Talking to a baseball executive recently, I expressed the thought that David Samson, the president of the Florida Marlins, was probably the most disliked executive in baseball. I was thinking about Samson because I had just written about the Marlins’ questionable treatment of their rookie left fielder, Logan Morrison, in demoting him to the minors.
However, my executive friend disagreed. If not Samson, I asked, who? Jeff Wilpon, he said.
Wilpon is the New York Mets’ chief operating officer and son of Fred Wilpon, the team’s principal owner. Jeff Wilpon is the first of those descriptions because of the second. He did not studiously work his way up to his executive position, but he has earned his reputation of most disliked executive.
What has son of Fred done lately? He has deprived the economically struggling city of Newark, N.J., and the area’s baseball fans of a 2012 season of first-class AAA minor league baseball, refusing to waive the Mets’ right to block a team from playing in territory it shares with the Yankees.
Borrowing from my favorite author, Dr. Seuss, Wilpon is the Grinch who stole baseball from Newark.
We can’t blame Fred Wilpon for the decision because he told Jeff to handle it. ...
Internally, within the Mets’ organization, that is, Wilpon has veto rights by nature of his position. But according to executives of other teams, Wilpon exercises poor judgment and often makes life difficult for the team’s general managers. ...
Sandy Alderson, Minaya’s successor, is completing his first season in the job, and I have already heard that he is growing tired of Wilpon’s suffocating presence.
Sons of wealthy owners seldom make competent baseball executives. But their fathers are blind to their shortcomings. I would guess that no other owner would hire Jeff Wilpon as his chief operating officer, even if he had played baseball and knew the difference between home plate and the pitching rubber.