J-ROD as the royal couple of Flushing? Embrace the potential thrill ride, Mets fans.
Just root for some guardrails.
Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez seem to be putting together a legitimate bid to buy the Mets, baseball’s most distressed asset, with The Post’s Thornton McEnery reporting the three-time Most Valuable Player A-Rod and three-time MTV Music Video Award-winner J.Lo have found some support.
Don’t underestimate A-Rod’s skill set, the attributes he could bring to a baseball team and improve its standing. But the best test of A-Rod’s seriousness as a team owner would come in the role he gives himself.
CEO, to go mano-a-mano with his frenemy (and National League East rival!) Jeter? No. Bad fit.
No, the all-time baseball great A-Rod should find both inspiration and hesitation from an all-time basketball great: Magic Johnson. And let’s skip right ahead to the solution: If this actually goes through, A-Rod’s title should be, simply and elegantly, “owner.”
(As for the “If this actually goes through …” yes, heavy skepticism should reign for now. Because we’ve seen the Wilpons fail to reach the finish line on multiple occasions. Because, as McEnery noted, this unproven group hopes to capitalize on a coronavirus discount, which could in turn prompt other prospective suitors to do the same. Nevertheless, let’s talk out this scenario.)
Mets supporters understandably wouldn’t greet a J-Rod takeover with anything approaching the excitement they displayed upon Steve Cohen’s announced (and subsequently imploded) deal to purchase the team. What A-Rod would bring to the party are baseball love and knowledge and, of course, his celebrity.
Imagine your young players having unlimited access to A-Rod’s baseball brain and his thoughts on hitting, defense, base running, strategy, (legal) workout routines and (legal) sign-stealing. As the Yankees could attest, even when A-Rod drove them crazy during his many dramas, he knew how to put the nonsense aside — and assist his junior teammates — when he clocked in. Shoot, he also would be an asset at owners’ meetings, sharing his passion for making the game better.
His celebrity, and that of his fiancée, could be brandished to create positive vibes at Citi Field. Throw him into a luxury suite, summon him for a pitch with potential sponsors, position him out in the bleachers. He can shine in those settings. And if J.Lo wants to schedule a few more concerts at the ballpark, although the baseball schedule can be pretty limiting, that sounds fine.
Where I would have pause is letting A-Rod run the entire operation, overseeing both baseball and business, as does Jeter. As Jeter has displayed with his South Florida struggles, that’s a monumental assignment for someone who hasn’t climbed the ladder more traditionally. Furthermore, A-Rod has turned into quite the Renaissance Man, with an enthusiasm for television endeavors beyond his baseball stuff, speeches, charity and following J.Lo around. Would he really want to give up much of that to work regularly in the office?
Johnson tried to do the latter when the Lakers named him president of basketball operations, and it proved a disaster. Magic, the man of many interests, quit after just two years, acknowledging how much he missed his old life.
Magic remains an owner of the Dodgers, where he can come and go as he pleases. That would be A-Rod’s optimal role with the Mets, with the obvious caveat that he can contribute far more to them than Magic does to the Dodgers. Such a role would give A-Rod a significant voice — if someone else invested more than J-Rod, that person logically would have the final say as well as the role of control person — and few responsibilities.
If George Steinbrenner could run the Yankees after two suspensions, then A-Rod could operate the Mets in spite of his past brushes with baseball law. Should he, though? That, as long as we’re conducting this intellectual exercise, ranks as the top question. It would be fascinating to see him try. The more likely route to success, however, would be to deploy A-Rod’s known strengths. It’s so crazy that, with the proper surrounding and supporting cast, it just might work.