March 19, 2012
There’s always next year. Oh wait…there isn’t.
I’ve been pondering how to go about writing what needs to be written for many hours today. All through the day the topic has been bandied about by every Mets insider and newspaper. Everyone talking about either the financial numbers decided in today’s “lawsuit” or their predictions as to when the Mets payroll will come back to figures that resemble a major market baseball club.
Very few, if any, have discussed the real story here. I suppose that my blog’s name gives me some sort of responsibility to yet again translate the real story that other sources somehow fail to mention. I do not take this obligation lightly, and therefore wanted to ease my way into it. Well, here goes nothing.
Today, the New York Mets Ball Club died. There. I said it. It had to be said.
Huddle closer dear reader. You see, we Met fans did not witness any sort of victory this morning as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz exited the courthouse with their highly paid attorney to meet and greet the mass media. No, we did not. In fact, we experienced quite the contrary. Magically, the Wilpons have escaped their wrong-doings with essentially a slap on their privileged wrists. The numbers themselves, dissected with the precision of a neurosurgeon for most of the day today, are themselves meaningless. Suffice it to say, all is fine and dandy in the land of the Wilpons.
Fred was quoted as saying, “Trying to bring the New York Mets back to prominence, that our fans deserve”. I am not sure what that means exactly, as the Mets have not been a prominent franchise since Fred took over as sole owner back in 2002. Sure there was 2006, but when you are a top 5 payroll team, you have to make the playoffs once in a while, don’t you? Even if you underachieve along the way.
Ultimately, we are left to digest what this statement truly means. This is where I come in to help make sense of it all.
The Mets have done little right from a baseball standpoint since Carlos Beltran struck out looking to a then underdog St. Louis Cardinals team. They have developed little to no talent from their minor league system since the arrival of David Wright and Jose Reyes. They have employed a general manager who not only came across as illiterate, but became the butt of all baseball jokes for some of his decision making on personnel. They have created a new low for a sports medical staff in areas of incompetence and mismanagement of baseball (and non-baseball) related injuries, leaving us to wonder why they have employed the same doctors and trainers for so many years. They have failed at any and every level to conceal news that shouldn’t be shared with the media, leaving us to wonder why they have employed the same public relations staff for so many years. Oh wait, I just said that. I think there may be a trend starting here.
Most importantly, before Bernie Madoff’s name was ever muttered by anyone who was not part of the financial world, the Mets were a failed franchise. They had set a Major League record for largest regular season collapse by allowing a seven game lead with seventeen games remaining to disappear. They have yet to smell the playoffs since then. The Mets continued to spend money on the wrong players year after frustrating year, always culminating in the same result. Failure. The truth of the matter is, if resources were not the issue, then wouldn’t smart baseball people have cultivated a better result. At the very least, wouldn’t they have sniffed the playoffs in one year since then?
The key term above is smart. This is something that has severely lacked with the Mets over the past five years. The Wilpons have continuously employed inept baseball people, not to mention in all other baseball related departments as well. This may be due to the fact that the Wilpons portray themselves as “family-oriented” owners, whereby they hire friends and colleagues to fill their various posts. Good baseball people with solid reputations? No, that has never been on the Wilpon’s agenda.
Even when the Wilpons begin to reinvest moneys into the team in the coming years, is there anyone naive enough to believe that money alone buys championships? This seems to be the only thing that anyone has been talking about today. “All I care about is when they stop acting like a small market team and start spending money on players.” That is all well and good, however it is not what will make this team competitive. Unless all of the areas I have discussed are corrected, none of that will matter in the least.
Today’s news unveiled one undeniable truth. The Wilpons are here to stay, and stay they will. With this now immovable albatross, I fail to see anything to get excited about at all. To get as cynical as I can possibly get, I will profess that the Mets will never again make a World Series appearance, let alone win a championship. Well, at least in both my and Jeff Wilpon’s lifetime. Contrary to whatever drivel Mr. Wilpon spoke this morning outside his joyful courthouse, this is the absolute end of the New York Mets.