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.

Oct 01

Wilpon needs to move sooner than later

Word is Jeff Wilpon wants to act aggressively when it comes to hiring a top notch baseball executive to turn around his listless franchise.

WILPON: Not looking so happy.

Good.

After last year’s dismal showing, Wilpon retained GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel, but said both had been put on notice and will be held accountable. Well, after last night’s loss, the Mets are guaranteed of finishing with a losing record. Their record will be better than last year’s, but not by much.

It’s time to be accountable.

You can blame injuries all you want, but other teams have them, too. The Phillies, for instance, lost both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard for a substantial period, but patched to replace them. They also acted aggressively last offseason by getting Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt at the deadline.

Meanwhile, the Mets, who were within a handful of games behind Atlanta, did nothing at the break. Then collapsed with the return of Carlos Beltran. The end of the season can’t come soon enough.

The decisions by both contributed to a season that became irrelevant in July and showed limited cause for optimism in the second half. With a choking payroll for next season and an apparent desire  by ownership not to spend much more, there is not much hope for 2011.

The team needs a change. It needs Jeff and Fred Wilpon to show a blueprint for reconstruction, and it needs to be unveiled quickly as the players are cleaning out their lockers. Don’t string along Minaya and Manuel, not to mention a disgruntled and shrinking fan base, next week.

By now, Jeff Wilpon should have done all his homework and knows who he wants. There should be no procrastination. He must act decisively and act soon.

He needs to do something to have people thinking and caring about his team again.

Sep 23

What’s the use?

I keep hearing all these names as potential replacements for Omar Minaya – including Kevin Towers, one who got away – and realize all of them might improve the Mets in some capacity. Who to choose?

Then I realize, it doesn’t matter, because the Mets’ GM position is a figurehead position with little real autonomy because Jeff Wilpon makes the key decisions. Fred Wilpon believes his son is doing a good job, but does he really?

What we need from Jeff Wilpon is the commitment to a plan, a blue print of how things are going to be. There needs to be a defined set of roles and policies to be adhered to. A decision on a budget, including the tough decision on whether to eat non productive salaries.

No top notch general manager such at Pat Gillick will come to work for the Mets because his authority will be undercut by Wilpon. It is jeff’s sh0w, as is his right, but the real change has to come from a change with him not the addition of some high marquee name.

Until Jeff Wilpon defines his input and can resist stepping in the Mets will continue to flounder.

Aug 14

Mets Chat Room; K-Rod back and Misch starts.

First things first, Francisco Rodriguez apologized to the Mets ownership, fans and teammates and acknowledged entering an anger management program.

Game #116 vs. Phillies.

This is his statement: “First of all, I’m extremely sorry. I want to apologize to [owners] Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Mr. [Saul] Katz for the incident that happened Wednesday night. I want to apologize also to the Mets fans, to my teammates. I want to apologize, of course, to the front office for the embarrassing moment that I caused. I’m looking forward to being a better person.

“Right now the plan is I’m going to be going to [an] anger management program. And I cannot speak no farther about the legal stuff that we’re going through right now. I want to apologize. Sorry.’’

It’s a start.

But before you start thinking all Rodriguez got was a two-game suspension and the loss of $120,000, think again. This is not the case of a rich player skating. Rodriguez is in the system now and could face jail time it convicted. If that happens, his career could be over.

Let’s see how this plays out before making any assumptions. And, until he goes to court he’s entitled to work like anybody else awaiting trial.

Rodriguez will be available for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, where the Mets will try to make it three straight behind Pat Misch.

Misch could’ve, and perhaps should’ve been brought up earlier, but was not because of the selfishness of Oliver Perez, who refused to accept a minor league assignment to work out his pitching problems.

It is Perez’s right to decline, but he’s ineffective and isn’t being used, effectively forcing the Mets to play with 24.

That Perez is still around symbolizes the Mets’ rudderless leadership. There’s no one willing cut the cord with Perez or seemingly explore any legal options against the left-hander.

Aug 06

Fred Wilpon gives Minaya a vote of confidence.

I think it’s safe to say things aren’t going to fundamentally change for the Mets any time soon. They might get hot for a week or two, perhaps even hang around on the fringe of the pennant race, but the foundation of this mediocrity won’t change.

There will undoubtedly be a managerial firing, but unless they bring in a heavyweight, the hierarchy will stay the same.

Speaking at an SNY function yesterday, Mets owner Fred Wilpon gave a vote of confidence to GM Omar Minaya. When asked Thursday if Minaya would be back next year, Wilpon said: “Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?”

Minaya is signed through the 2012 season and owed $2 million.

Manager Jerry Manuel does not have a contract for next season and it has been consistently reported the Mets have to make the playoffs if he’s to return.

S0, next year shouldn’t be that much different than this year.