to invest the borrowed money with Madoff, confident that their returns would be better than the interest on the loan.

The Times article says that could compare to "vig", or "vigorish":

... a gambling term, meaning the money a bookmaker collects on every bet taken, regardless of the outcome — a kind of dependable handling fee.

In a deposition of Saul Katz's son David taken in 2010, this term even confused one of the lawyers asking David Katz questions:

The lawyer deposing Katz, according to a transcript of the proceeding, briefly appeared confused by the term.

"You’d make a vague?" the lawyer asked.

Katz said, "Vig, vig, vigorish."

"Oh, vig, as in v-i. ...," the lawyer responded.

Katz said: "Oh, don’t even ask. Sorry."

This is all starting to sound like one of the Godfather films. Speaking of which, what if Mets players had to do something like this to get back in good stead with their manager or GM?

Johan Santana: [discussing his problems] I don't know what to do, Godfather. My arm is weak, but it's getting stronger. Anyway, if I got back in the rotation, it puts me right back on top, you know. But this... this man out there. He won't give it to me, the head of the team.
Don Corleone: What's his name?
Johan Santana: Alderson. He said there's no chance, no chance...
[Meanwhile, Terry Collins finds R.A. Dickey and summons him]
Johan Santana: A month ago he signed this guy Batista, a veteran pitcher. But the main pitcher should be a guy just like me. I wouldn't even have to act, just be myself. Oh, Godfather, I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do...
[All of a sudden, Don Corleone rises from his chair and gives Santana a savage shake]
Don Corleone: YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN!
[gives a quick slap to Santana]
Don Corleone: What's the matter with you? Is this what you've become, a baseball finocchio who cries like a woman? "Oh, what do I do? What do I do?" What is that nonsense? Ridiculous!
[the Don's unexpected mimicry makes Collins and even Santana laugh; around this time Dickey comes in]
Don Corleone: Tell me, do you spend time with your teammates?
Johan Santana: Sure I do.
Don Corleone: Good. Because a man who doesn't spend time with his teammates can never be a real man.
[gives a quick look at Dickey and affectionately embraces Santana]
Don Corleone: You look terrible. I want you to eat, I want you to rest well. And a month from now this general manager's gonna give you what you want.
Johnny Fontane: Too late. They start spring training in a week.
Don Corleone: I'm gonna make him an offer he won't refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party.

Will Johan get his job back? Will the Mets owners have to sell the team to help pay off people that were defrauded by Bernie Madoff? Will the Mets ever be able to climb back to the top of the NL East? Tune in tomorrow for another episode of "As Citi Field Turns".

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