Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Earlier this week, Fred Wilpon told reporters that his family is free of past financial woes; and Sandy Alderson now has the freedom to bring payroll back to where it was under Omar Minaya… assuming Alderson wants to. Wilpon also said the recent cut in payroll had more to do with bank debt and decreased revenue than Bernie Maddoff.
This is nice to hear. It is. I’m happy for Fred, because I know him to be a decent man who does lots of good with his money. However, speaking as just a fan of his baseball team, I’m done concerning myself with what my favorite team’s owners and executives say, be it about the Mets, Jets or anyone else. I realize there are people (specifically reporters who have jobs to justify and fans debating buying tickets in advance) who want to hear from their team’s leadership, but I don’t. I find these press conferences and interviews to be almost always useless. Frankly, unless WFAN’s Mike Francesa is grilling the person, nothing significant is ever revealed. Instead, I’m far more concerned with what these people are actually doing, today, for fans and for the team on field. And, in the event I’m ever granted these level interviews again, expect to see my questions reflect this point of view.
It’s not that I don’t believe what these people say, or appreciate hearing about direction. I do. It’s just that I believe more in miracles and the magic and potential of a baseball team. Also, I know these pubic statements are nuanced, crafty and clever, and there’s a lot of spin and public relations at play… as there should be. I mean, that’s business. It’s why companies spend millions of dollars on marketing and writing press releases and doing media. It’s necessary, from GE to politics to Apple to sports teams. But, as a fan and as a customer, I don’t buy tickets or tune in to games to hear people in suits tell me what may or may not happen under certain, possible, pending situations. I buy tickets and tune in to see what the team in uniform is actually doing on field. I tune in to have fun watching baseball, win or lose, to hang with fans and friends, and to follow the unique story and the highs and lows of that season (for better or worse). I want to know tomorrow will be better, but I’ll believe it when I see it… just like everything else in my life. I believe a person’s actions reveal their priorities. I don’t expect others to share my approach, but for me it’s that simple. So, these days, I find it best to worry less about what I’m told will happen, I ignore most promises, and instead make my choice more simple: I’m either going be a fan and tune in or I’m not. Because, at the end of the day, that’s the only thing I can control.