Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Small Step for Jeff Wilpon; One Giant Leap for METSkind

The N.Y. Mets will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce the hiring of Sandy Alderson as the next General Manager of the Metropolitan Baseball Club.

Let's do this...

1) - Did Jeff Wilpon smartly engage in a process by which he arrived at the decision to present Sandy Alderson to Saul Katz and Pop, for the purposes of hiring him as the next General Manager of the Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York? 

I've posted in the past Jeff Wilpon should seek consultation from outside the organization before formulating a plan.  I expressed along the way my lack of full confidence Jeff Wilpon would get this right.  That said,  the short answer is YES.

Jeff Wilpon, aided by John Ricco (who has been lambasted repeatedly by yours truly), conducted, in my opinion, his due diligence with the manner of a "seasoned Baseball Man" (Wink wink...Nelson Doubleday).  The process undertook by Jeff Wilpon seemed thorough enough to satisfy Met Fan's expectations; including me (one of the Wilpon's harshest critics, but someone who really does like them and doesn't admit it enough.  I guess it's the Brooklyn thing).

The Florida Marlins told us to get lost as did the Tigers.  The one who intrigued me most from the Asst. GM pool, Logan White (L.A.), was in the mix but was subsequently re-signed by the Dodgers.  The Mets spoke with Asst. GM's from the White Sox-(Rick Hahn ); Arizona-(Josh Byrnes ) and Red Sox-(Allard Baird).  Jeff sought permission from clubs for possible considerations earnestly, in a very timely manner and with conviction formed a large enough group of candidates (I won't list all) which included Sandy Alderson.  Outside of Sandy Alderson the list of candidates was light on persons with actual General Manager experience but turning that one factor into a point of contention is something I will gladly pass on.  Fred Wilpon is also said to have lobbied for Alderson to be hired once he was presented to the "Board of Directors" by Jeff.

2) - Of the candidates available and interviewed, are the METS securing the person best suited to manage The Wilpon's resources and restore competitive order to the HOUSE of FRED?

That depends on what side of the fence you were on.  Did you want to be a little daring and hire someone from the pool of Assistants?  Or, did you want someone who was more established and someone with experience winning on the Major League level?

I honestly believe there is no wrong answer to that question.  I would have been OK either way because the very thing I've clamoured about for well over a year has been realized.  I'll elaborate on that shortly.  But I'm happy to reveal that I concur with the appointment of Sandy Alderson as our next General Manager.  I've had a fascination with Logan White and would have been very supportive if somehow he were named.  But with the way the process played out and the eventual decision to hire Sandy, I say with confidence as a fan, I am happy with Jeff Wilpon's selection.  I've had the pleasure of reading a very exact synopsis of Sandy Alderson's career authored by the Prince of NY on his Baseball Blog.  Please read his analysis regarding Sandy Alderson's career HERE.   It's not exactly an Ode to the next Mets' GM, but under the circumstances I believe Sandy Alderson is the right person, right now for the Wilpon's ownership group to continue remaining a viable entity.

And now, if you're so inclined, I'd invite you to read a posting I published in December of 2009 about the N.Y. Mets and Fred Wilpon's General Managerial hirings over the last 30 years and how 2010 represented the most important year of his entire ownership;  and more acutely, Fred's sole ownership over the last 8 years. 

For the longest I've begged the Mets to go outside the organization for their next GM.  After 30 years of in-house promotions the Wilpon's were faced with the end of a long line of executives put in place and left behind by Frank Cashen first and Steve Phillips afterwards.  Omar Minaya represented the very last link in the continuous 30 year chain of GMs, to include the first and only GM which came from outside the organization; Frank Cashen.  I invite you to read that posting HERE.  titled: A Concise Concatenate of Mets' GM's and Life Under WILPONianism (2009).

The Mets have done what I wanted them to do for some time now, which was go off campus and bring in a new brain to stimulate a collectively stale, in-bred front office mind.  That said, this Mets organization and me move forward from here.

Sandy Alderson will no doubt want to restructure and/or renovate The HOUSE of FRED.  So the reality is the Front Office issues have not all gone away yet.  But the man charged to remedy them is now in place.

3) - Do we now consider "The Saul B. Katz Dilemma" case closed?

What was the Saul B. Katz Dilemma  as coined and defined by.., me?  Very simply, the Saul B. Katz Dilemma was none other that the SON Of PON himself; Jeff Wilpon - the Son who wanted to be a Baseball Man.  The Saul B. Katz Dilemma was life in METropoliS in the year 8 A.D. (After Doubleday).  The Saul B. Katz Dilemma was The Age of WILPONianism.

Earlier this month, this is what I had to say on the day Omar and Jerry Manuel were let go in "The Day METropoliS Stood Still":
"WELCOME, finally to October 7, 2010 ~ THE DAY METropoliS STOOD STILL.

This will be quick.

Welcome to the day Mets fans have clamoured for. Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel have been relieved from their respective duties. Jerry Manuel's club option will not be picked up and Omar's remaining two years owed him under terms of his contract will be made whole. Omar was asked by the Wilpons about a re-assignment within the organization, but both Omar and Jeff agreed it would have to be the new GM's decision to maintain such an employment agreement. I honestly do not see that happening. Omar will most likely move on and in all likelihood do very well somewhere else.

Let's understand this will be the third General Manager the Wilpons will be hiring since they became sole owners. Remember, this will be the first GM hired from off-campus. Jeff Wilpon said very plainly there are no in-house candidates for the position at this time. The office of GM will be filled by an outside entity for the first time since Frank Cashen himself. The Wilpons will not be dealing with a Frank Cashen or Steve Phillips disciple this time around. Jeff and Fred both seemed to re-emphasize and even champion themselves for running their organization in a very un-corporate-like manner. They proudly repeated they, the club, more resembles a Family Operation, during today's press conference. And that's all OK for me. Besides, we know all that already.

Here's the dilemma. Is Jeff hiring this GM? Jeff said he and John Ricco will brainstorm together to formulate a plan to move forward with.

Jeff and John Ricco? See? Here's the problem regarding Jeff Wilpon thinking he's a Baseball man. I'd prefer Jeff did something prudent like bring in a consultant and assemble a think tank and move forward towards a GM from there. All Jeff has is on-the-job training on his resume. Do we not see an inherent problem here?

Is Jeff going to hire a General Manger or someone who just plays one on TV?

Does Jeff even have enough Baseball acumen to conduct interviews? After all, this will be a whole new process for the Wilpons. These are uncharted waters for the S.S. Wilpon.

If the Mets really want to get this right, they should be seeking professional consultation, or at minimum creating a think tank to brainstorm ideas. Jeff nor Fred, just do not have the practical experience, in my humble opinion, to conduct the interviews that will land us our best option for the future success of the Mets.

They've never had to scour the country side for an executive before.

Separation between Jeff Wilpon and the office of GM is something I'd really like to have ironed out. A Baseball qualified Team President is needed by this team because Jeff and a GM must be separated. If Jeff insists on keeping his thumb prints all over Baseball Operations, then it's into the ICEBERG we go.

...And that's the way I see things in Flushing."

So, again, what do we make of the Saul B. Katz Dilemma; Jeff Wilpon?

I offer him this.  You did very well for yourself Jeff.  I am impressed and proud my organization acted with swiftness and conviction of mind and action.  I applaud your efforts conducting a professional and well expedited interviewing process and ultimately deciding to select Sandy Alderson as your candidate to put before the Mets' Executive Board of Dudes; which includes, respectfully yours, Jeff Wilpon.

By the very implication of hiring a Sandy Alderson type, we the fan base feel as if you knowingly and willingly lifted, what we perceived and believed to be your interdicting fingerprints from the Daily Baseball Operations; the very fingerprints we, I, accused you of meddling into Omar Minaya's duties with and smudging our outlook with regards to matters Citi By The Bay.  This should not go understated.  It takes a big and smart business man to relinquish even a fraction of his power, willingly.  And now I think we all realize Sandy Alderson represents some very solid and real structure is headed Flushing's way.

Had Jeff hired one of the new wave assistants, even my thought, Logan White, I would still be insisting this team's need for a Team President to put separation between Jeff Wilpon and the Office of the General Manager.  I'd be saying the collegial structure was "out of control" collegial,  how the lines of responsibility were blurred and how Phantom Menace Jeff would still be calling the shots.

Jeff Wilpon has rendered all that mute.

From the day you visited the club in Atlanta back in May through this very evening, there is not a different way I can think how I would have expected the C.O.O. of the N.Y. Mets Baseball Club to handle the matters you had in hand.

I will say to you Jeff Wilpon, -  Job Well Done!  From this moment on, we move forward together on the same page of music.

The official announcement doesn't happen till tomorrow, so right now is incredibly premature, not to mention a ridiculous time for Jeff to turn and flick the proverbial "middle finger" over towards Nelson Doubleday's way.  But that day may come after all, when Jeff can reflect back on Nelson Doubleday and think to himself, or out loud, and say, "How do ya like me now?"

He could tell me that, and worse, if that be his want and be right for doing so.  And that's why I took it upon myself to cut me a great big piece of humble pie, and remind everyone where I have stood along the way.  Not that I was wrong in my beliefs, but in my criticisms of Jeff and the fun I enjoyed having at his expense.

The Saul B. Katz Dilemma seems settled for now.  When we wake up tomorrow morning the calendar will say, Day One of the New METS' Era.



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