In a 10,000-word article for the New Yorker, which is mostly about how Fred Wilpon built Sterling Enterprises, the team’s chairman and chief executive makes several honest comments about his team and players.
Thanks to MetsBlog.com, I’ve had the opportunity to meet Fred and talk to him on a many occasions and these comments are not that shocking. Fred loves the Mets, he wants to win and I think that is at the center of what he’s saying. It reads to me like he’s being sarcastic, and just overtly negative, which, frankly, is how most Mets fans sound these days while watching a game. I mean, think of how disappointed and annoyed we are, and we’re not paying these guys $150 million. He is. But, that’s the point, he owns the team. I mean, nobody cares when you or I say something emotional about Jose Reyes. Fred’s voice, on the other hand, will have an impact.
I mean, how do these comments from Fred impact the trade market for Jose Reyes? Will they impact how Reyes views the Mets? How will David Wright and other players react now that they’re likely being hounded by reporters, agents and friends about what Fred said? On one hand, I think, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen (like George Steinbrenner used to say, when making similar comments). On the other hand, why rock the boat any more than it’s been rocked?
If I had to bet, I’d say the goal here was to bolster Fred’s reputation as a self-made business man and a guy who loves the Mets, mostly because, according to author Jeffrey Toobin, Wilpon is annoyed with how he and the team have been portrayed in the press. I am sure the Wilpons are dying to tell their story, they want to shut up Irving Picard and clear their names… and I get that. I understand the desire. The thing is, the team is struggling, it’s been a long few years, and, while I know his reputation is important to Fred and his family (as it should be), Mets fans are only concerned with winning. That’s it. I am sure some fans are compassionate and feel for Fred as a man – but, in the end, even that fan really only cares about the team, the standings and where this franchise is headed. I think Ownership forgets this, and this article with the New Yorker is a perfect example of that.
It’s always going to be about actions, not words.
For what’s worth, this is a fascinating article, in that the bulk of it is about how Wilpon worked to make his money. “It’s a true American story,” as Craig Carton said on WFAN. However, part of his talk with Toobin occurs watching a Mets game, and so the red meat of the story becomes his very honest comments about the team, and that, of course, is what everyone is going to focus on.
Lastly, before you react emotionally to this ‘story,’ read the full 22-page article. Otherwise, you’re just reacting to reaction.