Before baseball was shut down, one of the biggest stories of the offseason was the potential sale of the New York Mets. The Wilpons had reportedly reached a deal in principle with hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen in December, though the deal fell through by early February.
Not to worry! The Wilpons are still planning to sell the team, and as of February were looking to auction it off to the highest bidder. However, recent reports suggest that the current economic climate could severely drop the price of the team from the $2.6 billion they were prepared to sell it to Cohen for. Plus, with everything going on in the world, this has to be a tough time to try to find a suitor for a multi-billion dollar organization that has currently shut down operations.
So the Wilpons could probably use some help to find that suitor. The people on the news keep telling me to “do my part” and “help people” and “look out for others,” so what better way to pitch in to a global crisis than to help out the billionaires who own my favorite sports team? I’m going to take the initiative, get out there, and help the Wilpons find some bidders for the New York Mets.
Unfortunately, given that all public places are either closed or horrifically unsafe, I have to search for our potential billionaire saviors through an online medium. Thankfully, there’s no better place to network with rich folks looking to make business deals on the internet than the place where everyone goes to make intricate sales pitches and and discuss big business: Omegle.
I have ventured into the anonymous chat world of Omegle in the past to poll people on the skills of Lucas Duda, and my results were not the most reliable. That said, I think the problem with that experiment was not the medium itself, but instead that my question was too pointed and niche; just not that many people knew about Duda.
This time, though, is going to be different. I’m not talking to other Omegle users about anything niche this time around. I’m talking about business now, and everyone speaks the language of money. This is going to work this time. I’m going to find the next owner of the New York Mets.
On the Omegle website, they show you how many people are currently chatting on the site:
Over 33,000 people! That’s, like, almost the capacity of Citi Field. With a sample this large, some of them have to be rich enough to buy a baseball team and willing to do business. Let’s find them.
Like my last Omegle project, I figured it would be worth it to narrow my search parameters down by interests to find only the best candidates for baseball owners. Here are the interests I chose to search:
- BIG MONEY BUSINESS DEALS
I think it’s important that the next Mets owner is both a fan of the team and a fan of the game, and I can only assume that rich business executives enjoy making BIG MONEY BUSINESS DEALS and would cater their Omegle chat preferences accordingly.
My strategy was always to approach them with care, tact, and relatability—as you do whenever you are doing business. You never want to blow a sale before you can even make a proposal.
Can’t figure out what the problem was there. He didn’t seem too interested in finding out more information.
It was also important not to turn anyone away for anything other than merits. All strangers were potential suitors and I would never want to discriminate against any demographic, even the British.
But sometimes, I did have to take a stand. We are in a bad enough place with the Wilpons right now, and I would not want the next Mets owner to be even worse and not care about the team or baseball in general.
Early on, I found that many of the people I chatted with were really interested in my personal information, to the point where they seemed uninterested to continue unless I gave it.
I did not see the value in giving out my personal information before we discussed anything material. It did not seem pertinent to the discussion I was looking to have at the time. But in hindsight, I can’t help but think they were maybe just looking for a business card of some sort before they pursued anything serious. I should have gotten a business card.
I also ran into some people who had some really interesting introductions:
I appreciated the forthrightness here from Polly, who linked what I could only assume was her portfolio or maybe some sort of cover letter, and admitted she maybe made a poor choice of picture for her online portfolio. By stating she was not looking for a relationship or a friend, I could only assume that means she was looking for a business partner. I ran into Polly a few times, and she might’ve been a good potential owner, but we were unable to discuss any particulars.
Alas, I had to continue on.
Neither of these two fellows seemed very interested in purchasing the Mets, and the second guy was downright insulting.
One thing that was fairly confusing to me, as you’ve already seen a number of times here, was the amount of people who started the conversation with just “M.” I have to be honest; I’m still what many would consider a neophyte with much of this business jargon, so I had to plead ignorance as to what it meant. However, like any good negotiator, I attempted to use it to my advantage regardless.
I also don’t know what “eat the sauce” means, but maybe he was trying to sell me some stock in his sauce business? There’s really no way of knowing.
I knew “M” had to have some sort of underlying meaning if so many were using it. Maybe they enjoyed people whose names begin with M, and would therefore want to own a team that had some of them?
Finally, this helpful fellow entrepreneur assisted me along:
So I now knew that “M” meant male. I don’t know what purpose it serves disclosing gender to others before anything else in business dealings. Regardless, it looked like many of these “M’s” were looking for “F’s,” so I once again tried to use that to my advantage to hook people into my sales pitch, like I’m sure some experts talk about doing in some business book somewhere:
Somehow, I still didn’t have much success with that.
I think the most surprising thing I found about this whole endeavor was that there were many people who came to Omegle.com and did not appear to be looking to discuss business at all. In fact, they seemed like they wanted to discuss some much more nefarious business than what I had signed up for. Still, like any good entrepreneur would, I continued to treat everyone I talked to as a potential buyer, no matter what they appeared to be there to originally discuss, and spun everything into my sales pitch:
I looked it up, and apparently that language was Danish, and the things he was saying to me were quite rude.
Ultimately, after searching through Omegle for hours upon hours, I was unable to find anybody willing to actually sit down and make a deal. I made more progress with some than with others, but never got past the initial $2.6 billion price point with anyone. I wonder why that may be? Perhaps people on Omegle were not as rich as I thought? Were they not here to discuss business of that magnitude? I don’t know.
I could forge on further, but my will is gone. I was wrong; this did not work the way I had hoped. I am now 0-for-2 in Omegle experiments. I could not find a reliable sample to poll on the skills of Lucas Duda in 2017, and I could not find an owner for the Mets now. Perhaps it’s the website itself that’s the problem, or maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not going about it the right way. I may need to read some textbooks before I try this again.
Either way, I was unable to help the Wilpons find a potential suitor for the team. Hopefully they are able to find one soon, because I don’t think any of us can take them for much longer.
Okay, I want to get real for a minute and talk about a certain interaction I had while doing this. I started the chat by doing the whole bit, would you want to buy the Mets etc., but unlike most, this person actually took it in stride and played along.
But then, something unusual happened: we started talking normally. As shocking as it was last time when I found a fellow baseball stats nerd in the Omegle chats, it was almost as shocking this time to find a normal person somewhere willing to actually have a conversation and not just a random dude trying to find some women.
This “stranger” is a young chef who just moved to San Francisco last year from India. As you can imagine, the entire hospitality industry is in shambles right now and she currently has no work or income.
We continued to talk about the situation in the world right now, the madness everyone is dealing with, and she shared her frustrations about her roommates not taking is seriously, potentially endangering her and others.
After that, we talked about our lives a little bit, discussing our jobs, cultures, and the food industry, and just had a normal human conversation between two people who are 3,000 miles away. She was just looking for human interaction, bored from staying inside, and looking for anything to take her mind off things. My intentions were not quite as pure, but that’s beside the point.
Even though it was just a basic conversation, it was a very important conversation. One we both very much enjoyed having and it helped take our minds off things for a little while.
Overall, this was just a sobering reminder that every single person in the world is dealing with the same situation right now. This nameless, faceless person on the opposite coast of the entire country is experiencing the exact same thing and seeing the same things I am every single day. Her existence was never known to me and our paths will almost certainly never cross again, but for about 40 minutes we commiserated about the same thing.
Basically, the lesson here is that human interaction helps. Reach out to whomever you need to help get you through this. You may also be helping them out too. Even though it’s a cliche, we really are all in this mess together. Nobody has to feel this stress, anxiety, depression, malaise or whatever alone, and my friend in San Francisco is evidence of that. Everyone is dealing with this.
So, to anyone out there struggling: I see you. We’re here on this website together, and we’re going to get through this together. Baseball will return one day, and it will be the greatest Opening Day ever.