NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has chimed in on the impending sale of one of the city’s two Major League Baseball franchises, saying it should be sold to the group headed by the husband and wife team of former Yankees’ star Alex Rodriguez and musician/actress Jennifer Lopez.
De Blasio, himself a Boston Red Sox fan, was asked about the sale at a press conference Wednesday after the Reverend Al Sharpton had suggested Rodriguez and Lopez, herself a Bronx native, should be awarded the team. He particularly noted his respect for Rodriguez.
“I don’t come into this as someone instantly connected to A-Rod to say the least, but I respect him,” de Blasio said. “I mean, he’s one of the greatest players of all time, obviously.”
He also wanted to note Lopez’s contributions as a native of the city.
“I mean, this is a true New York City icon. She, you know – I’m astounded when you think about what she’s achieved and talk about someone who just came from the grassroots humble origins in the Bronx has reached the highest heights on sheer hard work. And still remembers where she came from and is very devoted to New York City and the Bronx.”
Sharpton felt the sale to Rodriguez, the son of Dominican immigrants, and Lopez, the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, would be a historic blow for equality in Major League Baseball.
“The decision on who should earn the right to buy one of New York’s most treasured cultural institutions — the Mets — represents a significant opportunity for Major League Baseball to take a strong public stand in favor of racial equity by ensuring the team’s new ownership are people of color,” Sharpton wrote in a letter he planned to send Wednesday.
For that part, Mayor de Blasio agreed that baseball and professional sports could do more to diversify its ownership ranks.
“I think it’s true that all of our sports, including Major League Baseball have to do a better job encouraging ownership by people of color, leadership positions for people of color, more people of color managers. This is a profound problem in baseball and in all American sports. The way you change that is one team at a time,” he said, referring to the Mets as “a very important franchise.”
Aside from Rodriguez and Lopez’s group, contenders to purchase the Mets from the Wilpon family are Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, who own the New Jersey Devils among other sports entities, as well as hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.