Comedian and gadfly of the conservative right Bill Maher has purchased a minority stake in the New York Mets organization, a development that has appalled Michelle Malkin and other right-wing commentators, who have responded to the announcement with indignation.
The one person who is thoroughly delighted with the purchase is Maher himself.
'You know they saw this yesterday and went, 'Bill Maher? Owns part of a baseball team? AAAARGGHH!' Maher told The Huffington Post.
'And then they had to figure out why they were mad. Because it's not immediately apparent why this should be horrible, but they knew it was horrible and then they had to work back to finding a reason why it was horrible. And of course, I just love to f--k with their heads.'
Until the announcement that Maher had bought a share the only other individual investors who have been identified to date are hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen who reportedly bought a full $20 million stake, as well as Clear Channel C.E.O. Bob Pittman and Huffington Post co-founder Kenneth Lerer.
Asked by the Huffington Post what powers Maher actually has now as an part owner of the Mets, he joked: 'Oh, I decide who is the relief pitcher. No, nothing. You know, I'm a minority owner. We just enjoy the ballgame. The great national pastime.
Maher explained that it was partly his distaste for former New York Yankees owner Geroge Steinbrenner that compelled him to make the purchase. 'Good owners stay out of the way,' Maher said. 'One of the main reasons that I'm a big Mets fan and not a big Yankees fan is because I hated George Steinbrenner. To me, George Steinbrenner did not represent New York well. I know people love him because he was a winner. Well, to me, growing up as a kid, I was taught that winning is important but it's not everything. That was George Steinbrenner's world - winning is everything - and that's not the way I think America and New York should be represented. I love New York, but I do think that Steinbrenner and Trump should be buried together.'
Asked why he saw an opportunity where other people saw danger, he replied: 'You know, it's so funny you ask that, because that's the first thing I asked. How come these didn't sell in a day? There are lots of people in New York way richer than I am. And you know what the answer is? Everybody told me the same thing, because I asked around. They said, ‘Every day, if you live in New York, all you read about in the papers is the press shitting on the Mets.’ You know, they were going through that Bernie Madoff lawsuit, and they had traded their best player. The press was just merciless to them. And it scared everybody off. And I kept just saying, ‘You know what? This is the New York Mets. There's only one National League franchise in the city of New York. It's not going anywhere. And it's a national treasure.’
‘And I didn't do it for sentimental reasons. I can't afford to do things for sentimental reasons. I do love the Mets, and have rooted for them ever since they came into existence, which was shortly after I came into existence, but I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think it was a good investment. And you know, after the Dodgers sold for over $2 billion, everybody who told me not to do it called and told me what a great idea it was.'
Maher also found an opportunity to stick it to his conservative critics: 'You know, one of the great things about this is that I finally found something I can be apolitical about. And I'll just say this. Being part of owning a Major League Baseball team is amazing. Participating in the national pastime is fantastic. But making Fox News nuts over it - that's priceless.'