It is interesting how Sandy Alderson will move forward as the trade deadline approaches. After a disastrous road trip three weeks ago that saw the team slip to double digits under .500, the Mets GM suggested that Collins and Co. could still turn it around this season, making them buyers rather than sellers. He said this team was much better than the record would indicate. (By the way, we said it first and we made Run Differential the latest craze.)
It sounded preposterous at the time, but here we are with the Mets climbing up from the cellar to third place and just seven games out of first place. Now the question becomes was Sandy just blowing smoke or was he serious?
Notice the subtle change in demeanor yesterday, when he told MLB.com the latest:
“A lot will depend on what happens over the next couple of weeks,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “I think there’s no question our win-loss record needs to improve pretty significantly. When I talk about being close, I talk about not just the second half of this season, but going forward. So I think we have to be cognizant of that as well.”
Ah… did you catch that? All of a sudden the record needs to significantly improve and furthermore the decision relies on whether the front office sees this team as a contender going forward and not just based on going 8-2 over their last ten games.
If Sandy was blowing smoke, I can’t blame him. It’s a tough decision anyway you slice it. He may be in a damned if you do or damned if you don’t position in 13 days.
On the one hand, what exactly would the Mets be buying and are we really as good as our last ten games? Or is our last 95 games the more accurate indicator? Ironic huh? Two weeks ago it was we weren’t as bad as our record would indicate, and now it sounds like we may not be as good as our last ten games would indicate.
How are you going to sell that to the franchise when just two weeks ago you were yanking on the heart strings of the fan base and telling them “we could’ve been a contender?”
All the Free Shirt Fridays in the world and even a Devo or Wham concert couldn’t prevent what will be a huge public relations nightmare and even more declining attendance and revenues.
Like I said, this is going to be two very intriguing weeks to follow MMO and the Mets.
Speaking of attendance, read what Mets chief revenue officer Lou DePaoli had to say Wednesday in an interview with Steven Marcus of Newsday.
“Halfway through the year we have our slight uptick in attendance already,” DePaoli said. “So, now it’s a matter of what kind of hay we can make the rest of the season. The team has been playing well and the fans have reacted just in the last week or so,” he said of the 8-2 homestand leading into the All-Star break. “You saw some pretty nice crowds toward the end and I’m sure if the team continues to play at that level we’ll see more increased interest.”
Last season, the Mets drew 2,135,657 fans at home, the lowest total since 1997. The Mets’ average attendance last season was 26,366. They have drawn 1,278,686 thus far, an average of 26,639.
DePaoli says even if the team performs at status quo the attendance is likely to go up a little by the end of the year. If the Mets falter and become sellers:
“If you wind up getting rid of a player or two you have to assess what the popularity level of the person was and what’s our message going forward. Yes we did this and here’s why but here’s what we got back in return... It’s a lot easier when you turn around and say we just added players because we’re trying to make a stretch run. That’s an easy one.”
DePaoli said he will rely on weekend promotions, such as fireworks, concerts, free shirts and other giveaways to boost attendance. “You build the infrastructure so that if the team performance increases we can maximize the opportunities and if the team doesn’t perform well you can minimize any damage.”
Looks like the Wilpons have got this thing all figured out. If we can’t give them wins, we’ll give them fireworks, concerts, free shirts and other giveaways.