The Wilpons: It Could Be Much Worse

An article by posted on November 14, 2012

For all of our troubles lately as Mets fans, yesterday proved one thing to be true: It could be worse.

Some of you reading this are desperately hoping that one day, the Mets have new owners at the helm. I’m not here to tell you that you are right or wrong. I’m here to tell you that yesterday gave me a little more appreciation for the Wilpon family.

The Miami Marlins offered up a proposition to the public taxpayer. That proposition included an attempt to be the Yankees of the South. A new mostly taxpayer funded ballpark would help grow the franchise so much so that they’d have practically unlimited resources to acquire talent. Many of the county commissioners who approved the deal found themselves without a job.

Yesterday officially marked the end of that promise. Everything about the new look Marlins has been pushed to the side. Manager Ozzie Guillen who admittedly said some ignorant things was fired after 1 season. Hanley Ramirez, the superstar they intended to build around was traded to LA mid-season.

Heath Bell struggled, so he was sent packing. And then just yesterday, every recognizable name besides Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton were sent packing. Now the Marlins greatest asset since Miguel Cabrera is publicly showing displeasure at the organization.

The irony of Guillen’s firing is that one of the reasons was due to the things he said, yet they just acquired Yunel Escobar who as you remember was suspended and fined for his user of a homophobic slur in his eye black.

These moves turned the once re-modeled Miami Marlins into the same old Florida Marlins. What I expect Loria to do is to sell his team after 2015, because he will not face any early departure penalty from the counties if he waits until then.

In my view, they spent like crazy just to fulfill promises with the public that a new park would mean the old ways of doing things are long gone. They got their new park, thus increasing the value of the franchise so that when they choose to sell after 2015, they turn a nicer profit.

I suspect that the owner who is so proud of his new park will get a chance to see every nook & crannie of it because there is going to be a lot of empty seats there for several years.

Now, the Marlins will collect revenue money from other teams, filling owner Jeffrey Loria’s pocket with no care for the product they put on the field and further alienating their fan base. What they did last night was prove to their critical fans that their concerns were valid.

The Mets are undoubtedly in some sort of financial trouble, or at least were. The difference between the Wilpon’s and the Miami ownership to me is that at least the Wilpon’s care about the franchise and its fans.

When they hit financial dire straits two years ago, they could have EASILY instructed their GM to trade everybody and anybody making money. They could have ripped the franchise a part and cut salary by a huge margin.

They could have easily spent fictitious money to try and show fans that everything was okay, only to pull the rug out from under everybody 12 months later.

The Wilpon’s have their flaws, and frankly prior to the last few years I never minded them as owners because I always felt Mets fans were lucky to have an owner who is at least willing to spend money to improve the ball club. Many teams do not have that luxury. You cannot deny their passion for this team. You cannot deny that for much of this past decade they were willing to spend large sums of money in an attempt to win, not to trick a fan base.

Yesterday, the Florida Marlins were born again in the NL East. Their “policy” on not offering no-trade clauses is what probably sent Albert Pujols to Los Angeles and not Miami. After last night, I have serious doubts about why any player would sign a contract with Miami through free agency under that same policy.

Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell, and Hanley Ramirez all learned that lesson the hard way. All four of them thought they found a secure home, and all four were sent packing quicker than it took Jeffrey Loria to get a Jose Reyes Marlins jersey created.

The Mets, while struggling are still trying to find ways to put a respectable team on the field while concentrating on the future. Though some may not like the direction of the process, you can’t deny that their goal is long term health and success. Whether they achieve it is a different story.

The Marlins on the other hand shoved respectability aside and once again became the laughing stock of baseball. 

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.

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