No-cred Fred and the Amazin’ Buzzkill

NOTE: This is a post by MetsToday staffer Dan Capwell, a long-time, loyal Mets fan.

Just when I started to hope again. Johan Santana’s comeback. The future with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jennry Mejia and Jeurys Familia in the rotation. A left-right-left-right-left march through the batting order with Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jason Bay and Lucas Duda. The indication that Ruben Tejada’s 2011 OBP of .360 might make him a serviceable leadoff man. The development of Kirk Niewenhuis, Jordany Valdespin and Reese Havens in Buffalo. Hell, even the passing interest in Scott Kazmir. As Ralph Kiner says every year, “hope springs eternal in the spring.” Then came Monday and the latest devaluation of the Mets brand, a.k.a another public utterance from Fred Wilpon.
In case we’ve forgotten, Fred reminded us all that he is the owner. He then made a sarcastic quip with a few five dollar bills before launching into the spin du jour. His comments have already been dissected elsewhere, but I am stunned that Fred speaks as if he believes that any of his comments will actually help his cause. Among other things, this is an insult to the intelligence of his paying customers (that’s you and me). What really got me was his attempt to shift the blame to GM Sandy Alderson for the reduced payroll.

Sorry Fred, but the blame game is over and you’ve lost. Davey Johnson, Vince Coleman, Al Harazin, Bobby Bonilla, Doc Gooden, Joe McIlvaine, injuries to Generation K, Bonilla (again), Bobby Valentine, Steve Phillips, Mo Vaughn, Art Howe, Willie Randolph, old Shea Stadium and finally Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel have come, been blamed and are gone. The one constant over the past quarter century with this team is you. Nothing you ever say again will be believed. It’s your turn to go, why don’t you just sell out and leave?
The day got even worse with the news that Jeff Wilpon, the heir apparent, attempted to “motivate” the team with Underdog t-shirts. (Look daddy, orange). Jeffie also called in a bet he won with Wright and made David wear a Michigan jersey, which while looking like just plain fun on the surface, does carry some uncomfortable connotations of seeing the so-called Face of The Franchise being humiliated by the owner’s son.

The Wilpons’ current situation is not unlike that of a great number of Americans. We lived large from about 1992 until around 2007, with a lot of paper wealth coming from real estate equity, the stock market and near total employment. These factors, plus the keep-up-with-the Joneses mentality prevalent in our society, resulted in big purchases: exurban McMansions, huge SUVs, exotic vacations and fancy gadgets. Then came the crash. Devalued real estate. Empty 401Ks. Job loss. Escalating gas prices. Many of those glittering trappings of the now-bygone age became unwanted drains on the new financial picture. Those of us who successfully readjusted found we had to shed or greatly parse these items. Others tried desperately to finance them by other means, until overextended, stressed and broke, they crashed too.

My sense is that the Wilpons are in that second grouping. Unfortunately for them, their crash is very public and one would think, extremely humiliating. I can’t blame them for thinking that a last minute reprieve will somehow make this all right again. My counsel FWIW, is that the sooner they accept and move on, the better off both they and the Mets will be.

I suspect instead that the Wilpons are very confident about being vindicated soon in court and are down in Florida laying the groundwork for a victory lap in front of the media to celebrate. Maybe Irving Picard will toss a monkey wrench into those plans. All I know is that I am back to hopelessness as far as the Mets are concerned. And that sucks enough to make me hold onto my wallet.

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. DonS March 2, 2012 at 8:59 am
    I couldn’t have said it better. Anyone who knowingly and willingly puts money in Fred’s pocket is a moron.
  2. Steven March 2, 2012 at 9:25 am
    We have to all be realistic. Owning a major league team is an unbelievable privilege. Why should they ever give it up unless ALL options have been exhausted. They will not sell the team simply because a core group of several thousand fans hate them. If necessary they will cut the payroll to $50 million. That can be supported just on TV revenue, They know that once the team is good again, no matter how long that takes, the stands will be filled again. And they will be sucked up to once again by everyone in New York.
    • gary s. March 2, 2012 at 10:02 am
      Only time will tell, but i think the core group of fans who will still atttend is done to several thousand.I think you have that backwards.Like many on this site, i am a lifetime Met fan (oh the pain!!) and usually get a Six pack and than buy a few games off stubhub.I will pass on the six packs till new ownership and was planning on buying tickets when Reyes returns off Stubhub and maybe a few Phillies games.Every time Freddie Willponzi opens his mouth i want to attend games less.If he was horse he would be put down.Just incredibly arrogant and stupid.Nice combination.. .
  3. Tony March 2, 2012 at 10:17 am
    Probably the best post of Mets Today I’ve read. 3 days to the Rakoff ruling, hoping the trial moves forward, money or not the Wilpons don’t deserve the team.
  4. Izzy March 2, 2012 at 10:25 am
    The average fan, the guy who goes to one or two games a year, who buys on stub hub which helps the guys buying the season tickets, aren’t gonna waste their money on this boring and crappy product. Add that to whatever number of serious fans won’t go anymore, and the wilpons are in continuing danger. They can get bucks from SNY but SNY rating were down last year which means freddy boy is getting less $$ from advertising this year. And without Jose and the veiled threat that Wright will be gone this Summer, and the money from SNY will be down even further next year. Someday Selig will be gone and the next guy won’t be in freddy’s pockets and he will be forced out… At least here’s hoping to that.
  5. DaveSchneck March 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm
    Right on, brother. All is not hopeless. Root for Picard and keep holding that wallet.
  6. Rob M March 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm
    I think that every Met fan’s nightmare will be if the Wilpons win the trial and absolve themselves of any further liability in the Madoff mess. What then? Does the spending suddenly increase because all of a sudden there’s no longer any liability? Somehow, I don’t think so. But it will be telling if the law suit goes away and the Mets stay the course on their austerity plan. For Fred to suggest that its all a baseball decision is such a crock of horsehockey that I’m amazed that his public relations people even let him go out alone.

    And while I’m ranting, why does Fred focus on the reduction of nonproducing payroll? We appreciate that…we really do….but the focus should be on the fact that they’re not spending any…ANY…of the money that they’re supposedly saving. Which means that they’re broke….which means that these millionaires are not billionaires and have no business continuing to own a team. I could rant on…but I’ll end up getting a heart attack and Fred just isn’t worth that.

    Sell the team, Fred. Please.

    • Dan March 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm
      Today’s 83M (max) clawback may speed things up a little. The trick might be cheap, but it ain’t free.
  7. gary s. March 3, 2012 at 12:26 am
    Every time i see a Met with a future (Duda, Davis,Harvey) and look forward to a possible bright future, i think of Fred and his idiot son and realize that with them in charge there is no future for these players as Mets, because the owners have no money to sign them in a year or two.
  8. Sheilah Rauch March 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm
    I agree with all of the fans. I hope that ” fred” will sell the team and his stupid son will shut up. Without jose reyes the team is lost . Even my 8year old granddaughter realizes that!
  9. Realist Mets Fan March 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm
    Hey, wait a second. They ARE giving us REO Speedwagon for FREE this season. Maybe they can get 80s sensation “The Outfield” to play the outfield.
    • dan capwell March 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm
      Anyone else find the irony in the Cheap Trick announcement?