January 22, 2010
All right. Everything in Met land looks quite bleak. You’ve seen it. You’ve heard it. You feel it. You also know it. It’s all been written about by sportswriters, bloggers, television analysts and the like. So, what do I have to say that would break any ground or pique your interest in the slightest? In other words, who is this guy, and why should I listen to him of all people about my beloved Mets?
Let me begin by stating that I am a life long Met fan, who like most of you, have been suffering for most of my life with this team. My father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and the Mets were the only replacement for him. As a child, it was easy to follow whatever team he followed because we are quite impressionable at that age. There were a couple of “moments” that I can hang my hat on. The fact that I was at game 6 of the ’86 World Series was certainly the pinnacle. However, those moments are quite few.
Why am I writing this entry? Well my fellow Met fans, I believe I have a very simple answer to the Mets’ shortcomings. An answer that is rarely, if ever, discussed.
You see, I believe in structure. Structure is the glue that holds all entities together, whether it be a business or a non-profit organization. I believe that there is a chain of command, however literal, in all entities. In this chain of command, it is rarely the lieutenants or second tier positions that make that entity prosper or fail. Ultimately, it is the CEO or President (“head honcho” if you will) that is responsible for the bottom line.
Now that my technical talk is concluded my fellow Met fans, I think you can surmise what I am getting at. The Mets are a doomed franchise until further notice. They are doomed simply because their CEO is a man who was born into this business without a single stitch of self-make. I am not talking about Fred Wilpon either. He at least made his fortune, and for that we must give him a level of respect. I speak of Jeff Wilpon of course, who may not hold the actual tag of CEO, but for all intents and purposes is the Mets’ chief.
For the past few years, it is always Jeff at the news conferences or the one being sought for interviews and quotations. Citifield, although the long term dream of Fred Wilpon, is clearly the creation of Jeff. Omar Minaya was also Jeff’s choice for GM. I think it is clear who is heading the ship these days.
I break the Mets down into 2 distinct historical time segments. The pre and post sole ownership of the Mets by the Wilpons. The division between these two eras in 2002. It was in that year that Mr. Doubleday sold his share of the team to his feuding partner, ending a long battle of distinct differences in philosophies. Prior to this sale, the Mets made a World Series appearance in 2000, and experienced a small measure of success.
Since the sale, the Mets have been one of the most profitable franchises in major league baseball, starting their own network and building their new stadium. These achievements only add to the bottom line for this profitable franchise.
It is apparent that the Mets have an advantage over almost any team in the major leagues, a financial advantage. Financial advantages allow a team to cover up mistakes that a “have not” team could not possibly absorb. What have the Mets done with this advantage during the Post Doubleday sale era? Hmmmm…..
1) The Farm System is in Shambles: Plenty of people are at fault here, from scouts, to player development, to the general manager. The Mets have not produced a player of value during this era other than David Wright and Jose Reyes. They have not produced a pitcher since Scott Kazmir (ouch). Is anyone on the horizon? I think not.
2) The Public Relations Disaster: Have the Mets ever been able to keep anything secretive from going public in recent years? I think we all know the answer to that question. What is worse, is that they are always forced into “clean up” mode. This only brings about more criticism because the Mets can never be up front and honest with the media or its fans. Instead, they take the “Let’s pull the wool over their eyes” approach, which is obvious and insulting to everyone who follows the team.
3) The Medical Staff Debacle: Never before in professional (or non professional) sports history has a team’s medical staff been so inept and so scrutinized. This is all deservedly so. I mean, all but 7 players last season missed time due to injury, five of which were bullpen players. How is that possible?! Things have gotten so bad that players are taking their health into their own hands (Beltran) because they undoubtedly have zero faith in the Mets’ trainers and physicians. Can you blame them?
4) Questionable Lieutenants: From the GM, to the assistant GM, to the manager, the Mets just can not seem to get it right. Seeing other teams with quality people making smart baseball decisions both on and off the field is enough to turn Met fans’ stomachs. The question I usually pose is, “Wow, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who knows what they are doing be our GM/manager? Perhaps we could have someone with a great track record for success take over said position”. Unfortunately, those folks never seem to fall under the employ of Mr. Wilpon. Why is that? Is it sheer coincidence that this remains the case year after year after year?
5) Is Baseball Priority #1?: Perhaps it is. Perhaps it is not. No one can be too sure. What makes me cringe is hearing Jeff Wilpon say that he believes in his “baseball department” when discussing possible future moves and transactions. We as Met fans do not want to hear anything about any other segment of your company, Jeff. We have no stake in Sterling Equities, nor its bottom line. The only interest we have is the Mets winning a World Series. Period. If baseball was the number one priority, then your baseball department would be looking awfully bad right now. It should be your first priority to stop making fools out of yourselves and fix what needs fixing. For any of you that own or run a business, who could continue to accept such consistent failure from all facets of your company? You’d be out of business before you know it. Since nothing seems to ever get fixed, how can I truly believe that baseball success is truly the number one priority of Jeff Wilpon.
It is with the above reasons and rationale that I am a firm believer in the fact that the Mets’ problems begin and end with Mr. Jeff Wilpon. Until there is a change at the top, and I mean some unforeseen sale of the team, I see no positive changes coming down the pipe for our baseball team. Our outlook is plainly bleak.
The Mets are a doomed franchise until further notice. What do you think?