Happy Bobby Bonilla Day
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - It’s that time of the year again when the New York Mets and sports fans everywhere wish each other a Happy Bobby Bonilla Day.
Today, 56-year-old Bobby Bonilla who hasn’t set foot on a major league diamond since 2001 will collect a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets, as he has and will every July 1 from 2011 through 2035.
How did this happen?
In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla's contract.
However, instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 million at the time, Bonilla and his agent pulled off one of the biggest finesse moves in sports history. The Mets and him agreed to annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting July 1, 2011, including a negotiated 8% interest.
At the time, Mets ownership was involved with a Bernie Madoff account that promised double-digit returns over the course of the deal. They were counting on being able to finance Bonilla’s deferred payments through investments they had made with Bernie Madoff, which turned out to be one of the biggest Ponzi schemes. Instead of paying dividends to Mets ownership, Madoff left them on the hook for a multimillion-dollar settlement.
That, above all else, maybe the lesson of Bobby Bonilla Day. Sports aren’t just at a game. It’s business too and Bonilla made sure baseball would take care of him past his playing days.
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