NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Frank Robinson knows what it’s like to manage a team under financial turmoil. He took over the Montreal Expos in 2002, a team that, while owned by Major League Baseball, appeared headed toward contraction.

Robinson believes the Mets will have a rough season trying to deal with countless stories and speculation regarding the franchise’s finances.

“My players were jaded by the time I got there, because they had been hearing rumors about the team for a few years,” he told The New York Post on Monday. “For the Mets, it’s all new. It’s going to be a distraction.”

The paper quotes Robinson as saying he didn’t give the Expos a “big message or a rah-rah thing” because there’s “nothing they could do about it.”

“They’re going to have to deal with questions they can’t answer and don’t even know about,” Robinson said. “They’re going to be asked about it wherever they go, so they’d better get used to it.”

The club’s embattled owners recently filed legal papers disputing a court trustee’s claim that they owe more than $1 billion because they should have known their investments with Madoff were fraudulent.

“It’s a much larger problem than we had in Montreal because it’s ongoing and it deals personally with their ownership,” Robinson said, “since a lot of them know the Wilpon family.”

In January, Wilpon and his son, Jeff, announced they were looking into selling up to 25 percent of the franchise because of “uncertainty” caused by the lawsuit.

Fred Wilpon has said that sale of a controlling interest of the team is “not on the table” and has assured fans the team will have the resources to be competitive. No matter how they’re playing, Robinson thinks, the players are going to hear about it.

“They’re gonna hear it from the loudmouths in the stands and are going to get barbs all the time,” said Robinson. “It’s going to be a difficult season.”

According to Robinson, you can try to calm the players’ nerves, but they’ll still be nagged by questions.

“In 2002, I talked about the situation with my team before spring training and again before the regular season,” he said. “But it’s not that simple. You don’t keep it off their mind, because you can’t.”

Do you think the Mets will have a hard time dealing with the owners’ alleged money woes? Sound off in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (17)
  1. CATMAN says:

    the big difference,Frank,if Imay call you that,is the Mets are not being disolved as a franchise,nor are they being moved to Northern Virginia,or Las Vegas,nor D.C. or wherever in spite of WILPON’S WOES.Most players don’t care if Fred and Jeff and Mutt leave or somebody else buys,the franchise will remain in NYC.-THE MEDIA CAPITAL of the world. The smart players will inform the press early on that they don’t intend to discuss the Madoff/Wilpon mess(it’s not their concern,expertise,etc.)and that there only interested in what takes place “between the lines”and the game result. Once that’s established,the media guys should back off and let the players deal with baseball.–CATMAN.

    1. James says:

      this is New York, not Kanas City or Utah where’s there just one paper and a small news station. As a Mets fan, how many times did you see on the front and back pages of something going on with a Yankee, first thing on ESPN and local tv, even the smallest, meaningless thing, A-Rod this , Jeter this , Reggie this & that, George fires another manager.

      How many times will Reyes be asked this year if he intends to re-signed with the Mets or go free agent if the Mets are reducing the payroll. How many times will the Madoff mess be brought up when the Mets are falling apart. Wiil Wright be re-signed next year if there’s no money. It will be played on and on.

      Look what ii happening with the Dodgers & look what happened with the mess the Texas Rangers were in, no one cared because they’re not national news. This is NYC, the media does what sales papers & local tv not what you think they should do. The Mets are not the Yankees, but welcome to the media club, now you know.

  2. Joseph Rottino says:

    Charles , Yes , you’re right the Yankees won in ’09 , their last championship since bearing the Mets in 2000 , and losing on the big stage in ’01 and ’03 . and, yes , the Yankees have a wonderful history of past accomplishments , and , yes , they presently own the city , (but any protracted losing streak and that ownership will end .) All of this I had already stipulated . My point was simply : don’t waste your time comparing the two teams . Concern yourself with the AL race , until the WS , and if your team happens to be in it , then you have a legitimate interest in looking at comparative strengths and weaknesses . I , for one , am much more interested in the state of the Phillies and Braves , and even the Marlins . How the Mets fare against them will determine to a great extent the success or failure of their season . The Yankees , to me , are a mild distraction . If they are winning or losing is unimportant . If they win , it is probably accepted . If they collapse , like the Mets did in ’07 and ’08 , which I’m sure gave you great glee , it becomes a prime baseball story . And, by the way , it remains to be seen whether or not the Yankees own the Red Sox . I’m sure Geradi ,et. al. don’t think so . They may be confident , but not arrogant like may of their fans . There is a difference . So have fun in the schollyard while it lasts . It won’t be forever .

    1. Charles says:

      Joseph, you haven’t been paying much attention to the Yankees, in the last 16 years they’ve won 5 WS Titles, been to the WS 7 times, won 7 Pennants, won the AL East Division Title 11 times, other then ’08, they’ve been to the post season 15 times & 10 were in a roll.

      Even you have to admit that’s very impresive, no team has had that run & for you to say ” have fun while it last” is silly, that’s 16 years & not 3 like the Mets did from ’86-’88. Yes we own Boston, see above why & we own NY, that’s a fact

      Do I need to add the rest of the Yankees rich history, it’s mad crazy, so Joseph, it has lasted many many generations. It is forever. Don’t be a hater, join us, many Mets fans already have.

  3. Hammerin' Stank says:

    Frank needs to not speak…the Expos and the Mets are like apples and blowling balls…this is a stupid story…

  4. Joseph Rottino says:

    Charles , You are the classic schoolyard bully , as so many Yankee fans are . You love to kick someone , in this case the Mets , when he’s down . Where were you during he late 80’s when the Mets owned New York ? As far as I remember most Mets fans were celebrating their team , not denigrating the Yankees who had fallen on hard times . Yes , the Yankees have a storied history replete with countless championships , and they are probably the greatest sports franchise in America like Manchester United in Britain . Isn’t that enough fort you and your ilk ? Why beat up on a franchise that is struggling to return to relevance ? I notice that with all their “Power , Pride , Championships ” it has been a while since they ,i n fact , won a championship . Maybe , that’s why you have launched an inappropriate attack on a team which is down . Worry about your own team which is going to have its hands full with the Red Sox , the team to beat in the A.L. Why on earth should you be concerned with the Mets , who are not a threat , in any form , to you or your team , whose only connection to the Yankees is the city they share . Remember the biblical admonition , ” Pride goeth before the Fall .” Do you rally think the Yankees will be on top forever , or perhaps , just maybe , in the fullness of time they will experience dark days . When , and not if , those days arrive , remember your arrogance and then maybe you’ll understand what it’s like to be getting beaten up by the current schoolyard bully . Diogenes

    1. Charles says:

      Joseph, the Yankees just won in ’09, where have you been? this goes to show you do not pay attention to what goes on in baseball other the Mets, so that does not say much. Kick the Mets fan when his down, Mets fans brag every year about the Mets & LOVE to rag on the Yankees, every year. Mets fans love to dish it, but like children, can’t take it. Also, we hear this nonsense about Boston EVERY YEAR.

      When Boston signed Smoltz in ’09 that’s all we heard, Boston have the best pitching, Yankees went out smack Smoltz into retirement & won the title, their 27th, so much for Boston the team to beat. Boston has beaten the Yankees just once when it mattered in that was in ’04, other than that the Yankees in the end come upon top. Like NYC, we own the Red Sox

      Also owning the City, Mets had just a 3 year run in the 80’. The Yankees have won 27 titles & that’s how you own a city. I know you’re hurting inside, but hey it is what it is. Put a quarter in the slot & call someone who cares.

    2. A Marcel says:

      Frank Robinson is not the type of person who seeks interviews, therefore I have to think he was simply being accommodating to a reporter. What he said has merit because he experienced something similar and if ANYONE believes the new york media isn’t going to ‘hammer’ this thing to death during the year, then they’re not paying attention.

  5. TONY MORE says:


    1. Vic says:

      You’re upset aren’t you Tony Moron because he’s telling the truth. Don’t tell us, you had the Mets winning the division, going on the win the League Championship & then the World Series & now Robinson has mess that up for you, he shattered you’re dream. Robinson experience that with the Expos so he knows what he’s talking about.

      All he said was its going to be a difficult season. You can learn something by paying attention to his statement. He’s not saying anything different then what most smart people have been saying, you’re just too ignorant in wanting to accept the truth. You’re delusional into thinking otherwise.

      3 more days before the Mets season of dismay begins.

    2. MasterShake says:

      You’re right Tony. Let’s just wait and see. Because the Expos players were distracted does not mean that Mets will be, or that every team faced with financial difficulties from here on out will react exactly like the Expos.

      Vic – is Robinson a God to you? Do you pray at night to him. Do you base all of your opinions off of what he says? Do you feel that if Frank Robinson says it, it must be true and it must be the only possible outcome? Are you even capable of formulating your own thoughts?

      1. Vic says:

        Tony is right, what is he The Messiah & you’re one his disciples? Like you, Tony knows jack. Tony, like you, does not want to hear the truth. It’s there, even a blind man can see what’s coming, because it is, you can’t run away from it,

        You can’t close your eyes , tap you heels twice & say “I wish it’s not true, I wish It’s not true” open your eyes & the Mets are celebrating the WS, well, it is true & its reality, that’s something Mets fans do not want to face. Mets fans think it will go away before the season starts. Guess what? the season starts Friday, April 1st, April Fool’s Day, how fitting.

  6. RobbieJaz says:

    If paid shills like Boomer & Carton would stop defending the Wilpons as owners and let this Madoff mess force them to sell it would be the best thing for the franchise. There was nothing wrong with the financials 3 years ago, 4 years ago, 5 years ago, 6 years ago, 7 years ago….

  7. george steinbrenner from the grave says:

    who cares…yankees all the way baby

    1. Charles says:

      Wilpon wanted to be like Steinbrenner. Mets fans want to be like Yankees fans, but it takes more than money. It takes Pride, Power, Championships. George had it, Wilpon does not. Yankees have it, Mets do not. No wonder Mets fans are so envious

      1. MasterShake says:

        “but it takes more than money” — as a Yankee fan you should know that all it takes is money.

      2. Charles says:

        Gee Masterbater, the Mets have spent billions in the last 15 years, last 10 years with the highest payroll in the NL & spend $150 mil just last year, and tell me, what have the Mets won with all this money spend? I tell you because you’re too stupid to know & to an@l to want to accept, nothing, so much for money.

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