Things have been progressing slower for Mets fans after the frenetic week of baseball's winter meetings. There have been some press conferences and a surprise near-miss on another huge free agent. The Mets also signed a catcher, ratcheting up the speculation that James McCann won't be back next year. There is still a definite need to procure a productive fourth outfielder. They re-signed Adam Ottavino, but the Mets may also seek to add one more experienced late-inning reliever to the bullpen mix. Beyond that, as the pursuit of Carlos Correa proved, it's unwise to make any assumptions about what the Mets still might do to make a successful offseason even better.
"I AM not an idiot, I am not abrasive, I am not running the day-to-day workings of the baseball operations, I 'feel the pain' of Mets fans because I am passionate about winning and – most important – I am not going anywhere."
Outside the organization the Mets are viewed as having a chain of command where the lines of authority are blurred, which creates problems [from] the top down.... Former Met employees say Fred Wilpon is a yeller, but Jeff Wilpon actually could get physically imposing when he loses his temper. The result, these executives said, is a feeling that if you do not agree with the Wilpons, your job is in jeopardy and this breeds "yes" men. For example, one former executive says, ex-hitting coach Denny Walling did not agree that minor-league hitting coaches should also serve as the first-base coach and challenged Jeff’s counter view at a large, preseason meeting, and "he was essentially fired that day."... outside executives say the Mets too often just pretend like they want to spend more, like in the case of Vladimir Guerrero last year, and that the budget changes as the offseason goes along....A former Met official also said the Wilpons are hypersensitive to media criticism, and craft decisions to avoid the bashing. Jeff denied this, but there are no doubts the Mets seek counsel about important issues, even the hiring of managers, from media favorites.
In Sherman's piece, Jeff Wilpon talked about "sustained winning." He tells Sherman, "What I have told the baseball and business departments is that in 10 years I want other teams and other people to say 'I wish we could do it like the Mets.' " Steve Cohen was basically saying the same thing when he took over, but, unlike the Wilpons, Cohen looks likely to succeed in those endeavors. Being a lot richer certainly helps. More importantly, however, Steve Cohen has found a way to be involved with his baseball people in a way that empowers rather than hinders them. Cohen is also willing to invest in new technology, which the Wilpons resisted. Steve Cohen doesn't need to proclaim out loud that he is not an idiot. The direction he is taking his franchise is all the statement he needs to manifest his intelligence and hunger to be the best.
Another significant difference between ownership past and present is that Cohen is driven to invest money and energy into all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that has to happen if an owner really wants other teams to say, "I wish we could do it like the Mets." Nobody has to beg or twist his arm to get him to make over the Mets into a state-of-the-art organization. This has already paid dividends, as cited by some of the players successfully signed by the club.
Teams go through good times and bad times. When the chips are down, or everything is on the line, there will always be a need for Mets fans to access that good old "ya gotta believe" spirit. But any leap of faith required won't require a world record caliber long jump any longer. It's a lot easier to believe when you are given tangible reasons for that belief. For the first time in many years, I believe that I will live long enough to watch that belief power the next New York Mets championship.
We are the music makers,And we are the dreamers of dreams,Wandering by lone sea-breakers,And sitting by desolate streams; —World-losers and world-forsakers,On whom the pale moon gleams:Yet we are the movers and shakersOf the world for ever, it seems.
Great hail! we cry to the comersFrom the dazzling unknown shore;Bring us hither your sun and your summers;And renew our world as of yore;You shall teach us your song's new numbers,And things that we dreamed not before:Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,And a singer who sings no more.
This is a great time to be a Mets fan. Please be well and take care, and Happy Holidays to all who celebrate.
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