In defense of Fred Wilpon

An article by posted on May 23, 2011

Somebody has to come to Fred Wilpon’s defense right?

So I am fully aware that I will be in the minority here, and I don’t mean to be all anti-Met fan here but… I’m really happy he said what he said. 

Before you just read that sentence and attack, let me explain. 

For how long has it seemed as though the Mets owners were uneducated fans with an open checkbook? I mean consider all of the moves they’ve made in the past, they have spent money and for people to try and say they haven’t is ludicrous. Their problem has been their own fan boy opinions paired with a bad “offseason” GM in Minaya got them into a lot of trouble. 

I like the idea that he’s speaking up and he’s telling it how it is.

We are fans, heck we love Justin Turner right now and have some fans praising him compared to David Wright. We’ll root for whoever is in our uniform so long as they aren’t Jeremy Burnitz or Oliver Perez.

I remember the days of “Wagner is better than Mariano,” or “Wright is the best 3B in New York,” or “Murphy is gonna be an all-star” type chatter. We love our team, there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is pretending they are something their not. When you do that, you fall into a sinking hole. 

He’s 100% right about David Wright. You can *try* to deny it, but he’s right. He’s not a superstar. Is that so bad? No… the problem is if the best player/face of franchise on a NY team isn’t a superstar, then where are you going?

Just because Wright is Top 5 at his position doesn’t make him a superstar.

He comes up with more big hits than he gets credit for, BUT he’s not a game changing player. 

With regard to Reyes, tell me how he’s wrong? Here’s why I think it’s hypocritical for a Mets fan who is upset with the owners to get down on Wilpon for Reyes. 

Right now, Reyes is having an amazing career year. There’s no denying that. But how many times have the Mets given contracts to players because of 1 year? Do you give “Carl Crawford money” to 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Reyes? How can you? How can you justify valuing 2011 over the last FOUR years when it comes to that amount of $? Why? Because we like him?

What is a better sample size to evaluate a player? 2,297 plate appearances or 214? 

What is so special about a .278 average, 83 runs scored, 27 doubles, 11 triples, 149 hits, 49 RBI, 44 sb? How can you justify locking into a “Crawford” type deal for that? You wouldn’t if his name wasn’t Reyes and he didn’t come up through the Mets farm. Yet, that’s the mistake the Mets would make in the past. “He’s our guy,” mentality that no matter what his performance is, we have to keep him.

I’m sorry, but I love watching Reyes in 2011, but I’ll take the last 4 years worth over his year prior to Memorial Day to judge him. 

And for the people that try and make an excuse and say “he wasn’t always healthy during those 4 years,” to that I say… “Exactly!”

Show me players who deal with injuries at 20, 21, 26 and 27 years old and then suddenly stay healthy in their older years without the use of PED’s. It doesn’t happen.

He’s right. You know he is, you just are choosing to ignore the facts because you love watching Jose Reyes play. You have that right, but that doesn’t mean he’s worth a contract that Crawford signed.

His last quote about the players that is sure to drive the fan base nuts is when he called the team “sh*tty*.”

So here’s the thing about that. At the time of that quote, the Mets were 5-12, and 1-8 at home, and would go to 5-13 at the end of that game. He didn’t say the team on May 23rd was bad, he said the team he was watching with the author was. You know what? He was right. How can you argue that he wasn’t right?

People will take that quote and flip out, and use it in whatever context they want so that it makes their point of “sell the team,” look better. But the fact is, at that game, he was right.

Now, with all of that said, I will say that he was wrong to come out with those quotes about his own team. To be fair, guys like Mark Cuban, George Steinbrenner etc. do the same type of stuff.

The difference between them and Wilpon is, they do something positive about it. They don’t allow a player like Perez or Castillo to infect the team for financial reasons. They put their money where their mouth is.

I honestly do not care about who owns the Mets as a fan. I think these fans that react with “sell the team,” are just speaking loud. Just because you speak loud, doesn’t make you right.

What good is Wilpon selling the team going to do? Do you the anti-Wilpon really think the Mets cannot win with Fred & Jeff Wilpon owning the team? 

In 2006 when it looked as though the city was ours for the first time in a long time, were you screaming about how ownership didn’t let Beltran swing against a nasty pitch by Wainwright?

When Wilpon was Team President during the 1986 season were we screaming that he wasn’t good enough?

The owner doesn’t matter so long as he’s willing to spend money. Outside of a special circumstance with Bernie Madoff, the Wilpon’s have been willing to spend.
If the Wilpon’s lose a significant amount of money that halts their ability to operate the Mets, I have no doubt they will sell the team. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are looking for a partner right now.

Many of the Mets roster and farm problems are not because of ownership, but because of who ownership hired and trusted at the time. For that, they paid the price already and they have focused on changing their ways with the hiring of Alderson.

But to say they need to sell simply because the Mets struggled in 2009, and 2010 and the current 25 man roster has tons of question marks is out of touch to me.

It’s about the guy who makes the decision of who to spend it on that matters, and they addressed that.

So yes, while in some regards Wilpon’s comments were wrong place, wrong time. That doesn’t mean they weren’t true, and it also doesn’t mean he should sell the team.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

Comments are closed.