Sunday, February 06, 2011

N.Y. METS ~ Wilpon vs. Fan; Fight-On or Sell? Part One

From the Desk of ~ HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


Fred Wilpon ~ His Troubles presently stem from Bernie Madoff, the Trustee, and the Lawsuit being brought against him.  But his real PROBLEM lies with us; The Fan.  And there's nothing the Media can do about it.


The Case for Mets Fans Wanting Fred Wilpon to Sell the Team:

Well, for starters, if he would have been as emphatic and stern with conviction towards the state of his team and the on-field results at various times, as he's been with the stance he's taking against the Madoff Trustee, we'd probably be a little more sympathetic towards his current dilemma.  But when you take into consideration that Fred Wilpon had numerous opportunities to set the record straight with his hard working, loyal, paying Fan Base and failed to do so in an open and timely manner, it's an affront to the people who foot the bill,  i.e.; - Us.  Revealing just how dire their situation is only when he finds the Doomsday Clock striking two minutes to Midnight is insulting at best considering the abundant publicity circulating during the whole life of the Madoff Scandal.

But this is just the back-end of  30+ years under his partial or full ownership.  Under the Wilpon's (and Doubleday) ownership, what started out with Order under Frank Cashen's leadership as GM of the Mets, turned drastically into Chaos after Cashen retired.  Order has been absent from this organization since.  This now encompasses a period of 20 years.

After Cashen retired, Al Harazin ushered in the Age of Super-Soakers, Fireworks, and Tours of the Bronx courtesy of Bobby Bonilla (whom still remains on the Mets payroll to this day in yet another Wilpon financial machination).  Then, Joe McIlvaine, on his way out the door heading off to San Diego said he was sick and tired of all the Front Office in-fighting going on with the Mets.  Jerry Hunsicker too, would later leave this organization but was more delicate and tactful in describing the Chaos reigning in the Front Offices of METropolis.  When Joe McIlvaine did return as GM of the Mets, Fred Wilpon couldn't get his GM to tell him where he was going, where he'd been, or get him to return his calls.

Then there was the Florida Marlins post-1997 fire-sale, the acquisition of Mike Piazza and the matter of retaining him in a Mets uniform.  Nelson Doubleday was adamant about signing Mike Piazza.  Fred Wilpon was against the expenditure and the two clashed over the deal.  Nelson Doubleday also wanted to renovate Shea Stadium while Fred Wilpon always had his mind set on building his Ode to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  We all understand by now how contentious the relationship between the two partners was.  By the end of 2002, Fred Wilpon purchased Nelson Doubleday's half of the team.  On his way out, Nelson Doubleday had nary a kind word to say about Fred Wilpon, and even less gracious things to say about Jeff Wilpon.  Saul Katz is part of the Family, so the prospects of a discord between the Wilpons and him are safely said to be slim.  But what's to say Fred and Jeff Wilpon will not foster an equally contentious relationship with the next potential limited or half partner(s) of the Mets, especially if they want to implement new ideas?

Let's resume with a reminder of a GM who had to take a leave of absence from the team due to a "sex scandal" occurring inside their continuing Front Office Gone Wild atmosphere, and the continued reliance by the Wilpons on post-Cashen neophytes running his club.  Then how was the GM matter handled by the Wilpon's after hiring Jim Duquette?  While still in office, the Wilpons hired Omar Minaya long before Jim Duquette's body could get cold and rigor mortis set in.  They handled it shabbily....As Shabbily as Fred, Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya handled the Willie Randolph firing.

After 1990, aside from some success in 1999-2000, and 2006 with Willie, this team has spent more time in a state of folly, than it has being an organization maximizing upon it's market situation, financial potential, business strength and attractive lure, to draw in top level Executives and/or Front Office expertise.  Instead, especially since the 2003 season, the fan base has been beset with one bad decision after another with Tony Bernazard being a mere twig on an already rotting tree.  Want more?  Just look back on all the Medical hi-jinx that has gone on with this Club.  It just hints to the fact since the days of Frank Cashen, the steady devolving of the Mets continued all the way into our present day.  Whether those decisions have been made on the field, in player personnel, scouting, administration, the Front Office, or Ownership, - it seems the last nine years have garnered more ridicule than results and all matters of accountability must start at the top.

Bereft of an idea, they had to seek the Commissioner of Baseball's advice to find a suitable replacement to be their General Manager, and quite frankly, save their whole operation.  They held many interviews for their GM position, but ultimately, as this was their first time operating solo, without a net, and without any practical experience in Baseball Executive matters, they could only base a potential Executive's ability to fill their opening on...Nothing; That's right...Nothing!  

For the first time the Wilpons were independent of a familiar light guiding them through the dark so they relied on the Commissioner's suggestion.  And only then, did Sandy Alderson agree to interview at the Commissioner's behest.  And that was no interview; - That was an appointment!  How fortunate for the Wilpons.  Because were it not for Sandy Alderson, the N.Y. Mets were about to hand over their organization to an incredibly unknown, unproven, Newbie.  That could have very well set in motion the final and most complete implosion of  WILPONianism...until this lawsuit against the Wilpons rolled around.  That said, at this point, it may be too late for the Wilpons regardless of Sandy Alderson.

Many agree (many don't), that for as long as the Wilpons remain as owners of the New York Mets,  the perceived black cloud over Flushing will never go away.  It will just continue to darken, and keep raining down gloom upon the fans at Citi Field.  They may be right this time with fans and Media united in thought.  In nearly a half-century of Mets Baseball, throughout the decades we Have Proudly Been a stable Franchise.  And now, over the last 8 years, entering a 9th, the Wilpons have brought terrible instability (not to mention insanity) upon our team, and aggravated the situation by not being forthright with their customers and fan base.

Because of that, the relationship between the Wilpons and the Fans may finally have been irreparably damaged and this time, it's personal.  Even the Media can not chose sides or affect the relationship between us because they are inconsequential in this rift between Fan and Owner.  The Media can't make Fans go to games, nor can a Sportswriter make an Owner do well; or sell his enterprise.  But when Fans draw their line in the "stands" and stop showing up because their Owner allowed the relationship to deteriorate over time and then got lied to, well, sometimes.., things get to a point of no return.  And in Mr.Wilpons case, that means fans returning to our seats and showing confidence in him.  We can always watch our favorite players at home and save ourselves a fortune in the process.  If the Fans have indeed turned on you Mr. Wilpon, you may have no choice but to sell the whole damn thing because the truth is, you just can't afford the Team if we really stop going to games this season.  You're down somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% already.

You once had a Golden Opportunity to really hit a Grand Slam with the Fans and finally, truly and fully re-secure our unyielding loyalty once and for all (considering I did get a Championship out of you in my lifetime).  Instead, you grounded into a Triple Play and ruined any rally we generated together in 2006. 

How?  Why?

Our Met History was made to feel second rate to your affinity with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  The shrine on Roosevelt Avenue bears that out.  You took away our pinstripes years ago, but you then hid our Apple back near the junk yards to start life at Citi.  You didn't even know enough to to have a Grand Opening of the Field inclusive with a Mets Hall of Fame in it; not to mention, nary a Mets representation of our History anywhere.  That came later in a reactive move, after we demanded we get all that back!  And if all that was actually originally planned for Year Two anyway.....,

SHAME ON YOU!!  Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!  The luxury boxes were ready though...weren't they?

I am a Brooklynite, and get as misty-eyed about the Dodgers as any former fan of the Bums anytime I get the chance.  Believe me when I say that ~ BUT Not at the Expense of My Favorite Baseball Team; The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club and our own Beloved History. 

The shrine to the Dodgers as much as the rapid decline of the team since '06 strained any good-will the Wilpons might have gained since that season.  And now, any confidence the Fans had tethered to the Wilpons in light of the newest developments involving the Madoff swindle have painted everything over with a coat of Despair.

Maybe, just maybe, the National League Baseball Team of New York City has not yet realized, reached or achieved it's maximum potential, and it's because it's present Ownership has reached it's own Law of Diminished Returns.  Perhaps, we depleted all their growth potential back in 2006 with Minaya and the mistakes he made afterwards.  In light of the Madoff Dilemma, maybe they were operating with less Real Money than we thought all along.  If that's the case, perhaps the Wilpons were ill equipped to operate the Mets Franchise as sole owners to begin with; then decimated themselves with debt on the new park; just like Nelson Doubleday wanted to avoid.  Or...something like that.

The Sterling enterprises might be more indicative of the titan Fred Wilpon really is in a business sense and in that sphere of life..  But he's demonstrated when operating the New York Mets, he's no such thing.  Instead, under sole ownership of Fred, Jeff and Saul, except for one year, the Mets have teetered more towards disappointing and terrible while their respectability is tanking right along side their Portfolios.

And so,  now..., Bad just got Worse.  Their very Baseball existence is in question.

Our original owner; Mrs. Payson, was an old New York Giants Fan who created MET History.  Our *second owner; Mr. Wilpon is an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan, who has done more over the years since 1986 to contribute to MET Misery than Kenny Rogers or Yadier Molina have.  He's been here the longest and holds the baton.

Perhaps, the resources that playing in New York City can provide a team with have been underutilized, or worse, mis-used, mistreated or wrongly applied.  Perhaps, a new Owner with a different vision and a different methodology applied to our team, can take the "newest" National League Club of New York City to a level more emblematic and representative of what playing in Empire City can be and what being a MET is all about, more like Joan did, and the angry one who left did.

The case for Mets Fans wanting Fred Wilpon to retain the team:


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