Oct 05

I see the Wilpon’s pain

I watched Fred and Jeff Wilpon squirm yesterday with embarrassment and pain. It was clear to me by their body language and tone of voice they felf genuine embarrassment and frustration of having to go through the firing and hiring process once again.

WILPONS: Not an easy time.

They were under the glare of the spotlight not only in New York, but the baseball community, and they were admitting the last six years under Omar Minaya were under them. That can’t be easy, as it reaffirmed in part the criticism directed at them.

When Fred Wilpon said he loves the Mets, I believe him, and I believe Jeff Wilpon when he said everybody is responsible. They were asked point blank where they failed and their answer was in hiring the wrong people. There were no excuses, no lamenting injuries and bad luck, but an admission they made judgment errors in their hiring process.

They said things spun out of control and the people they hired did not produce the results, meaning the Wilpons did not produce results, either. Nobody spends that kind of money and doesn’t want to win.

Can the Mets win with the Wilpon ownership?

I believe they can. Afterall, they reached the World Series in 2000 and came within one hit of doing so again in 2006. When you come that close, you can win with the right people.

I believe the biggest problem the Wilpons made with Minaya, was overestimating the ability of the team after the 2006 season. Their thinking was “we’ll get that hit next year,” but it never happened. The Mets made no significant changes after the 2006 season, and instead regressed with their pitching staff. That led to the collapse of 2007, and later 2008.

By 2009, the team had dramatically regressed and patchwork was not enough. Patchwork won’t be enough for 2011, either.

How much the Ponzi scandal set back the spending we’ll never really know, but we must give them the benefit of doubt with that payroll.

That they continually have a one of the highest payrolls in the major leagues shows a willingness to spend. That they OK’d the spending on whom they signed was their mistake. Maybe the Wilpons never overruled Minaya’s choices, but they should have done a better job of asking questions.

One of the questions the Wilpons and the new leadership must face is that changing the culture might entail eating contracts, and if the new general manager suggests it, are they willing to take that kind of financial hit?

I would have liked to have heard more of a blueprint for the future rather than hearing it will be the new general manager’s decision, but they left it all out there that the new leadership will have responsibility and must have a vision. They said they will examine all kinds of GM candidates, but I would have liked to have heard them define the ideal candidate.

In saying the new general manager must just change the culture is an admission the present environment hasn’t been good and the fault lies with the Wilpons in fostering it.

Yesterday was not an easy day for the Wilpons or the Mets’ organization. And, this will not be an easy winter for them or the new leadership. But, Fred and Jeff Wilpon took responsibility yesterday, and promised the new leadership will be given the authority and resources to rebuild their franchise.

I saw their anguish and humiliation yesterday. I know they don’t want to go through that again.

There’s an old saying, that discontent is the first step toward progress in a nation or a man. That includes baseball teams as well, and there was no hiding their discontent.

They’ve already taken the first step.

May 31

Time to get rid of Perez.

PEREZ: Time to cut ties.

The fear is there, but is it any worse than the embarrassment?

The fear is the Mets will cut loose Oliver Perez and he’ll find out what ails him under another pitching coach – maybe worse, it might be somebody in the NL East or The Jacket.

But, is that any worse than the embarrassment of watching Perez make a mockery of the concept of teamwork and force the Mets to play with what is a 24-man roster because of his refusal to accept repeated requests to go to the minor leagues to attempt to iron out his problems?

I would love to see the Mets attempt to suspend Perez for his selfishness for his unwillingness to make himself better, and label it conduct detrimental to the team. If an athlete doesn’t condition himself, doesn’t work out, then the team has some recourse. How is this not the same? How is refusing to go where you’ll get work different?

Continue reading

Feb 17

Feb. 17.10: Wright speaks in PSL.

David Wright held court this afternoon in Port St. Lucie, and among other things said the Mets’ expectations are to win the NL East and the World Series. Well, I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Wright.

Wright said offensively, he hopes to find something comfortable and stick with it, which translated should mean more home runs. Wright was in a mind funk all last season and only hit 10 homers.

Of all the things he said, I like this best: “I hope its not the underdog role that gets guys fired up, I hope its the embarrassment of last year.”

Embarrassment can be a powerful motivator.

Oct 28

Commentary: I believe Selig, but ….

Message to Bud: Don't pray for it, make it happen.

Message to Bud: Don't pray for it, make it happen.

Bud Selig said it and I believe him.

After Carlos Pena’s single drove in B.J. Upton with the tying run, and the grounds crew practically following him across the plate, Selig said he would have not allowed the Phillies be crowned champions with a rain-shortened victory.

“It’s not a way to end a World Series,” Selig said. “I would not have allowed the World Series to end that way.”

I believe he wouldn’t. He would have played his “best interest in baseball,” card and done the right thing.

Giving that, why couldn’t he have done the right thing earlier? Perhaps not start the game at all, given the forecast? Or, once it started, said, “if we have to stop this, we won’t have a rain-shortened winner?”

The late start times and scheduling are other matters he needs to correct. My thinking is the World Series is the ultimate. It’s baseball’s showcase event, and it should be treated that way. Too often MLB lets those who don’t love it make the decisions and that has to stop.

If Selig’s words are to be believed, he must follow them up with actions that mean something. So far, his legacy as commissioner has been the steroids era, interleague play, new divisional alignments and a work stoppage that killed the 1994 World Series.

Time to change that for the better. Schedule the Series start times so people can see the game, and if worse, to give you more leeway time with the weather. If you don’t like playing this late in October, then you’re going to have to do something about shortening the playoffs?

Since you won’t reduce the number of games, then you must alter the regular season schedule. I have already suggested in these pages to have at least one day-night doubleheader a month. That would give you six days to play with. There are things that can be done, and in the end they won’t hurt as bad as the embarrassment that was last night.