SportsReporters Exclusive: Comedian Bill Maher Buys Ownership Interest In Mets

Published on: 4th June, 2012

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Bill Maher
SportsReporters Exclusive: Comedian Bill Maher Buys Ownership Interest In Mets  | read this item

New York – Taking a break from the world of political comedy and commentary, Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s, Real Time With Bill Maher showed up tonight at Citi Field to take in a ballgame and celebrate his sister’s birthday.

Sounds very nice and quaint, a big showbiz star taking one’s sister out for her birthday in Queens, doesn’t it?

Except, the other reason Bill Maher showed up at Citi Field tonight turned instead, into a bizarro method for the Mets to make a big, news-making, splashy announcement about their business and finances, not a small part of the story over the past few years in Metsville.

On the night John Franco, the former Mets closer was being inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame, it was Maher, instead, who stole the thunder.

The comedian, a life-long Mets fan born in New York City and raised in the bedroom community of River Vale, New Jersey told this reporter in the most matter-of-fact sort of way that he had just become a minority owner of his favorite baseball team. In what seems almost too incongruous to describe, Bill Maher is now business partners with Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz.

Huh! Is Maher looking for hilarious material for his standup act? Does he think he’ll find out inside stuff about Bernie Madoff that he could spring on his HBO audience?

“I think it’s a great investment,” he said. “I think it’s a great team that I’ve been rooting for since they came into existence, which was soon after I came into existence.”

Buh dum bum…..rim shot.

I wondered how a kid from New Jersey, traditionally Yankee territory, became a Mets fan.

“I actually was a Yankee fan as a kid. I stopped following them when Steinbrenner took over the team. I was not a fan of his so my interest in that team waned over the years.”

“I’ve always been a big Mets fan and a National League fan,” he added. “I was a little kid when they started, I was a baseball card collector. I still have the entire 1963 and 1964 seasons of baseball cards.”

I asked him if he had an Ed Kranepool card.

“Was Ed Kranepool on the Mets in ’63 and ’64? I know I have Marv Throneberry and Al Jackson cards.”

At that, Maher went into an impersonation of the late, great play-by-play announcer for the Mets, Bob Murphy, who had a very distinctive and oft-copied voice.

“Al Jackson, game southpaw from Waco, Texas. Born on Christmas Day, and brother of 12. And, oh, a world of courage.”

Buh dum bum……rim shot.

“I finally found something I can be apolitical about,” he said. “I’m also more of a National League fan because I never liked the designated hitter.”

I wasn’t sure how being apolitical and not liking the DH could get someone to invest millions of dollars in a ballclub but, he was on a roll and why slow him down with a question.

“There’s only one National League franchise in New York City and they’re not making any more of those. I’m really happy this team is good this year since nobody picked them to be good.”

How does Maher foresee his role in the future as a team owner?

“I have enough stress in my real job,” he told me. “I don’t need to worry about that job and this one, too. Look, I’m just a fan. My role is to bring luck to the team like I did this weekend. Let’s be honest, they did not have a no-hitter for 50 years. I buy-in and I come to town. They had a no-hitter. Draw your own conclusions.”

The Mets are playing solid baseball this season. Now, they’ll have the show business element hanging around the stadium. Maybe something special is indeed, brewing here at Citi Field. Even if the team falters, it can turn out to be pretty funny to hear one of their owners provide comic relief.

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