Jeff Wilpon Ticks Off David Wright

Has David Wright finally grown a backbone, and discovered a voice? Is he now ready to speak his mind, rather than provide diplomatic canned quotes? Are we going to find out who David Wright really is this year?

From the Daily News:

COO Jeff Wilpon on Monday presented each member of the team with an orange T-shirt depicting the “U” symbol from the 1960’s TV cartoon “Underdog.” While most Mets, including manager Terry Collins, appeared to enjoy the stunt, Wright wasn’t thrilled.

“I don’t really like using the whole underdog thing. I don’t really like playing that card,” Wright said. “I think it’s just a way to remind everybody in here that the outside expectations aren’t the expectations that we have for ourselves.

“But we in here kind of have to rally around that and get it going,” Wright continued. “I guess, at the end of the day, that is kind of an underdog theme, but we shouldn’t view ourselves as that. We’ll let everybody else view ourselves as that, because I think we kind of know what we’re capable of doing.”

Mr. Wright makes valid points. He also has blatantly poo-pooed an ill-conceived motivational tactic by his boss. The idea of the “Underdog” T-shirt in and of itself may not have been ill-conceived, but the fact it came from Jeff Wilpon destroyed any hope of it having an impact on the players. Stuff like that has to come from the players themselves — not from an outsider. And yes, the COO of a baseball team is an outsider. Sorry, Jeff, but that’s the way baseball teams work — you’re not “one of the guys”, you’re the boss, and therefore whatever you provide them as “encouragement” is seen as something forced, something they have to do.

I wonder, Will Wright make more comments like this going forward? In other words, is he coming out of his “good boy” shell to say what he really feels, rather than try to fulfill the image of The Face of the Franchise? Could this change in behavior be in any way related to the rumors that Wright will be traded by July 31st, and/or the Mets’ inaction in regard to initiating a contract extension for Wright?

Stay tuned, this could turn into an (under)dogfight.

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. hart February 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm
    Everything about this team right now strikes me as phony, and I don’t mean in the “Man, that Michael Jordan is phony” sense. They trim the payroll, let Jose walk, and pretend it’s part of a deliberate masterplan, while we all know they’re turning us into a small market team out of necessity, not choice. They’ll bring back banner day and the like and want us to think it’s because they care about us as fans, while we all know they’re just desperate to put people in the seats. They couldn’t even find a way to honor Gary Carter properly before his demise. And so yeah, if David Wright starts speaking his mind, I would find that very refreshing.
    • Mike February 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm
      Very refreshing, indeed. More of this, please.
    • Frank February 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm
      Hart you are so right. This team couldn’t even give Gary Carter a night in September last year when the place was empty. They could’ve retired #8 & let Gary get one more standing ovation from the fans. The Wilpon’s are real low class productions. “Underdog” shirts. What are they children? They’re pro ballplayers. Finally David growing some balls and speaking out. He should say, “What are they going to do? Trade me?” David should buy “Jerkoff” T-shirts for Fred & Jeffy to wear.
  2. kranepool February 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm
    100 % agree Joe. Any “motivational slogans” have to come from players not the owner. It is sad that Jeff tries so hard to be one of the boys when is not and never will be.

    This may be the most contraversial quote Wright has ever said in his Mets career, I like this fiesty side of Wright

  3. argonbunnies February 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    If only Billy Wagner was here to hang a “know your place, boss” sign in Jeff’s office…

    I wonder how Milledge is liking Japan…

  4. Realist Mets Fan February 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm
    Wright is saying all of the right things about the team and the fans, but it’s pretty clear that he wants out. His friend in DC just got $100M, and he knows that’s not coming from the corrupt Wilpon family. He must be thinking, “And now they want me to wear this stupid t-shirt?” He’s a very nice guy, it seems, but it’s all too much for him.
    • Izzy February 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm
      I think you hit the nail on the head Realist. David knows he ain’t here for long. The team hasn’t approached him about an extension while the Nats spent most of the winter making Zimm a happy guy. Very similar careers and same amount of time left on contracts, but poor David knows he ain’t getting a deal like Zimm got, at least he ain’t getting one from the Wilpons. They are too busy with pathetic slogans. Mouth up David. The more you rebel, the faster you’ll go to a real organization.
      • Joe Janish February 29, 2012 at 12:00 am
        Well put — both RMF and Izzy.
        • DaveSchneck February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am
          Without knowing him personally, it isn’t hard to read between the lines and realize that Jeff Wilpon isn’t well thought of in baseball, and the teeshirt just puts another feather in his cap. Picard may be the only person that can do something about it.
  5. Jeff Wise February 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm
    I played baseball for 14 years including college. Even as a high school player we would have thought the Underdog thing was cheesy.

    I agree with Wright. You’ve got to remain confident you and your team has the skill to win every series. Otherwise you’re going to think in your mind you might not win because you weren’t supposed to win.

  6. Chris from Freehold February 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm
    To me, this sounds like the M. Donald Grant/Tug McGraw “You Gotta Believe!” thing all over again.

    (Of course, somehow that actually worked. I wouldn’t count on history repeating itself.)

  7. jerseymet February 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm
    Wilpon is a motivational wizzard! The Players will bond over their contempt for him. Brilliant!
  8. Chris February 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm
    Maybe. But I am not sure that the players share the fan’s contempt for Jeffy. The players are probably smart enough to know how lucky they are to be playing a kid’s sport for ridiculous money. And Jeffy signs their ridiculous paychecks.
  9. Walnutz15 February 29, 2012 at 9:17 am
    I refuse to believe this title – I mean, just the other day Jeffy had a customized “WRIGHT” Michigan football jersey made up.

    – They got the team super-cool orange “Under Dog” t-shirts.

    – They lowered the fences in LF/LCF – and modified the dimensions for him in RCF.

    Just what could he possibly be “ticked off” about?


    At some point, you just get fed up with a place before you move on – and from Wright’s latest commentary on “Under Dog”-gate, I doubt he’s relishing that kind of mentality at all.

    ……..especially in this veteran stage of his career.

    I wouldn’t blame him an ounce, provided things don’t change for the better with the Mets.

    Best case scenario:

    A “big-bang” start from Wright. If some good, legit offers come through by the ASB/Trade Deadline – sparked by a resurgence….then it’s all the better for the franchise.

    You’ve got him rounding back into form; and if you can’t figure out some parameters to keep him around……then do him a favor, and let him win somewhere else.

    Simple as that, and grab some talent in the process.

  10. derek March 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm
    so now david wants to stand up and say something…lololol…

    i wish he would have stood up to more of his former teamates in the lockeroom like this….we may have won a division somewhere along the way….