It’s really sad to see what the Mets have become: A great franchise, on the biggest stage in sports, is now a laughingstock. Ownership is trying to turn the Mets, a big-market franchise, into a small-market franchise. That’s not just sad, it’s disgusting.
You know what I think when I read about the Mets nowadays? We’ve become the Oakland A’s. We’re the Pittsburgh Pirates. Our fans deserve better than that. You can’t possibly build a dynasty when you’re cutting costs left and right. The only way to turn it around is to sell the team.
It hurts me to say this, because I’ve always liked Fred Wilpon. I know in his heart how much he wants the Mets to succeed. He’s always lived and died with the team. But there comes a time when it’s no longer possible to be in charge. Fred doesn’t have enough money to make it work.
People ask me all the time about the Madoff controversy. How much did the Wilpons know? My heart wants to believe Fred wasn’t in on the scheme, that there’s no way he would take that big of a gamble. The part of me that likes Fred thinks he just got taken advantage of. But there’s a flip side that I can’t ignore: No one makes that much money without knowing where it’s coming from.
Either way you look at it, what you have now is a team that feels like it’s bankrupt. Jose Reyes was allowed to walk without even getting an offer? If that’s your plan, you better have someone to replace him with. But the Wilpons don’t.
Reyes and David Wright were the heart of that team. Those were the guys the Mets had to build around. But now that Reyes is in Miami, Wright will be traded by the All-Star break. If they’re going to run this like a small-market team, that’s the way it’s going to unfold. If I’m David Wright, I’d want to be gone.
That’s because it’s going to be a long summer—you’re talking about last place. It’s a tough division all of a sudden. Who do we have that’s going to beat Stephen Strasburg or Cliff Lee? Who’s going to match up against Tim Hudson or Tommy Hanson? We won’t even be able to beat Mark Buehrle. Everyone in the division has at least one big weapon that we don’t have.
I feel bad for the fans because they deserve so much better. But I also feel bad for some of the guys who’ve gotten a raw deal. That’s one thing I can say about the front office—they don’t show a lot of loyalty.
Look at what happened to Mookie Wilson: He just got fired. Mookie went to the wall for the organization, but they still canned him. Look at Ken Oberkfell. Guy puts in twelve years with the organization; next thing you know, he’s been fired. No explanation. Those are the little things that tell you what direction a team is going in. People around the game hear about this stuff. They talk about it: “What’s happening to the Mets?” It depresses the hell out of me because I don’t think it’s going to improve until 2014 at the earliest. It’s going to be hard to ask the fans to sit through two brutal seasons, even though there’s some talent coming through the system.
What makes it worse is being in the same market as the Yankees. Obviously they have more money, but there used to be a time when the Mets and Yankees were equals. Today, it’s totally lopsided. But that’s not to say I have a problem with the Yankees—I don’t. I’m not jealous of them. They’ve given New York a product their fans can be proud of, like it’s supposed to be. I like Derek Jeter, I think he’s a class act. I read some of the good things and the bad things that were said when he was renegotiating, but he ended up having a pretty decent year. Is he overpaid now? Sure, but he earned it when he was younger. The Yankees took care of him, the way you’re supposed to.
I’m waiting for the day when the Mets get back to doing things the right way. In the meantime, it’s a disaster.