Fred Wilpon Newsbeat
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Don’t let recent success blind you to an ample history deserving of scorn. After running arguably the worst non-arms-manufacturing company in the world, Walmart, Glass became sole owner of the Royals in 2000 and immediately treated baseball the way Walmart treats people.
Amid a jackal pack of ownership that included a (future) commissioner guilty of collusion to fix player salaries, Glass – then the team’s president and CEO – stood out as an anti-labor hardliner during the 1994 strike, wanting to bring in scab players for a monstrously un-telegenic spectacle summarizing the kind of ####-you tactics Glass learned at the Bentonville, Arkansas smile-time sociopathy juggernaut. He simultaneously advocated a hard salary cap in baseball, not to create an even playing field with large-market teams but to have a paper excuse to wave in doubters’ faces explaining why he didn’t spend anything on his team. Glass went ahead without one, with team payrolls routinely languishing in the bottom half of the league during his tenure, with notable years like 2000 (28th), 2003 (29th), 2005 (29th) and 2011 (30th). That’s out of 30. The last two years, Royals payroll has leapt to 19th in the league, but don’t let the 2014 World Series run fool you. Fans have every reason to expect them to regress, and every expectation that Glass won’t spend to correct that (Goodbye, Billy Butler.) After all, four seasons of 100 losses and an average of 92 losses per season under his tenure is a much bigger sample size.
Last, in 2006, Glass was all about that entrepreneurial spirit when renovations to Kauffman Stadium were furnished by a countywide sales tax, in exchange for discounts at certain games. Rolling back prices every day!
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Like a thunderbolt in your Cheerios, son… wake up and smell the toxic waste.
It would naturally seem strange to observers unused to the thin air and heavy gravity of Planet Wilpon that the [Mets] would go so egregiously and strangely out of its way to alienate [Matt] Harvey, who was most recently criticized by team officials and manager Terry Collins for expressing the apparently scandalous sentiment that he’d like to return to the mound this season… It’s not that all this is any less strange to those of us who make our summer homes on Planet Wilpon, but it is so deeply, wearyingly familiar. And it’s familiar not just because this type of weird reflexive scolding has followed Harvey through his rise to stardom, but because it is something like the Wilpon way. This cartoonish meta-leadership is the only thing the Wilpons do reliably. They say “no” and “stop” and “don’t” because they can, and to remind themselves and everyone else who gets to say no and stop and don’t.
It’s a dumb and high-handed way to deal with Matt Harvey—it’s a dumb and high-handed way to deal with anyone—but the willful hypocrisy and silly-salty umbrage of it is, in a backhanded way, clarifying. The Wilpon Way is to demand accountability from others, but not from themselves; it is to demand steely discipline from everyone but those making that demand.
It’s a bummer, of course, and not just where it relates to Matt Harvey. The self-satirizing elements of it—these petty and childish men decrying a lack of maturity in others, these mediocre men demanding what they cannot earn and can’t afford—are maybe too successful as satire to be especially funny. There is no need for the Wilpons to keep reminding everyone who is in charge in Queens, although that will not stop them from doing it. It’s impossible to forget, and difficult to ignore. That’s the problem.
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