Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Call Me Skeptical, But…

Posted by JD on October 18, 2010

There are half a dozen or so good candidates involved in the Mets’ search for a new general manager (Patrick Flood analyzes each of them here), but I can’t shake the suspicion that it doesn’t really matter who ultimately gets the job: Fred and Jeff Wilpon will still be signing the new GM’s paycheck, and no matter how many good intentions they have (or how much “autonomy” they concede) the root causes of the current malaise will still be lurking in the background.

That’s not to say that the new GM, whoever it may be, can’t breathe new life into the team. Omar Minaya had a nice run in 2005-06, before the collapses and injuries combined with his lack of a clear vision to derail the team, and Jeff Wilpon steadily assumed a higher profile in the baseball operations.  

I know I’m being unfairly negative. This is a time of change for the organization: the right hire might satisfy the Wilpons to the point that they feel comfortable distancing themselves from the day-to-day operations. The right general manager might be able to change the organizational structure in such way that it can function after he’s gone, and the team might even win a championship while it’s happening. I should at least give the Wilpons a chance to go through their process before writing it off.

But I can’t. I can’t bring myself to buy in to what they’re selling. After all, it was only five years ago that we went through this very process, and look how that turned out. Yes, all good things come to an end, and general managers (and managers) are “hired to be fired,” but the fact that the Omar Minaya era ended in almost the exact same way it began (in a state of organizational confusion) is most disheartening. Yes, ’05 and ’06 and even most of ’07 were good times for the Mets. I won’t discount that. But ’08 and ’09 and now ’10 are so analogous to ’02 and ’03 and ’04 that I cannot ignore the feeling of déjà vu.

I hope very much that I am wrong. I hope that Fred and Jeff have learned their lesson. I hope that they hire someone they trust enough to grant true autonomy, and that they then honor that throughout that person’s tenure. I hope that if it doesn’t work out, they can fire that person cleanly rather than killing them slowly with a thousand cuts of ownership interference. I hope all of these things, and there’s a chance that they could all happen. I just don’t think it’s a very good chance.

Your move, Fred and Jeff. Prove me wrong. Nothing would make me happier.

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4 Responses to “Call Me Skeptical, But…”

  1. Paul said

    You have to give the new guy a chance to turn things around. If you don’t believe that anybody can as long as the Wilpons own the Mets, it’s probably time to look for a new team to root for.

    • JD said

      Like I said, it could be that I’m just being too negative right now. I also sense that I probably wouldn’t have written this post had they won it in ’06 (or maybe even if they had made the playoffs in ’07 or ’08). I sense that I would have though, because my opinion (and it’s only an opinion: I have no inside info at all) is that Minaya wasn’t strong enough with the owners, and he allowed them to exercise too much day-to-day authority. Hopefully, they have the sense to hire someone strong to replace Minaya (and in fairness, rumors do indicate that they’re going in that direction), because if they don’t we’ll most likely see their involvement increase again. I just can’t bring myself to fully buy into it yet.

      But you’re right, I should give the new guy a chance first. I’ll try to be fair as we go forward.

  2. JJ said

    I can’t agree with you more JD. It’s not negativity. It’s reality. I have been saying this to anyone that will listen for years now. It’s all too familiar to all those bad years with Leon Hess as Jets owner. They have no plan. They’ve established no team “culture”. I hate to say it but you go to Yankee Stadium and you can sense the professionalism right down to the NY logo on the napkins! Thw Wilpons consistently make “odd” decisions. Just look at CitiField: a 16′ left field wall? (I guess we’ll never see an Endy-type catch again); the apple? people seem to like it but all it does is remind me of the late 70s early 80s; the lack of Mets history, especially in ’09; selling DODGERS jerseys in the Mets shop – I dont care if it’s Brooklyn jerseys it’s still not the Mets; more recognition for non-Mets (Jackie Ronbinson, Bill Shea) than actual Mets – we have a friggin Apple in a Hat outside the stadium! What a joke! Where’s the statue of Seaver? or Hodges even? Every other team has honored there greats in obvious ways – not by naming an entrance after them. WTF is that?! ANd don’t get me started on the uniforms… black??!? They have the worst PR team ever! Horowitz has to go. Reminds me of a minor-league team.

    Now, I realize that none of these are baseball decisions but I do believe that all of this creates a vaccuum where team identity is concerned. And I believe this affects the performance on the field. Teams like the Yankees consider anything but a World Series a disappointing year. They will everything – EVERYTHING – within their power to win, and they dont make excuses for it. They identify a player they want and they go get him.

    It won’t matter who the GM and manager are. Do you think the Mets would have won 4 series in the late 90s if Cashman was the GM and Torre the manager of the Mets? No way. Instead they’ll put together a good year every once in a while, but nothing consistent, not while the Wilpons own the team.

  3. Hi, I thought I would forward this to you (from the Mets website)in case you haven’t seen it. Cheers, (but not for the Mets) Bill

    Dear Mets Fans:

    As you may know, earlier today we completed the initial round of interviews with six talented candidates to become the new General Manager of the New York Mets.

    Each was extremely impressive – Allard Baird, Rick Hahn, Josh Byrnes, Sandy Alderson, Logan White, and Dana Brown. All reiterated their desire and interest in pursuing this opportunity.

    We will be in direct communication with each as we narrow the candidate pool by early next week. We subsequently will invite the leading candidates back to meet with Fred, Saul, and me.

    We have an outstanding group from which to select our new General Manager. We look forward to sharing more information with you soon.

    Sincerely,

    Jeff Wilpon

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