Friday, April 16, 2021

We've Been Here Before

Turns out that the Mets won't be playing baseball in the snow tonight in Denver. Tonight's game has been canceled. They'll be playing a doubleheader tomorrow instead. The forecast for tomorrow isn't calling for snow, but the high temperature will only be around 40°, with the low dropping into the 20s. But that's okay, right? They'll do the smart thing and schedule the doubleheader for the afternoon and miss the worst of the weather... no, what am I thinking? A 3 PM start local time will ensure that the temperature will be below freezing before both games complete. I honestly don't get it. At this point, the best that we can hope for is that all three games are played this weekend, the Mets won't be forced to go back out to Colorado again later in the season, and no one gets hurt.

If you're feeling deja vu about yet another postponement, The Athletic will help you keep that "been there before" feeling with a piece today that mostly rehashes accusations against the Mets that have already come out. The new stuff is mostly about David Newman, a senior VP of marketing and communications who reads more to me like someone who lacked the empathy and finesse to hold down an important leadership position than an abuser of women. However, I was surprised to read that Alderson decided to hire the man back after a couple of women complained about Newman. You would think that, after the Jared Porter firing, the Mets would have elected to avoid any controversy like that.

Newman sounds like a couple of guys I've worked for, a bit odd and not a real people person. Men like that are generally hard to work for; the only way they know how to supervise others is to be a bit tyrannical, while a really good boss will be tough but very empathetic. You'll never mistake them for your buddy, but you'll trust and deliver your best for someone like that.

Sandy Alderson is a decade older than me, a former marine, and likely has a very different opinion than I do of what constitutes an effective supervisor. I'm not surprised that he brought the man back. I don't think Alderson is a bad guy who condones bad behavior, but he may not be the right man to lead the Mets out of the morass of problems that date back to the Wilpons. It doesn't help that he was GM while some of the biggest jerks were employed by the Mets, either.

As for The Athletic, five paragraphs into the piece, the authors make the following point:

Allegations of inappropriate behavior by Mets employees has been one of the dominant storylines in baseball over the last three months.

That's a bit disingenuous, as a good part of the reason is that we keep getting these stories about the Mets from The Athletic, but little on other teams such as Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs, and the Diamondbacks, who also employed Jared Porter and Mickey Callaway. It's like the Mets are the only team in baseball with a problem. How does that serve the greater good when you know that's not true?

As for the Mets, they have a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-t of work to do. Steve Cohen hiring an outside firm to look at the team's workplace culture is a good start. It's hard for an organization's own employees to have the required objectivity and the expertise required to clearly see what needs to be changed.

By the way, the accusations about Holly Lindvall are hardly surprising to me. The Mets senior vice president, human resources and diversity, is being accused of having her employer's interest ahead of the employees. This includes women who have complained about a hostile workplace. I've worked in a few places in my time, and some human resources folks are awesome, but others see themselves as management rather than employee advocates. I don't know for sure that the accusations against her are true, having no personal experience with Ms. Lindvall, but it would hardly shock me if they were.

Any organization must have a channel outside of the company for complaints against abusive or sexually harassing superiors. If there is any worry on the part of employees of going through company channels like HR, someone outside of the company structure to bring these complaints to is necessary. I've previously read that the Mets have already done that, so if the stories about Lindvall are true, employees won't have to go through her.

I'm sure that the firm Cohen hired to evaluate the Mets culture will have plenty of recommendations. I hope that the Mets organization becomes an exemplary organization for all employees and outside folks such as reporters to deal with. Particularly with the re-hiring of Mr. Newman, it is fair to at least question if Sandy Alderson should lead that organization.

But I also question the reporters writing these stories. Why were all of these accusations against the Wilpon-led Mets not covered this comprehensively when the Wilpons still owned the club? If they had been, the Wilpons might have been forced to sell earlier.

It's not that I believe that this story isn't about important things. I simply think the problems with the Mets culture have been more than adequately explored. Meanwhile, if people who report on the game are serious about changing things, they might consider reporting on another organization or at least explaining why no other MLB club deserves this sort of scrutiny.

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I had my second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today. I have some friends coming over for an outdoor gathering in a couple of weeks, and I'm really looking forward to inching back to what I once took for granted. We're going to keep it outside and still be a bit careful, but all of us have received our shots. It will be as "normal" an evening as I've enjoyed in more than a year.

Please stay safe, be well, and take care.


 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos.

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