We hear the word culture change so frequently in our business that it sometimes is misconstrued and used to define so many things. But in the case of the New York Mets, it perfectly defines the tone and atmosphere I’ve seen in Port St. Lucie in every workout that I have witnessed.
Jeff Wilpon’s choice to hire Brodie Van Wagenen was viewed differently in many circles of the media, but my view was very simple–don’t tell me something can’t work till you see it in action. Watching Brodie the past few months, I can tell you that not only was he the right hire–but EVERY company needs leadership like this. He possesses all the things that breed success–talent, ability to listen, accountability, and no fear.
Every offseason move Brodie has made has been over-analyzed, but the bottom line is he believed from the start that coupling this pitching staff with a solid bullpen and offensive reinforcements would put the Mets in the mix for a playoff spot. He not only added pieces, but got players that ALREADY have All-Star resumes and you can see the impact they already have on the young players in this clubhouse.
Brodie cares about his employees in a multitude of ways but also readily understands that quality of life makes a player feel better about himself and increases his level of performance. You can see that concept down here in Port St. Lucie as players help each other out, both on and off the field.
And Brodie’s fingerprints are all over the place down here in how he treats everyone that he speaks to even in casual conversations. When he asks how you are, he really wants to know. And I think Jeff Wilpon deserves credit for thinking outside of the box with this hire–he brought in a person who knew that he had to make changes but at the same time understood that he had a core group here that would be a big part of the solution.
The biggest skill Brodie brings to the table is that he is not afraid and that is the most important skill a baseball general manager must possess. Belief in your plan should never waver because the media or Twitter criticizes you at every turn. Your plan can be revised as you go but the basic principle you start with must remain intact. And in the case of the Mets, it was that starting pitching can lead the way to a title as long as the bullpen and offense added weapons that would help make this pitching staff sing. And that has CLEARLY been accomplished.
This roster now has the depth and overall talent that can get Met fans back to the playoffs. Now don’t get me wrong–baseball seasons can have a boatload of twists and turns; however, the depth this roster now possesses will give Mickey Callaway the ability to navigate through the rigors of a baseball season.
Brodie Van Wagenen is the right guy at the right time, and baseball is no different than the game of life — timing is everything and the Mets will prove that in 2019.