But Doubleday loved baseball and he loved New York. He doubled down, investing another $20 million in the team over the next three years, as well as hiring baseball people to astutely replenish the farm system with young talent through scouting and the draft. There would be trades--most notably to obtain Keith Hernandez and then later, Gary Carter and Bobby Ojeda.
By 1984, the team was a serious pennant contender, spending roughly two months in first place before the Cubs pulled away that September to capture the division crown. In 1985, the club was ready to win it all, but fell just short the final weekend of the season to the Cardinals. And, of course, by 1986, they simply dominated the NL East, winning 108 games to win the title by 21.5 games before taking the pennant and World Series in thrilling fashion.
Today, the Mets have some of the best young pitching in baseball, much like they did in the early Eighties when they started to turn things around. But it won't be good enough without some hitting (or improved defense). For that, they are going to have to spend, but up to this point are unwilling to do so, crying poverty in the wake of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme they were linked to. Thus, their attendance remains in the low-20Ks on a weeknight game.
Anyone that was around in the early Eighties will tell you how quickly that mausoleum at Shea became the hottest ticket in town--how attendance quadrupled in just a couple of years. The Mets became highly profitable then and could be again now. That's the potential they have by playing in New York.
And Doubleday brought in Frank Cashen, the savvy executive who enjoyed tremendous success from the Orioles' heyday, to run the team. Sandy Alderson is no Frank Cashen. The front office needs more pure baseball people.
This was the playbook used by Doubleday then, and the same that the Wilpons should use today. And the Wilpons should know better--they were the ones that owned the other 20% back in 1980.