Friday, August 28, 2020

Much Ado About Nothing

It's BRODIE, damnit!
When I first read about the incident of Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen being caught on a hot mic criticizing MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, I didn't think all that much about it. I knew it was going to cost Van Wagenen some personal embarrassment, and that he would have to publicly apologize to Manfred for his words. I figured after that some folks would have a laugh over Brodie's self-inflicted wound and that would be it. What Van Wagenen had said about Manfred, that the Commissioner "just didn't get it" regarding the protest, seemed relatively mild to me. If I was Manfred, I would have accepted Van Wagenen's apology and just moved on.

However, when things like this happen to the Mets, they get amplified. The story now in multiple places seems to be that the affair with the hot mic has "overshadowed" the protest on the field, to which my reaction is, "huh, really?"

A sampling:

A show of solidarity by players is overshadowed by Mets leadership and a hot mic

Only the Mets
Only the Mets could have the most powerful display of team unity in MLB this week be overshadowed by a series of blunders.
Look, it was a dumb mistake by Van Wagenen. Complaining about a superior is a common event in any business, but if a camera and microphone are being pointed at you, you'd better make damn sure they're off. What did they teach this guy at Stamford?

Still, he owned it, and made a full and complete apology, even admitting his facts were wrong as far as whose idea leaving the field for an hour and coming back was. But the feeding frenzy had already begun, and the nitwit owners of the club had to feed it with their own incompetence. Fred and Jeff both issued outraged statements because God forbid that both didn't pile on their GM. Oh yeah, and apparently neither of them know how to spell their GM's first name, even though they've been writing paychecks to him for almost two years.

"I am very stressed and disappointed to learn tonight that our General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, made disrespectful and inaccurate comments about our Commissioner, a long-time close friend of mine. I hold Rob in the highest regard and in no way are Brody’s remarks reflective of my views or the organization’s. Rob continues to be a great leader of Major League Baseball. I apologize for any harm this incident has caused Rob."
At least Fred spelled the name correctly once in two attempts. If he was really concerned about Manfred's reputation, he probably shouldn't have mentioned that he held Manfred in "high regard". As far as Manfred being a "great leader of Major League Baseball", we're all waiting to see some evidence of that.

Jeff's statement about "Brody" Van Wagenen contained the admission that the genius idea to come back after an hour was his. But really, the dumbest part of all of this was that the Wilpons felt the need to issue statements at all, much less one from each of them. Fred remarking that he was "stressed and disappointed" was quite heart-wrenching. I can recall my mother making the same complaint about me the tenth time she caught me climbing out of my second-floor bedroom window back in the day. I can only hope that someone new will take this team off of the Wilpons' hands soon and relieve him of that burden. I can sympathize, I feel stress and disappointment quite frequently in the Wilpon era.

I don't think this story would have become as amplified if Fred and Jeff stayed out of it, as they should have - as any real leader would have. I've discussed previously how damaging the prep school loyalties between Manfred and the Wilpons have been to this franchise, this is just another pathetic example of it.

Still, the power of that protest and how it developed was in no way overshadowed by the slapstick antics of ownership. You guys just wanted to write version 1,546,298 of this same story about the Mets. Fred and Jeff lobbed you a softball and you went for it. The tale of how that walk-off happened and the way it was done by both teams was compelling and inspiring. Brodie's mistake was a moment of slapstick, on par with someone accidentally farting during a solemn occasion. The Wilpon's overwrought contribution to the whole thing was just the dying echoes of the forever clueless duo. The actions of the latter in no way overshadowed the grace of what happened on the field.

Please stay safe, be well and take care. Talk again soon.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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