I’ve decided I want the Fred and Jeff Wilpon to sell the Mets. I’m at the end of my rope with these guys. Maybe 32 years is too long to hang onto something, just for the sake of hanging onto something. It’s almost as if they’re trying to prove a point: see? You can have an old-fashioned family ownership in this day-and-age. I get severely depressed whenever I think of Fred’s comment from a couple of years ago that he expects the team to end up in the hands of “Jeff’s grandchildren.” Oy…

This is why I’ve been closing my Mets-related Twitter postings with the hashtags in the title of this post. All that palaver I posted earlier in the year about the pall being lifted and blather about a new atmosphere at Citi Field? Forget it. As long as this ownership group retains Fred and Jeff at its helm, the Mets and we fans will be caught in an endless loop of just-not-good-enough. They could bring Branch Rickey back to run the front office and Miller Huggins to patrol the dugout and it still wouldn’t matter: the Wilpons will find a way to screw it up. There will be shallow highs and cavernous lows and every now-and-then things in the division will align just right and the Mets will have a winning campaign in spite of themselves. Throw the bums out!

And replace them with…who? Who is the perfect owner for this franchise? In a perfect world, I’d wish for a superhuman amalgam of a guy with Mark Cuban’s money, Stewart Sternberg’s brains and patience and George Steinbrenner’s passion.

Cuban, of course, is the go-to guy for any disgruntled fan base. Square-jawed and plain-spoken, he brings a brash attitude with him, like so much pocket change. When you’re a gozillionaire several times over, when you’re successful at just about anything you touch, you can cheese off everyone and not care. This has never as evident as in his dealings with the NBA as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. The fact that he desperately wants into MLB – and the owners simply won’t let him in the club – is further evidence. In contrast, the Wilpons are going through couch cushions, piecing together the nickels and dimes that are barely keeping the operation afloat.

Sternberg, the current owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, has been hailed high and low for hiring the smartest young baseball men he could find and letting them run the show. He has been the epitome of “Smile, shut up and sign the checks.” How the Rays can keep churning out contender after contender on a payroll of $50-$60 million a year is a prime example of doing it “the right way” – developing their own players, maximizing their strengths, selling high and doing it all over again. And he’s a Met fan. Had the Wilpons exhibited similar patience, we fans would not be subjected to Jason Bay and hearing about how Bobby Bonilla will still be on the payroll 25 years from now.

As for Steinbrenner, he needs no preamble or lengthy description. Everybody knows about George III, the force of nature. Say what you will about Big Stein – and believe me, it’s been said by me many times: he was a blustering, bullying blowhard. He ruled by fear and intimidation and sarcasm. He was a meddler and somewhat buffoonish and most agree it was only his being forcibly removed from the day-to-day operations of the Yankees that allowed them to build the last great dynasty MLB has seen – playoff appearances every year from 1995 through 2011, with the hiccup of 2008. When things didn’t go exactly his way, he’d fire off “missives:” grand statements about how various things were unacceptable and would not be tolerated. Make fun of the methods and missives all you want, but Yankee fans always knew that George was behind them, that George was thinking like them and that he was just as hacked off about certain situations as they were. The Wilpons, on the other hand, sit in their grand offices at Citi Field and never give any kind of a straight answer about what they’re thinking. We fans can only assume that losing teams and empty ballparks are OK in their book. We can only think that “Aaaah, they made their money; why should THEY care about what’s going on on the field or how we feel in the stands?” We can only surmise that things will stay just the same as they are, because nobody appears to have our backs.

The whole thing is like the infighting the Mara family went through over the state of the football Giants in the mid-‘70s. That situation wasn’t resolved until the commissioner of the NFL dragged all the parties to his office by their earlobes and told them to work it out: this was too sorry a state for one of the League’s flagship franchises – in New York, no less! – to be in. Unfortunately for the Mets, no such solution is in the offing, seeing as Commissioner Bud Selig has done everything in his power to keep the Wilpons in control of the team. Why, God only knows.


#Mets #SellThisTeam

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

17 comments on “#Mets #SellThisTeam

  • Mack Ade


    Sadly, the only way the Wilpons will sell the Mets is if the league steps in and forces a sale for a myriad amount of reasons. The economy is bad, and Mr. Wilpon may be short on pocket change, but his vast real estate resources will always allow him to own this team that now operates as a toy.

    A baseball team in New York City should be operating in the $150-180mil salary range. A $90-100mil salary range is an insult to the sport.

    Stop going to the games. Don’t buy any t-shirts, And cancel your SNY subscription. Then, maybe, in 2016, the league will step in.

    • steevy

      I regretfully agree with you.

  • Metsense

    It is apparent that even after the Madoff settlement that the Wilpon’s don’t have the necessary capital to run a major league team properly. On June 3rd they were 8 games over .500 and were one of the wildcard teams. If they would have taken on full salary and thrown in some low level prospect they could have possibly added two relievers, Shoppach the catcher, and another right handed hitting outfielder. It would have cost money and done little damage to the minor league system. It would have energized the fan base to maintain interest and sell tickets. Those improvements may have yielded a .500 record putting the Mets 3 games out of the wildcard on August 28th. There would be hope instead of dispair. Even if they still tanked there would have at least been an effort made. The Dodgers just made a large trade and took on major salary in the hope that they could profit in 2012. “As Vince Gennaro has written, the long term revenue gains associated with deep playoff runs can be highly significant, with his estimates ranging up to $70 million for a World Series run in the right market.” (Fangraphs Cameron 8/24/12) I do not advocate taking on major albatross salaries over long periods, and feel the Met plan superior but a small investment by the Wilpon’s could have conceivably produced some profit in 2012. This team needs an infusion of capital to compete and the Wilpon’s are no longer able to provide it. I wish they would sell the team.

    • Mack Ade

      The Mets received their “infusion” when they sold shares to minority owners. The problem is that money was used to pay down bank debt.

      The Wilpons chose to operate this team the same way they are operating all their “investments”… to the bone until the economy recovers.

      The rela problem here is the monies they still owe to the people who built their new stadioum, both “real” and “unreal’

    • Name

      Not only do they not have the necessary capital, they also don’t have even basic business smarts. Like you said, if the Mets had pumped even just $5 million into this team, the payoff could have been upwards to $70 million. And not only that, being in a pennant race generates positive buzz and also has a carryover effect into years to come, all intangibles that you can’t put a price tag on.

      So they must either be in really big doo-doo to not be able to come up with some extra cash to make trades, or they are just really dumb business men.

      I’ll go with the latter.

    • 7train

      One low level prospect for 2 relievers, a RH hitting RFer and a catcher?

      I’m not sure about that especially right at the beginning of the trading season.

      Way too many deffiencies on this team to be fixed at the end of June.

      First half was the best case, 2nd half the worst. The collapse wasn’t caused by any of those positions though. Starting pitching collapsed so did the Mets. That’s life. with 5th place talent even wild cards are out of reach.

  • Name

    “How the Rays can keep churning out contender after contender on a payroll of $50-$60 million a year ” You realize that the reason the Rays have the ability to do this is because they were putrid for so long. This allowed them to collect many high draft picks and collect talent. Now, the real test for the “small-market, farm-driven” team will probably be in a 2-4 years when the Rays talent from pre 08(before they were good) drafts start to dry up.

    • Charlie Hangley

      That’s where investing in scouting & development pays dividends. Also, the Mets have done HORRIBLY with their drafting when they’ve been in a similar position. It’s about hiring guys who are good at recognizing talent, then making the most of it once your organization gets its hands on it. The Rays consistently do that. The Mets do not.

      • 7train

        Very very true Charlie.

        Drafting the least expensive picks to pay for your first rounder is not a part of the Rays strategy.

        Rays have had some terrible luck with early picks as well but they constantly pick up guys in the 2nd – 15th rounds and pay them to come out early. Then they pay them again like we did Niese. It’s a great strategy but overslot is no longer possible. Either is stuffing your draft with multiple extra picks by letting guys go free agent and replacing them with more guys who could become supplemental round picks.

        The Rays, Braves, Rangers, Blue Jays current farm systems may have more to do with obtaining extra picks than success ratio but their all leaps and bounds above us in both categories.

        2nd round our last success was in 1987 (Hundley)

        3rd round our last success was Joe Smith and before that 1983 (Aguilera)

        4th round our last success was Angel Pagan and before that 1966 (Jorgensen)

        5th round our last success was 1966 (Burt Hooten)

        6th round our last success was……………………never.

        How is this even possible. Since the Wilpon’s have been 50% partners or sole owners all we’ve gotten from rounds 2-6 through 25 years are Hundley, Pagan and Joe Smith. 125 chances and 3 hits. That is beyond disgraceful.

  • NormE

    Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!

    Do you remember when the Mets owned NYC in the mid-80s? What happened?
    Do you remember when Nelson Doubleday embarrassed the Wilpons into approving the trade for Mike Piazza?
    Do you remember the Wilpons squeezed Doubleday out of ownership? And do you remember Doubleday be happy to be away from the Wilpons?
    Do you remember the fiasco of Steve Phillips and the Alex Rodriguez affair?
    How about the shrine to the Brooklyn Dodgers that Fred and Jeffie built?

    Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!

    • Mack Ade


      The truth is… if the stands are empty, the concessions loaded with spoiling food, and the public outcry at its peak, the league will not be able to turn their heads away from this problem.

      Fred Wilpon is not going to have an ugly divorce… and he’s far from going bankrupt, but he can be held in league contempt for underoperating.

      Remember… Sandy was promised the Commissioner’s job once the Commissioner’s term was up… then the Commissioner reupped… Alderson could possibly be the most unhappy person in that building right now.

  • Peter Hyatt

    In terms of bringing in Miller Huggins and nothing would change, it caused me to think about the sloppy and “give up” loss the other day and what would have happened at Citi Field had someone else been coach:

    John Tortorella

    This is what I pictured: the body language of defeat, heads down, shoulders slopped, heading for the club house when a voice bellows them out to the outfield, where a whistle sounds, and the 12,000 fans who were leaving Citi Field suddenly stop and turn around to see the Mets, all of them, doing wind sprints in the outfield, driven by Torts’ incessant whistle barking at them.

    “Again!” as they come huffing and puffing in.

    “You don’t want to run out a grounder? Again!!” he shouts.

    The cameras are as shocked as the fans at the public humiliation and message sent by the hard nosed, demanding coach.
    “Uh, coach, I can’t run with my leg, you know” interrupted by “shut the *&^% up or you’ll never see a pay check from this organization again!”

    • NormE

      Peter, your Torts solution will make my day. Funny!

  • kjs

    I’m not going to yammer, Charlie. The Wilpons’ “fumble” is long past. It’s time for protests and ticket burnings in front of Citi Field. (Sadly, the 9/11 “extra security measures” make it a bit harder now than what my disgruntled fellow Giants fans faced back in the mid-70s.) But despite the super-high security that always goes with an All-Star Game, that would be the ideal date to address the Wilpons directly via a nationally televised protest. If you’re serious about this next year, do a post that requests contact info—I’ll be sure to send you mine and show up to get the Wilpons out.

  • Chris F

    The Wilpons must be held accountable, and removed. We have the saddest ownership in baseball. I took some relish in knowing the McCourt situation even eclipsed our own, and now Im all green with envy, and depressed at what “could possibly be.”

  • Peter Hyatt

    NormE, can you picture it?

    He is a hard, demanding coach…

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