In another lifetime, my byline used to be over a bunch of prep and collegiate stories. Doing the games was a lot of fun but interacting with parents and super fans was mostly a drag. If you didn’t write glowing things about their children or their favorites, you’d be accused of bias and it didn’t matter how many times you told them that the only thing you rooted for was a good story to tell.
So, I totally get the “story” angle. One story we’re being told is how Steve Cohen grew up a Mets fan and now he’s going to spend a big chunk of his fortune into bringing Mets fans a championship. It’s a nice little story and it’s a long way from the last ownership story, which was how Fred Wilpon grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and went to school with Sandy Koufax. It’s a story that prompted our own Charlie Hangley to remark, “The Wilpons love a team they don’t own and own a team they don’t love.”
But it was a little depressing listening to the introductory news conference yesterday and hearing veteran reporters ask Cohen to recount what his favorite Mets memory was and if he hated the Yankees. They had that particular “aw shucks” story front and center in their mind and so what if you only got to ask a question or two, this is what they were going to ask. If they had the chance to ask George Washington one question, they’d ask about the cherry tree. Or to give it a Mets slant – if you got to ask Tom Seaver one question, would you ask him if Lou Brock really asked him to fetch a Coke at the ’67 All-Star game?
Sure, there were questions he wasn’t going to answer. Cohen wasn’t going to reveal the exact payroll for the upcoming season or list who his top offseason free agent target was. But I’d like to think that those who got paid to do this for a living would come up with something more insightful than asking Cohen about his thoughts as a kid about the Yankees.
One might make the case that since this was an introductory news conference, it was the perfect time to do a back story on how Cohen came to be a Mets fan. But hasn’t that story already been told over and over again in the mainstream media? Haven’t we been reading variants of that story since Cohen’s first attempt to buy the team nearly a year ago? Was there anyone with an interest in the Mets who didn’t know that story? If Cohen had some deep hatred for, say, Bobby Richardson – wouldn’t we know that by now?
Here are some questions off the top of my head that would be more interesting:
What are Cohen’s feelings about Citi Field?
Does he plan to be a regular at the park and talk to the media, like Nelson Doubleday, or be more reclusive like the Wilpons?
Does he know David Einhorn (seems like all NY billionaires should know each other) and did he speak to him about his attempt to purchase the club?
Were there any pre-conditions on the approval of the purchase of the club to be a hawk in upcoming labor issues with the players?
Since Old Timers’ Day is a go – can we make it so that Ron Darling pitches to Keith Hernandez in the game?
It just seems to me that each and every person reading this, if you spent 30 minutes thinking about things to ask the new Mets owner – you could come up with a dozen questions better than anything to do with the Yankees. And wind up with better stories, too.