In investigating the reasons for why the Mets now have their Triple-A affiliate almost 3,000 miles away in Las Vegas, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal uncovers some telling details on how the organization is looked at by other teams and sheds light on how things deteriorated in Norfolk and then Buffalo.
Only a handful of team-affiliate agreements expire each year, and if one of them isn’t renewed, it creates a game of musical chairs. Las Vegas is the chair no team wants. And the Mets have become the fanny no chair wants.
“They’re undesirable,” said Dave Rosenfield, a longtime Norfolk (Va.) Tides executive. “Nobody wants them.”
Rosenfield was Norfolk’s general manager when it became the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in 1969 (it was named Tidewater then) and was still on the job when the Mets left in late 2006. Only a one-hour flight from New York, Norfolk was perfectly suitable for the Mets. And for decades, the two got along well enough.
But Rosenfield said the relationship soured after Jeff Wilpon became the Mets’ chief operating officer in 2002, after which communication with team officials became “virtually nonexistent.”
“When he became involved in everything was when things changed,” Rosenfield said. “I dealt with him on some things and somebody always had to go to him if you wanted to do anything. He had his nose and hands in everything.”
Costa tried to get the Mets side of the story, but they declined to comment.
The article also points out that the Mets have instructed their Triple-A pitchers not to worry about their results in Vegas.
“Performance out there requires a certain amount of interpretation,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “It’s like using metal bats in college. It can be a real test for pitchers, but the ones that survive it, we have a little more confidence in.”
Don Logan, executive vice president of the 51s, also told Costa that some of the other problems with Cashman Field lies with Mets ownership. “I don’t complain, because it doesn’t do you any good,” Logan said. “But any baseball guy knows that this place has some real holes in it.”
“There are two types of amenities: player-development amenities and fan amenities,” Logan said. “And we’re lacking in both.”
The Mets also had issues in Buffalo from the outset, Costa writes.
Buffalo reupped for another two years in July 2010 and, according to a person familiar with the matter, likely would have done so again in early 2012, when the Bisons were off to a winning start. But the Mets waited and the Bisons imploded, finishing in last place.
“Basically, they wanted a winner in Buffalo,” Alderson said.
It’s amazing just how bad things are for the organization in almost every aspect of their operations. That image problem Sandy Alderson was supposed to repair never happened and things continue to look bleak on many fronts.
Hat tip to Alex68 for the link to this story…