Fred Does His Best James Dolan Impression

An article by posted on February 28, 2014

wilpon

On Thursday, Joe D wrote in a post:

John Harper of the Daily News reported this morning that at a staff meeting a couple of days ago, Sandy Alderson told Mets executives and baseball personnel that he strongly believes that the ballclub can and maybe even should win 90 games this season.

Also, according to people who were in the room, after Alderson’s decree prompted discussion about how to best maximize the Mets’ assets, owner Fred Wilpon chimed in at one point and said, “We better win 90.” 

I found the comment a bit odd.  It also caused me to pause and reflect on a similar story. On Halloween 2013, Ian Begley of ESPN New York reported:

In a recent meeting with the coaching staff and some team executives, Dolan said he believes the Knicks have enough talent to win a title and that he expects them to do so this season, league sources with knowledge of the owner’s message during the meeting confirmed. “He told them he believes they have enough talent to win it all,” one source said, “and he expects it to happen this year.”

If you’ve walked through Penn Station and thought that the toilets might be backing up, you were wrong. The smell of defeat is coming from Madison Square Garden, where the only thing the Knicks might be in danger of winning is a lottery pick. Oh wait… They traded their first round draft pick to Denver for Carmelo Anthony.

Guaranteeing a championship is a risky proposition.  It puts undue pressure on a team to perform. Lebron James didn’t go to Miami expecting to win a championship.  He obviously knew he had put himself into a better position to win and made his own wild prediction. Things sometimes just go wrong.  The best you can do is give yourself a chance.

The anti-Wilpon crowd is already screaming “The team is broke!” “Fred needs to win to stay afloat!” “Sell the team!”.

I’ve made the same exclamations on many occasions.

In my wildest dream, Mark Cuban swoops in and wrestles our beloved Mets from the talon-like clutches of Fred and Jeff Wilpon and returns the franchise to its former glory. And while I think Fred does need to win to lessen the chains that bind his empire, I think something else is at play here.

Fred Wilpon, age 77, is getting a little long in the tooth and he’s beginning to lose his filter. Remember your grandfather blurting out whatever he wanted and didn’t care who heard?  I think it’s kind of like that. Fred is fed up. He doesn’t like losing. He’s cash strapped. When he has spent money in recent years, it’s been for naught.

While younger and in more control owners keep their own confidences, Fred just lets it all hang out.  And I think Fred will continue to speak his mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Fred who said that Ruben Tejada looks to be in the same shape as last year.

DIGIPIXFred has a history of speaking his mind.  In his now infamous interview with Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker, Fred Wilpon said of David Wright “A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”

And of Jose Reyes ““He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.”

Well Fred, you were partially right. He didn’t get it from you.

Fred should learn from James Dolan, not emulate him. It’s not too late to teach an old dog new tricks. Making predictions, especially with a perceived threat behind them “We better win 90″ or else doesn’t really help the team win. It’s just a distraction. Or maybe it’s not. What do I know?

At the end of the day, maybe the players just consider it the ramblings of a grumpy old man.

mmo

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