Wilpon: Citi Field Criticism Unfair

Much has been said about the lack of Mets history at Citi Field — not only from here, but throughout the Mets blogosphere. Many fans have felt that the park is an homage to Fred Wilpon’s beloved Brooklyn Dodgers — underscored by the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Some may have missed this following tidbit from Mike Francesa’s recent interview with Jeff Wilpon.

Mike Francesa:

“Did feel that any of the criticism you received … from me or anybody else … do you think there was anything — criticism — that was unfair this year or your team?”

Jeff Wilpon:

“Not the team but maybe about the ballpark, because I don’t think we did anything to slap anybody in the face. It wasn’t something where we said ‘gee, we’re going to honor the Brooklyn Dodgers but we’re not gonna honor the Mets or the Mets history’. So I think that is the only thing that was said that was unfair. We’re going to make the changes now to correct it, because it is a proper criticism.”


Help me out, folks. Is it possible for UNfair criticism to also be classified as “proper criticism” — in the same sentence?

I suppose it’s good that the issue is being “corrected” — even if it was unfair, or proper, or both(?)

Since this is the way the leader of the franchise addresses and explains issues, it’s now clear why we get similarly confusing doubletalk from the underlings, such as Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel — perhaps everyone in the organization is expected to practice the art of “Wilponspeak”.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. gary s. October 7, 2009 at 8:59 am
    jeff wilpon’s picture is in the dictionary next to idiot.the yankees built a new stadium to cater to the roster and make the team better.anyway u slice it, jeffie w. built a ballpark that penalized the power hitters and made the team worse.(i know we were 41-40 at home)i’m not impressed with that record.i watched the incredible tigers-twins game last nite.the cabrera and the ordonez homers would have been outs in citifield and robbed the game of it’s incredible excitement.THE FENCES ARE TOO FAR AWAY!!it’s detrimantal to the team and to the fan watching the games..
  2. edfever October 7, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I’m not a Wilpon apoligist in the least but what i got from that portion of the interview, while I was watching it was that it wasn’t done on purpose.

    I think he was defending his father in saying we didn’t purposely mean to slap Mets fans in the face by honoring the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    But in the same sense the critcism about the stadium not being Mets enough was fair.

    On purpose not fair, not being mets enough fair…( my head hurts)

  3. phil rubin October 7, 2009 at 11:23 am
    thers’s nothing wrong wih honoring jackie robinson.
    his legacy transcends baseball and his positive impact on our society should always be remembered and honored.
    however,i don’t understand the criticism for not having enough attention devoted to the mets’ history. there’s plenty of mets’ memorabilia at citifield…its called souvenier shops!
  4. joejanish October 7, 2009 at 11:35 am
    Phil, I’m not going to argue about honoring Jackie Robinson — build a museum, build an entire city for him, that’s wonderful and I agree he should be remembered. That’s not the point. If you’ve been to Citi Field and seen the rotunda then you know it’s more than Jackie being honored inside.

    And I don’t even have a problem with the Mets honoring the Brooklyn Dodgers — heck, the Phillies have a little thing in CBP honoring the old Philadelphia A’s. But the tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers at Citi Field far overwhelms the Mets’ history — and by the way, how about some mention of the NY Giants, if you want to honor New York baseball history? Oh, that’s right — the seats are the same color as the ones from the Polo Grounds. Give me a break.

  5. isuzudude October 7, 2009 at 11:53 am
    Once again, gary, I feel obligated to remind you that the Mets hit more home runs at home (49) than they hit on the road (46) this year, which should tell you the fences at CitiField are not the problem with the team’s power. The lack of power had much more to do with the lack of power hitters in the Mets lineup, with Delgado, Beltran, Reyes, and Sheffield all missing large chunks of time. Additionally, David Wright had a down year which contributed to the power outage. But he, too, hit just as many home runs at home as he did on the road (5), even though he had more ABs on the road then home. So please STOP WITH THIS BELLYACHING ABOUT THE STADIUM BEING TOO BIG. You are WRONG, and the evidence proves it. CitiField is a pitcher’s ballpark and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Also, Miguel Cabrera’s home run yesterday was hit about 460 feet. It would have been hit out of any ballpark. Get the facts straight.

  6. gary s. October 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm
    dude, i was referring to the cabrera on the twins homer in the bottom of the eigth..would have been an out in citifield.get YOUR facts right, dude.49 home runs at home for a full season is pathetic.David wright went from 33 to ten home runs and u want to tell me the park had nothing to do with it..OK, so what was the reason??Please enlighten me..i’m beginning to think u hang around with jeff wilpon in your spare time
  7. gary s. October 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm
    dude, one other thing i forgot to mention, my brother lives in philly and was watching espn during a met game in EARLY AUGUST and rick sutcliffe did a graph showing wright would have had 11 more runs at that point of the season if they still played in shea.in other words, the dimensions at citifield took away 11 home runs!!That is a fact, not bellyaching..do me a favor, in the future don’t criticize my posts.if u don’t agree with me, don’t read them anymore.there are actually things about the mets that u don’t know..
  8. Mr North Jersey October 7, 2009 at 10:10 pm
    Hey Gary, you are a typical only see what you wanna see fan.

    Wright in 2005 hit 12HR at Home in 283 ab’s
    Wright in 2005 hit 15HR at Away in 292 ab’s

    Wright in 2006 hit 13HR at Home in 284 ab’s
    Wright in 2006 hit 13HR at Away in 298 ab’s

    Wright in 2007 hit 16HR at Home in 278 ab’s
    Wright in 2007 hit 14HR at Away in 326 ab’s

    Wright in 2008 hit 21HR at Home in 301 ab’s
    Wright in 2008 hit 12HR at Away in 325 ab’s

    Wright in 2009 hit 5HR at Home in 258 ab’s.
    Wright in 2009 hit 5HR at Away in 322 ab’s

    If you look from 2005 on, 2005 being his 1st full season in Majors. Coming into 2009 Wright was averaging 15.5 Hr’s at home and 13.5 Hr’s on the road.

    Wright has been pretty consistent on the road and has actually consistently improved at home (even if it’s ever so slightly) over the last 4 years coming into 2009.

    If Citi is to blame for Wright’s lack of power at home in 2009 then how do you explain the road?

    The actuality is that this is the 1st time Wright played naked with no protection in the lineup and you saw what the results were.

    Hit me up over at http://www.nleastchatter.com/realdirtymets or email me at mrnorthjersey@nleastchatter.com if you need to continue this debate.

  9. Mr North Jersey October 7, 2009 at 10:33 pm
    Oh by the way

    Chase Utley didn’t seem to have a problem with Citi he only hit 4 HR’s in 32 ab’s this year at Citi.

    Ryan Howard hit 4 HR’s in 40 ab’s

    Mark Reynolds hit 4 HR’s in 12 ab’s

  10. gary s. October 8, 2009 at 12:06 am
    for the last time, here is my point.david wright was quoted as was beltran in the ny papers that they they were “changing their swing” because of the dimensions at citifield.If they walked into citifield and the dimensions were exactly the same as shea do u think they would have been quoted that way??do u think wright would have ended up with 10 homers if the dimensions were the same??Mr. North Jersey u feel if he’s protected next year, the homers will return.We will see who’s right at the end of the 2010 season.i hope you are right and i’m wrong
  11. Mr North Jersey October 8, 2009 at 1:18 am
    So you blame Citi for Wright changing his batting style? Good that explains everything. Don’t blame Wright for changing what has made him a All-STAR.

    Gary you made me smile dude 🙂

    If Wright admits to changing his style then guess what it is not Citi-Field you need to blame but the player himself.

    I mean if you want to say that the reason Wright didn’t hit HR’s is because he changed his batting stance hey to each his own but to blame the stadium again you made me smile.

    Nitey nite there Gary keep up the great posting.

  12. wally October 8, 2009 at 1:41 am
    wasn’t it Jerry Manuel who had everyone shorten their stroke and concentrate on hitting to the opposite field, via that asinine 80-swing drill or whatever it was?

    funny, then Jerry says Wright needs to pull the ball more.

  13. gary s. October 8, 2009 at 8:27 am
    mnj, bottom line, i agree with u that it shows wright was not mentally tough by being psyched out by the dimensions of citifield and changing his swing.i’d trade him today even up for mark reynolds but i doubt if that’s going to happen.u conveniently overlooked my contention how the yankee owners built a park to address the strengths of their players, not to make them worse.same thing for phillies in their new park.other posters say the park is built for speed and defense and pitching.other than reyes,we have no real speed, we need 3 starters and our defense is horrible..sleep tight amigo..i’m thrilled 2 hear i put a smile on your face.say hello to jeff wilpon for me the next time u see him.
  14. isuzudude October 8, 2009 at 8:51 am
    Firstly, gary, my criticisms of your opinions are not personal, so don’t get offended. You should know by now that I’m an equal opportunity criticizer, and that I’m not just singling you out because I don’t like you. So relax.

    Secondly, I will continue to respond to your posts and debate you on the issues because that’s what a blog is for. Exchaging thoughts and ideas and challenging other people on their beliefs if they are different from your own. If you don’t like being challenged or having a debate, may I advise you, instead, to talk to your living room wall. I can guarentee it won’t talk back.

    Thirdly, it seems like I’m not the only one “hanging around with jeff wilpon in my spare time,” since Mr North Jersey and wally also don’t think the dimensions at CitiField are solely to blame for David Wright’s or the team’s lack of power production. Perhaps that means you are the one in the minority, and you are the one in which “there are actually things about the mets that u don’t know.”

    The proof is in the pudding, man. The Mets hit more home runs at Citi than on the road in an equal amount of games. Knowing that fact, how can you say that Citi’s fences are too far back? Additionally, did it seem like Jeff Francoeur had a hard time hitting balls out of Citi once he came over from Atlanta? After the trade, 4 of his 10 homers came at Citi. Sheffield hit 5 at home at 5 on road. Same for Wright. Murphy hit 7 at home and 5 on the road. Delgado hit 3 at home and 1 on road. Pagan hit 5 at home and 1 on road.

    The point isn’t that Wright may or may not have had 11 home runs taken away from him due to CitiField’s dimensions. Because what you have to realize is that VISITING TEAMS ARE ALSO HAVING HOME RUNS STOLEN FROM THEM DUE TO THE DIMENSIONS. Think about it. How many MORE home runs will the Phillies or Marlins or Adam Dunn be hitting out at CitiField, as well, if the fences are brought in? Other teams are structured to have the home run ball be a bigger part of their offense than the Mets, in which case a smaller playing field would benefit them more than the Mets. Why would you be in favor of that?

    The homefield advantage the Mets gain with Citi’s current dimensions are evident in the amount of triples they hit, and in the amount of ground their outfielders cover. Teams with power hitting, slow footed outfielders get exploited when they can’t cover the ground in the outfield as Beltran, Francoeur, and Pagan can, and when their home run balls become long outs to the warning track, or doubles off the wall. That doesn’t mean hitting home runs out of CitiField is impossible, you just have to earn it more.

    Look at the Giants. They play at AT&T park, which has very spacious dimensions and a very large wall in RF. But they have constructed their team to suit that ballpark, utilizing speed, strong outfield defense, and pitching. Low and behold, they were 52-29 at home this year, best in the NL. If Omar and company learn from the Giants, the Mets can be just as dominant at home without needing to assemble murderer’s row in the lineup, or moving the fences in to resemble Yankee Stadium.

  15. gary s. October 8, 2009 at 11:59 am
    dude, disagreeing with posters is fine with me..i do it all the time.that’s what makes blogs fun.U have a very annoying and personal way of doing it imho.as in the above SEVEN paragraphs.the yanks and phillies built normal size parks and are in the playoffs.the giants built a cavern and are playing golf.i understand that talent wins out in the end not where u play but those owners built a park to enhance the talent and they are in the playoffs.like i said in the prior post,let’s see what happens next year when they have healthy players.i’ll predict right now the over/under on homers for met starters is 25.i’ll take the under.i don’t think one regular will surpass 25.feel free to make your pick and we’ll see who’s right next october.everything else is just speculation and hot air..
  16. Mr North Jersey October 8, 2009 at 12:14 pm
    LoL Gary, I always love when debating someone and they give you the line
    “say hello to jeff wilpon for me the next time u see him.”
    suggesting one must be on ownership’s side and therefore that must explain why they don’t agree with whomever they are debating.

    It says more about those that make such statements than anything else they have debated.

    So now you agree with me and say I, wait let me quote you “conveniently overlooked my contention how the yankee owners built a park to address the strengths of their players, not to make them worse.”
    Let me see so now according to you the Mets are a slugging team Shea was a hitters park and therefore Citi had to be also but ownership went away from that strength.

    Gary do yourself a favor admit it dude the NY Mets have historically been a team built around pitching and defense. At least the Mets I follow I don’t know about you.
    Citi Fields was built with that in mind. How you fail or refuse to see that I don’t know but never the less the fact remains this is how Citi was designed.

    I know you need to blame something but anyone with a rational thought can see your argument is not based on facts but speculation inspired by anger.

    Thanks for wishing me to sleep well I look forward to hear what you have to say next or what I overlooked next.

    Remember I am always at

    PS – I would not be so quick to trade Wright if he is anything he has shown himself to be a man of character and a fighter which is more than I can say for may in today’s game.

  17. gary s. October 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm
    mnj, the say hello to jeff wilpon remark was a joke..try to lighten up a little..i’m a met fan since the mid sixties.like u and most of the folks on the blog we live and die with the team during the season.However, i am not a cheerleader (not accusing u of being one either).When there is reason to blame someone for this mess, i will.I despise the wilpons for all the anti met fan behavior they have engaged in (sky high seating prices and having an idiot like minaya in chg, etc. etc.)As a fan who goes to 10-12 games a year i have every right to be angry about the mess they have created.On the flip side u have the right not to be upset about if u choose. the mets had the worst record in baseball the last 60 games of the year.I strongly feel the park is too big and they need a new gm and a new manager.You don’t.this is not debateable.it’s an opinion.let’s agree to disagree.David Wright is sitting in his penthouse watching the playoffs on a 75 inch plasma tv.I’ve been a big fan of his since he was called up.u probably have been too.Last time i checked he didn’t invite me or u over to watch the playoffs..lol..gotta go watch some baseball..i’m tired of blogging about the mets.
  18. Mr North Jersey October 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm
    Gary, you may be putting words in my posts that I never said.

    “I strongly feel the park is too big and they need a new gm and a new manager.You don’t.this is not debateable.it’s an opinion.”

    Just in case so there is no misunderstanding I have never said that they don’t need a new gm or mgr in “our” conversations.

    Actually, I think me and Joe had a little back and forth over this if memory serves me correct.

    For the record I feel Minaya deserved this last chance to rectify things and while I wasn’t thrilled but ok with Jerry before Aug 1st his last 2 months showed me that all he really is doing is being good with the media. He isn’t

    A. Teaching the kids
    B. Great strategically as a mgr.

    Show me where his presence has been a positive other than maybe leaving the players to do their own thing? Show me a player that has given Jerry credit for helping them with something?

    Now you are definitely entitled to your opinion agreed but all we did was look at why in your opinion you felt that way and point out why it’s not so simple to simply say it’s the stadium’s fault.

    You admit your hatred of the Wilpons but that was obvious from your prior posts already.

    Is it possible your hatred can be affecting your rational when it comes to discussing the Mets to the point you may not be not seeing things in their proper perspective?