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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Murray Chass: JEFF WILPON’S WILFULNESS [sic] HURTS METS, OTHERS

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.

bobm Posted: October 08, 2011 at 07:13 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: amateur, mets, miami, yankees

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   1. I Am Not a Number Posted: October 08, 2011 at 08:18 PM (#3957051)
Perhaps Wilpon Senior should have followed the Japanese model of scionology.
   2. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: October 08, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3957056)
If Jeff Wilpon is the Grinch, does that make Hal Steinbrenner Yertle the Turtle?

Also, wouldn't it be just as easy to describe Wilpon as a noble warrior fighting to keep Scrantonians their ability to see Kei Igawaw and co.?
   3. The District Attorney Posted: October 08, 2011 at 08:47 PM (#3957062)
Borrowing from my favorite author, Dr. Seuss
CHASS: I SPEAK FOR THE TREES, MR. PRESIDENT

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.
Umm, yeah. That seems safe to say.
   4. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 08, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3957066)
Jeff Wilpon -- the man of talent.

American meritocracy at its finest.
   5. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 08, 2011 at 09:03 PM (#3957067)
The Wilpons have oodles of shortcommings. But honestly, why would you expect them to just waive the team's territorial rights, at least without reasonable compensation? Those rights have value, giving them away for free is dumb. Seems like little Jeff should get credit for doing something right for the franchise for a change. And if you are really itching to right a hit piece, just wait. It's Jeff Wilpon, he'll give you a reason soon enough...
   6. Sam M. Posted: October 09, 2011 at 12:09 AM (#3957119)
I don't necessarily blame the Mets for denying the Yankees permission to move their AAA to Newark, either -- but it's worth noting that the Yankees did offer some compensation, and a blanket waiver for any future season for the Mets to make a similar move. From a fan's perspective, I relished the Mets telling the Yankees to piss off. But at the same time, I have to say that from the POV of good common sense, I cannot believe it was really in the best interest of the Wilpons to pull this move at a time when their position is so precarious and the good will of their fellow owners may be essential to their future hopes of hanging on.

Of far greater importance is the notion that Jeff Wilpon has already begun to grate as heavily on Sandy Alderson as Chass suggests. This is not Jim Duquette we're talking about, or even Omar Minaya. This is a guy with as much gravitas in the game as any GM this side of Pat Gillick. It's hard to imagine that the Wilpons would be so incredibly obtuse that they'd fail to understand the impact it would have if Alderson left after a year or two. You have to take everything Chass writes with a vat of salt, so who knows? But it is worrisome.
   7. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 09, 2011 at 12:15 AM (#3957125)
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.


Randy Levine demands a recount.
   8. Tripon Posted: October 09, 2011 at 01:55 AM (#3957225)
Randy Levine is a jackass but inconsequential. The Yankees could fire his ass tomorrow and not miss a beat while Samson and Wilpon do run their franchises, into the ground or not.
   9. Something Other Posted: October 09, 2011 at 06:01 AM (#3957429)
The Wilpons have oodles of shortcommings. But honestly, why would you expect them to just waive the team's territorial rights, at least without reasonable compensation? Those rights have value, giving them away for free is dumb. Seems like little Jeff should get credit for doing something right for the franchise for a change. And if you are really itching to right a hit piece, just wait. It's Jeff Wilpon, he'll give you a reason soon enough...
It does seem like the timing was poor, though, and assuming the Mets could have gotten reasonable compensation, there's plenty to be said for their not looking, yet one more time, like ########. An owner that wasn't hopelessly inept would notice there's positive publicity to be had from coming to an accommodation that brings baseball to NJ.

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.
Seems like a given--did anyone other than Selig and Alderson really expect that the Wilpons were going to quietly let Alderson run their ballclub? What's sad yet darkly funny about all this is how the Wilpons suckered Selig into convincing Alderson to lend his now declining prestige to give them cover while they worked their way through the worst of their financial mess. The Wilpons also seem to have successfully conned Einhorn into helping them buy time, too. The Wilpons have no idea how to run a baseball team, but they're pretty damned good at wriggling out of ugly situations.

Last offseason there was a lot of copy about the Mets and their new, "dream" front office, but who is comfortable with the idea of Ricciardi and DePodesta running the team, at least insofar as the Wilpons will let them? That's provided they even want to stick around once Alderson flees. I'll be interested to watch THAT press conference.

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