Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Fred Wilpon’

Triples!

Posted by JD on May 30, 2011

After attending today’s sweep averting Mets’ win and witnessing Jose Reyes at his very best, I decided to head over to Baseball-Reference.com and see how many players have had three games in a season in which they hit two or more triples. It’s a short list: only 13 other players have ever done it. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that only two players have done it since the first wave of expansion: Kenny Lofton in 1995 (in a strike-shortened season: wow) and Carl “The Perfect Storm” Crawford in 2004. Crawford actually had four games with two or more triples, which ties him for the record with Bill Terry and Barney McCosky.

Fitting, no? In the same week in which Fred Wilpon dinged Reyes for wanting “Carl Crawford money”, Reyes goes out and becomes the first player since The Perfect Storm to have three multiple-triple games in the same season. It was a silly comment when he made it and Reyes has only made it look sillier.  I truly hope it was an off-the-cuff thing by Wilpon and that when he left his message for Reyes he apologized for what he said (as opposed to apologizing for saying it to a reporter for a national magazine). Why does that distinction matter to me? Because I’d hate to think that Wilpon has never looked at their stats.

Even thought they both debuted in the majors at the age of 20, Crawford is almost two years older (he’s currently in his age 29 season while Reyes is in his age 28 season). Here are their slash numbers through their age 27 seasons (2009 for Crawford, 2010 for Reyes): .295/.335/.437/.772 for Crawford, .286/.335/.434/.769. Crawford’s advantage boils down to .009 in batting average and .003 in slugging average. That’s a wash, and it doesn’t even consider the fact that Reyes is a shortstop. Reyes also finished eighth in Rookie of the Year voting, went to two All-Star games, won the Silver Slugger once, and received MVP votes in four consecutive seasons. Crawford didn’t get a single Rookie of the Year vote, went to three All-Star games, and received MVP votes in one season. Through their age 27 seasons, I could argue that Reyes deserved more money than Crawford and not get laughed out of the conversation.

Crawford’s age 28 season was excellent (he was an All Star, won the Silver Slugger, and got MVP votes), so there’s that. But their career lines are still very similar: .295/.335/.442/.777 for Crawford and .288/.337/.435/.772. So, since I’m trying to be generous, I’ll just attribute Wilpon’s comments to his frustration at the time. Because it’s pretty clear to me that Reyes has every right to ask for “Carl Crawford money”.

I apologize if this is the 437th post you’ve read about Wilpon’s comments in the New Yorker. Jose Reyes is my favorite player and a big, big reason why I keep renewing my season tickets. I just love watching the guy play and it pained me to read that the owner of my favorite team casually dismissed his salary demands (and, by extension, his future with the Mets). It cut close to the bone and I’m still trying to process it. For all I know, Wilpon intends to spend a lot of money on Reyes and this is something we’ll all look back and laugh at in a few years. I sure hope so. But just to be safe, I’ll be attending every game I can while he’s still here. I’m going to enjoy watching Jose Reyes play while I still can.

Posted in Jose Reyes, Mets, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

More Madoff Stuff

Posted by JD on February 4, 2011

Craig Calcaterra provides his commentary on another New York Times article about Bernie Madoff and the Mets’ ownership group. This one is worse than the article I linked to in my previous post, as it highlights the lawsuit filed by the spouse of a former Wilpon employee that contends that the Mets owner was negligent and conflicted in investing employee 401K’s with Madoff. This comes in advance of the unsealing of the trustee’s lawsuit later today. All in all, not a good day to be a Wilpon.

I’ve done a lot thinking on the whole situation since my previous post. I stand by my assertion that, in the very best case scenario, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, and other Mets officials involved will be found guilty of a stunning lack of financial acumen. It could (obviously) wind up being much worse, but that’s the baseline we’re working with here. And as such, that’s about as much as I can say on the topic. Out of curiosity, I’m going to look at the lawsuits just to see what’s in them. But I’m not a lawyer, so I doubt I’ll have much of any value to contribute on the topic.

And quite frankly, even if I do, I’m exhausted by the whole affair. It’s February, players are already in Port St. Lucie getting ready for the coming season, and I’m kind of done with the lawsuits and ownership sales. Yes, these topics will impact the franchise in profound ways, some of which are impossible to predict at the moment. But I want to think (and write) about baseball. I reserve the right to come back to the topic, but for now I’m moving on. And in that spirit, I will present you with a mind-numbing post about Scott Erickson shortly. Enjoy.

If you are looking for top-notch commentary on the Madoff/Wilpon situation, you have to read Craig Calcaterra’s posts on the matter over at Hardball Talk. Calcaterra is a former lawyer and a top-notch blogger, and I find his take on this issue indispensable.

UPDATE: The documents have been unsealed. Here’s Craig’s take on it. Short version: not good. But read the details for yourself.

Posted in Mets, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finance 101, And How the Wilpons Failed It

Posted by JD on February 2, 2011

The New York Times published an excellently researched piece on Bernie Madoff’s wide role in Mets’ finances. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk summarized the piece perfectly, and Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing offers a thoughtful, Bobby Bonilla-laced commentary here. Excellent works all, reading them consecutively left me sad, mostly for Madoff’s victims and Mets fans, but for Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, too.

You can put this post in the category of “kicking a guy when he’s already down”, but I cannot get over the fact that men who were smart enough to build a successful real estate business in one of the most competitive markets in the world could display such staggering incompetence in personal and corporate finance. Yes, complicated investment vehicles often require degrees in mathematics to fully understand. But finance, at it’s heart, is driven by some very basic principals, one of the most basic of which is that returns are never guaranteed (often described by the phrase “past returns are no guarantee of future profits”). The Times article goes to great lengths to convey the impression that Fred Wilpon was very focused on the returns generated by Madoff. I wasn’t there, and I’ve never spoken with Wilpon about Madoff, but the Times certainly suggests that he was blinded by past (albeit fictional) successes.

But what is truly striking to me is how blindly Wilpon, Katz, and others ignored another fundamental axiom: there is safety in diversity. While no one investment is ever truly guaranteed, spreading your money among many different investments minimizes the chance that you’ll lose your entire fortune in one bad investment. According to the Times, Wilpon and Katz did just the opposite:

“According to an analysis of the list of Mr. Madoff’s 15,000 clients, done by Jamie Peppard, a former financial auditor who has studied the Madoff case, more than 500 accounts can be tied to Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz. Mr. Wilpon had at least 17 accounts just under his name, according to her analysis.”

I mean, that’s just astounding. Bernie Madoff sold himself to Wilpon and Katz, and they bought in wholeheartedly. I guess I understand that. Sure, I struggle with it, but I guess I can understand that they were completely taken in by Madoff. But what I absolutely cannot reconcile is how willingly they invested so much of their fortune with him. No salesman, however effective he may be, should be able to convince a successful businessman to abandon diversity altogether.

Which leads me to my final point: greed is not good. If that NY Times article is remotely accurate, the Wilpons’ fascination with the false profits Madoff was showing them blinded them. Yes, they were victims of Madoff’s ponzi scheme. But they were just as much victims of their own failure to follow common sense.

It comes down to an old saying that I learned a long time ago: “If something looks too good to be true, it most certainly is.” It saddens me that Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, and others in the Mets organization didn’t remember it when it mattered most.

Posted in Mets, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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