Keidel: Flush Out Flushing

By Jason Keidel
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We have a noble impulse to respect the dead, perhaps projecting values upon them that may not exist. For instance, George Steinbrenner has been hailed as a great man since his passing last summer, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

But he was a great owner. And Fred Wilpon is not. To paraphrase the Nixonian mantra, we may not know what he knew about Bernie Madoff and when he knew it. But for the purposes of his baseball team, it doesn’t matter.

Wilpon is the face of a crumbling club that came within an inning of the World Series five years ago and has gotten exponentially worse since. And now we don’t know if he can literally afford his own franchise. If the buck stops with him – as it always did with Steinbrenner – it’s his fault.

The managers and general managers have been fired. The old stadium that housed too many titanic chokes has been pummeled to dust. There is only Fred Wilpon left, an aging owner in repose who looks like a man ready to bury his head in the symbolic sand.

I don’t know him. He may be a fine family man, a charitable man, a noble man. But as we learned with George Steinbrenner, victory trumps veracity. Despite being banned from baseball twice, we forgave George because he blessed our city with seven World Series championships.

Now the new face of the Mets, Sandy Alderson, has been shoved to the dais more than he would like. But, as he said, he knew Fred Wilpon was at least peripherally involved with Madoff, and any involvement with Madoff is bad.

We can run toward the tangential and hypothetical, but the reality is the Mets are in need of a makeover. Now. With each troubling revelation about this case (and there will be no good revelations), Alderson needs to summon every second of his training as a Marine, Harvard Crimson, advisor, and general manager. Wartime tactics aside, this is probably the toughest job he’ll ever take.

As the story sprouts new limbs each day, Alderson must learn a New York cadence. Speaking in euphemisms about glasses being half-full won’t sell with New Yorkers, who have the best BS detectors on Earth.

Alderson said the mushrooming Madoff story has no impact on his moves this year. That is a non sequitur, since he’s done nothing. (Unless you consider signing R.A. Dickey, a geriatric knuckleball pitcher, historic.)

And the last thing a gasping fan base wants to hear is that you think your $145 million payroll is far higher than you’d like to see next year and beyond. Not with the Yankees across the river, not with your own television network, not with a new park and $5 hot dogs and ten-buck beer and pricey parking. No, that won’t work, Sandy.

Don’t tell your fans that the Mets can afford you and J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta but can’t afford a free agent. None of you will score a run this season, and New Yorkers know it.

If your argument is that it isn’t fair for Alderson to be charged with the daunting task of making the Mets viable in the wake of a scandal that occurred on someone else’s watch, then he shouldn’t have taken the job. He knew the Mets were in deep water, even if he didn’t know how deep. And to borrow Alderson’s new catchphrase, it would be “naïve” to think he didn’t know what this job entailed.

Alderson is already burning in a corporate cauldron. He can’t get the fans excited until he starts winning, but he can’t start winning until he knows the state of the team. And he’s learning on a quick curve that there’s no cauldron that burns hotter than sports in New York City.

You can’t charge Mercedes prices and deliver a Hyundai At the risk of redundancy, you need to slash prices, from foam thumbs to steak dinners to dinners with Mr. Met.

What are you going to do, Sandy? And when are you going to do it?

Feel free to email me:

Can Alderson turn this ship around? Sound off in the comments below!

pixy Keidel: Flush Out Flushing
  • Rodz1

    What “ample evidence” does the writer of this article have that George Steinbrenner was not a great man. Of course, the writer does not back up his statement with anything factual. As far as the Mets are concerned, what is needed is a new manager. Someone with the will and determination to win and not just play baseball.

    • JK

      Banned from baseball twice. Illegal contributions to Richard Nixon. Paid a gambler $40,000 to spy on Dave Winfield. Fired managers and staffers on a whim. Called one of his pitchers a “Fat toad.” Ostracized Yogi Berra for years. Want more?

      It’s probably hard to read the piece in your A-Rod Snuggie.

      • Joe Cool

        Wilpon & son-in-law had to pay $13 mil to people because a ponzi scheme, in other words you moron, they scammed people for millions of dollar. Steinbrenner was fined for wrong doing because he contributed to the Nixon campaign more then he should have according to the law, but he never let his personal life affect the Yankees, he made them winners, your owner has used to Mets and their idiots fans for he’s own personal use. He fired Willie in the middle of the night when he was in the West Coast. Want more? Mets fans now have this Madoff a huge gorilla mess to deal with. LOL, LOL

  • Jimmy

    What’s Wilpon crying about. Perhaps he wouldn’t have been able to buy the Mets if he didn’t have the money that Madoff’s scam earned for him in the first place.

  • Kurt Spitzner

    As usual the author hit the nail right on the head when it comes to the Wilpons and the NY Mets!Wilpons Mets are like the little boy who cried wolf and we all know how that turned out.The best thing for the NY Mets and NY would be for the Wilpons to gracefully exit the stage and let someone come in who cares about both and doesn’t plan on just making money as is the case with the current regime!
    And once and for all,no true Mets fan feels that they are tied into the the Brooklyn Dodgers or NY Giants legacy so stop arguing a point that nobody is making!

    • Vinnie from the Bronx

      you sound a bit upset, what are you, a demented circus monkey? What is a true Mets fan anyway? One who roots for a losing team year after year? One who dreams of the Mets winning title after title like the Yankees, but never do. One who suffers, upset & jealous of watching the Yankees win year after year or all of the above. Must be tough being a true Mets fan. I’m glad you also corrected the Dodgers & Giants, they do have a little legacy & history, while the Mets don’t, but I’m sure you think they do. LOL


    Mets fans were also scammed because they believed Reyes, Beltran & Delgado would return from their injuires by mid-season in ’09, so Mets fans all went out and bought tickets with hope the Mets were getting into the WS with them coming back. Same thing in 2010. Mets management knew from the medical reports these players were not returning, they just suckered Mets fans into spending their lunch money. If you build it, they will come. LOL

  • JackMinko

    The Wilpons are no better than people who teach. People that teach anything have been proven to be cross-dressing psychotics. I was in an adult learning class and the teacher literally said he was Batman and jumped out the window. Just like the Wilpons.

    • MartyinQueens

      I agree. I’ve never met teacher that was sane. And a lot of them have extra appendages that they hide in shame as well, six fingers, etc. Terrible.

      • MrHollandsMets

        Marty’s got no appendage north of his shoulders! Hahaha

  • jimbob

    Forget it, Richard Morey. In almost 50 years now, the Mets have never had a decent farm system. They are not going to start now. The Mets used to own New York.. They let it go to the Yankees. Sale, sale, sale. That’s the way to go.

    • Big Hec

      The Mets used to own New York? you’re delusional JimBoob, Mets had a little run from ’85 to ’88 and that’s it. When a team has 27 titles they are the King of the Hill, imaginary titles fans do not count. Wishful thinking on your part, also just a note, the Brooklyn Dodgers & NY Giants history are not part of Mets history and even them Yankees kicked their a$$es in the WS 8 times, also, baseball Icons like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio, Berra, Jeter & Mo are Yankees and that’s how you own a NY

    • Mike

      So the Mets farm system wasn’t decent in the early ’80s, when it produced Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, Hubie Brooks, Wally Backman, Rick Aguilera, Randy Myers, Ron Darling, Kevin Mitchell, et. al.? Or in the late ’60s, when Seaver, Koosman, Ryan, Matlack and McGraw all came through it? If you said 20 years, I’d agree. But let’s not get carried away.

      • Hogan

        let’s clear something on Ryan, yes he was drafted by the Mets, but he really really sucked as one. His Hall of Fame career started when he was with the Angels, Astros & Rangers. He’s known for playing for those 3 teams. He would be a Jeopardy question on who he started with and 10 out of 10 would get it wrong. So let’s not get carried away on the Mets farm system.

      • Vinnie from the Bronx

        other then Seaver & Ryan how many of those others made it to the Hall of Fame or had great careers. Every team in baseball bring up kids from the minors who make it in the majors, Strawberry & Gooden were really good, those other names, yeah, they scared you, you should have added Harrelson, Garrett & Stern, other big name players, LOL. By the way, Darling came in a trade from Texas, not a home grown player, but you knew that right? LOL.

  • GeorgePrinceton

    This is just a horrible artiicle. What si your point? Oh wait, don’t answer that, I don’t want to know.

    • JK

      Thanks for sharing, Jorge. I teach adult literacy in case you need some help. Until then, have someone read the piece to you.

  • Mark Silvers

    Excellent article

  • Edward Hoyt

    OK, regarding Steinbrenner, the man did a lot of terribly generous things in his time. But surely few people need to be told teh negative side of the ledger. Regarding WFAN as a hill for the Mets: really? A shill for stupidity, maybe.. Francessa treats the Mets like garbage.

    • Martin

      what does the Yankees and Steinbrener have to do with the Mets, absolutely nothing, so bringing them up does not change that fact that the Mets have a big mess on their hands. Understandably Mets fans have been very jealous of the Yankees success since Steinbrenner bought the Yankees and made them into a powerhouse (7 World Series Titles & 11 Pennants), best record in all of baseball since 1973, but again, the Mets mess has nothing to do with the Yankees, so keep Steinbrenner and the Yankees out of the equation.

  • Habib

    Fans have been saying dump Wilpon for years – now suddenly it’s chic because it looks like they literally can’t afford to run the team? What about the years of losses and incompetence before this Madoff thing? These writers have no balls and don’t mean baseball. WFAN is a shill company for SNY and should be dumped along with the Wilpons.

    • JK

      Sorry we didn’t know the extent of Wilpon’s involvement with Madoff. No doubt you did and have been telling us for years. Right?

  • nick

    …what “ample evidence to the contrary” regarding Steinbrenner being a good man?? Did he not contribute to MULTIPLE charities over the years? Take care of his own? Be a responsible father and a husband? Try to deliver a winning team to his fanbase year after year at all costs? What an ignorant remark.

    • JK

      Banned from baseball twice. Illegal contributions to Richard Nixon. Hired a gambler to spy on Dave Winfield. Fired managers and staffers for no good reason. Ostracized Yogi Berra for years. Yeah, he’s a regular Abe Lincoln.

      Again – great owner, dubious person. Please understand the difference.

  • Edward Hoyt

    Yeah, as soon as George Steinbrenner is held up as an example, the credibility of the argument falls away.

  • Rich K. Risti

    I an homage to Mr. Madoff, Wilpon is probably going to hire seat fillers for the stadium to try and convince investors that the fan base is loyal through thick and thin. Only chance of a sellout after Opening Day is if they run a Kick the Owner While He’s Down Night.

  • Richard Morey

    I agree with most of what this article says but as a life long Mets fan I have never wanted the Mets to try to compete with the Yankees for headlines – especially not during the off season with splash free agent signing. The Mets should shed as many high priced players as they can and look to rebuild the farm system and become a young exciting team.

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