Uh-Oh, Jeff is Speaking Again


Before getting to the main topic, congratulations to Johan Santana. Before the season started, I expected this Mets team to be a laughingstock and on the wrong end of at least 90, if not 95 games. Instead of bumbling through another miserable season, the Mets are perhaps serving notice that 2012 is the season they turn the corner. The clubhouse culture has changed, there are promising young players both here and in the pipeline, some key veterans are finally healthy and playing time is being doled out on merit, instead of contract status or cronyism. The best part of the season was that it had been played without a peep from either Wilpon.

Well, that streak ended last Wednesday, when Jeff Wilpon appeared behind a microphone to discuss a potential contract extension for Third Baseman David Wright. Jeff spoke nicely about how important David is to the team, the city and to him personally and how he thinks the extension talks “need time” to “see how it plays out.”

Wow, what relevancy. What’s next, he’s in favor of sunshine at day games, shorter lines at the Shake Shack and no delays on the L.I.E? This reminds me of someone who while taking shelter from a rainstorm, sticks his hand out from underneath the cover to see if it is safe to come out again. Perhaps he is following the direction of some PR firm on how to repair his mangled image. “Go out and talk nice about David Wright, Jeff; see how people react.” Consider this a thunderclap, Jeff and please go back inside. Fortunately, Wright ended this useless speculation over the weekend, stating he will not re-negotiate a contract during the 2012 season.

Back to Jeff. Remember, this man is the Chief Operating Officer of the Mets. In theory, only his father, who owns the team, has more power. Family ties apparently trump training, education or experience as qualifiers for the COO spot. Yeah, as the owners they can do whatever they want with the team, I get that. What makes it tough is how they continue to act like they think they can hoodwink perhaps the most wised-up fan base in all of the sport. Did anyone else think those comments sounded a lot like the ones GM Sandy Alderson said last year about Jose Reyes? Does anyone else get the feeling that Jeff may be taking advantage of our distraction over the team’s play to wriggle his way back into the picture?

Back in February, I was inspired to post that the Wilpons have a credibility problem. As was pointed out years ago here, even Jeff’s claim to have played minor league baseball is specious. The Wilpons are very successful in other areas, are probably very deserving of their wealth and have certainly supported some worthwhile ventures, but when it comes to the Mets, they just can’t seem to do much right. Look no further than Jeff’s signature COO project, overseeing the Citi Field construction. Notice that it has been nearly completely made over since its 2009 opening? Even worse, it was hinted anonymously that those horrific outfield dimensions were the brainchild of the since disgraced and departed Tony Bernazard. I wonder who leaked that?

Despite the improved play, recent history shows the Mets to be a very combustible element. Most of their immolations these past few years occurred in late July and early August. Avoiding another one again this year is the big challenge facing Alderson and manager Terry Collins. That gargantuan task will only be made harder if a spotlight-jonesing owner’s son is crouching in the shadows just waiting to interject himself once more back into the center of the mix.

So what to do? As Friday night showed, it is getting harder and harder to stay away from the product on the field. I have long been an advocate for a home-grown team. Well we have one now and I really like it. I can’t ignore them.

We do however, have another option. Ever since this image-conscious regime went too far and broke up 1986-1988 Mets, they have never ceased fretting over public opinion. There was a passage in The Worst Team Money Could Buy about someone (I think it was Fred) opening the Post, the News, Newsday and the Times each morning to “see what those bastards are saying about us now.” Public pressure swayed them to trade for Mike Piazza. (Just ask Mike Francessa). More recently, look at how quickly they shoe horned in a Mets Museum and other Metsian trappings at Citi Field after the collective WTF over its debut as homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

They pay attention. So, tell Jeff to shut up, sit down, and let the baseball people make the baseball decisions (there’s a concept). Sound off here, on Metsblog, the Met Home page, Twitter, WFAN, 1050, SNY, the papers, at restaurants, over beers, at the water cooler. Remind him again and again and again that we are both wise to and fed up with him.

He’ll hear it.

Tags:

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 Communications Coordinator. He is married, lives in Bethlehem PA and has a 10-year-old son who unfortunately roots for the Phillies.
  1. Dano June 4, 2012 at 6:12 am
    They own the team. Get over it. They have the right to say or do whatever they want regarding the team. If you don’t like it, just find another team to root for.

    I am sick and tired of this certain segment of Mets fans who continue to whine and pout over the current ownership, even as the team has rebounded this year to impressive respectability.

    They already did the right thing at the end of 2010 by hiring a smart GM, Alderson, and letting him run the baseball side of things. The owners have not interfered up to now, so just sit back and let Alderson do his job and stop complaining about nothing. Especially about what the Wilpons may or may not say to the media. Which is pretty irrelevant in relation to the product that is put on the field every day.

    • gary s. June 4, 2012 at 8:36 am
      You are entitled to your say.So is the author.The Wilponzi’s have been wrong way more than right in most of their decisions.Wake up and smell the coffee
    • HobieLandrith June 4, 2012 at 8:48 am
      “Hiring a smart GM, Alderson, and letting him run the baseball side of things”

      That’s a hysterical comment. Everyone knows Bud Selig hired Alderson for the Mets, and now that the Madoff thing is settled, and Bud doesn’t need to babysit his boy Fred, Jeff Wilpon most assuredly is back to running the team (if he ever stopped, which is debatable). It’s his toy, after all.

      Almost as funny is the “impressive respectability” comment. It’s early June. Check back at the trade deadline and we’ll see where the Mets are. They’ve been “impressively respectable” in early June of every year for the past seven years. Big woop.

    • Andy June 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm
      As a fan and (often) paying customer I feel I have the right to complain if management isn’t running things correctly. Also I’m hope they realize that we still don’t have a bullpen.
  2. hart June 4, 2012 at 9:57 am
    Big +1 to Capwell’s well-written post.
  3. derek June 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm
    how is brandon nimmo doing in extended spring training???

    draft day today….what is our first pick last yr up to?

  4. Matt June 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    I was kind of hoping something like this would get written. It should be made loud and clear the Mets’ success right now is in spite of its owners – not because of it.

    On the image question, is the only reason Jason Bay will be back in the line-up so the team can save face on his huge salary? I always root for the guy, but should “release” be on anyone else’s mind?

    • Vic June 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm
      I totally agree about the success being in spite of the owners. But as for J Bay, i’d say they really need him to play well if they’re going to realistically contend for the full season. You can’t release him because you’d still have to pay him 16 million bucks this year and next year. No way will they allow him to get 600 plate appearances next year to kick in his 17M option for 2014 though
  5. gary s. June 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm
    Jason K got a boo boo in Florida and called in sick today.Getting rid of him is addition by subtraction.He has to go just like Perez and Castillo did
    • Crozier June 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm
      Bay has not lived up to his billing, no question. But I find it irritating (to say the least) to see him lumped in with Perez and Castillo, who were the antithesis of team players and leaders. Bay plays hard, has not indulged in self-pity or made excuses, and provides guidance and support to the many young players on this over-achieving team. Dislike his numbers, but it’s nonsense to categorize him as a cancer or a wimp. Bay isn’t afraid to break his ribs to make a play; can you make that claim?
  6. Joe June 5, 2012 at 11:55 am
    I respect the sentiment but these guys run the team & expecting them to not say anything is a bit much. The guy said some vanilla type comments. Great. See you in a few months when you can say some more of the same.