Fred Wilpon is approached at Citi Field, asked about next year’s payroll and says “Ask Sandy.”
Sandy Alderson is approached a couple of days later with the same question and says “I haven’t discussed it with ownership yet.”
Which way does the wind blow? Will the player personnel budget increase or decrease further in 2013? Will moves be made to improve the disappointing product on the field? Is 2013 to be the major stepping stone to the promised Nirvana of 2014? Will the Mets finally be better than mediocre-at-best?
Well, if Fred and Sandy don’t know, we fans certainly don’t. And that’s a problem for the rest of 2012 and probably for 2014, as well. Whatever the plan is, in the going-forward it is wrapped up tighter than the Pentagon Papers were. I can understand Sandy Alderson being reluctant to lay out his entire strategy, naked for all the world to see. I can get not blabbing away whatever leverage you might have among free-agents-to-be or revealing your overall arc to the other 29 Major League front offices.
But can we get a hint?
For an organization that had staked so much of this season on improving attendance over a decent-but-far-from-great 2011 – over and over we heard about a $70 million loss in 2011 and how there was precious little new revenue to be had, other than better attendance, to reverse that trend for 2012 – it sure has done a good job of sabotaging itself. Other than their smoke-and-mirrors first half, this team has given a fan no reason at all to fork over any precious funds and take a seat at the not-so-ol’ ballpark. Oh, they’ll tout the latest post-game concert or bobblehead giveaway, but that alone won’t draw what they need. They have two things playing against them in that regard: first of all, Bill Veeck is dead; secondly, this is New York. Unfortunately for them and us, the Yankees have spoiled the whole area. Winning is what counts. Winning is what will bring people into the building. Winning is what will create a legacy. As is painfully obvious, there hasn’t been a lot of that in Queens for years. These owners and this front office aren’t talking about how they intend to reverse this course. They’re telling us they don’t know how.
Meanwhile, we’re distracted from yet another on-field disaster by a miniature replay of last season’s 9/11 “Capgate”. R.A. Dickey was forced to remove a friendship bracelet his daughter had given him prior to his ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro back in January. He’d been wearing it while he pitched all season long – and such a fine season it’s been. As soon as it was removed, balls commenced going over buildings. Dickey gave up approximately 9,000 feet of home runs at Great American Ballpark last night (8/15). Selective enforcement of an obscure rule is never pretty, and Dickey & Terry Collins felt picked on.
Sounds about right for the Mets, actually.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley