After their pitching staff allowed 21 runs over their last 18 innings against Philadelphia, the Mets open the home portion of their 2011 season at Citi Field this afternoon against the Nationals, and despite speculation the financially-strapped club would have difficulty finding new non-voting partners, the New York Daily News’ Terri Thompson reports there are as many as eight potential investors prepared to bail out the club.  “”I personally know seven billionaires who love the Mets and would love to own the Mets,” the Park Lane sports investment bank’s Andrew W. Kline, tells Thompson, failing of course, to identify even one of them.

“If we were talking about someone buying, say, a chemical manufacturing firm that had a similar set of factors – a possible Madoff liability and operating losses – it might impact the valuation and the potential buyer would have more leverage,” said Kline, who has been advising a client interested in the Mets bidding. “But it’s different with sports franchises…. In a city like New York, with so many high net-worth individuals, the price would probably not be affected.”

The Mets’ owners are expecting to raise between $150 million and $200 million for a stake in the team. The cash infusion from an investor is expected to be used to operate the team, as the Daily News has reported, not to pay off any Madoff liability that might arise out of the litigation or a settlement. The team would conceivably pay off a $25 million