Great, great piece in the WSJ the other day about the disaster that is the Mets Triple-A farm club in Las Vegas. Really, it should be required reading. Of course, we wrote about this a while back with similar conclusions, but it was nice to be vindicated in The Wall Street Journal. Good job, Brian Costa, especially for dragging the back story into the light. And of course, to no one’s surprise, the real villian here is Jeff Wilpon.
Here’s a sample:
[Dave] Rosenfield was Norfolk’s general manager when it became the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in 1969 (it was named Tidewater then) and was still on the job when the Mets left in late 2006. Only a one-hour flight from New York, Norfolk was perfectly suitable for the Mets. And for decades, the two got along well enough.
But Rosenfield said the relationship soured after Jeff Wilpon became the Mets’ chief operating officer in 2002, after which communication with team officials became “virtually nonexistent.”
“When he became involved in everything was when things changed,” Rosenfield said.
To quote my buddy Howard, who bleeds orange and blue, who loves the team as much as anybody, “Yup. Jeff’s the worst. Period.”
When I think of the Wilpons I always think of “The Godfather.” It all lines up. Fred, the “self-made man” made with “interesting” business ventures. He is Don Corleone. The dumb as a rock older child, Jeff, who wants to prove he is smart, clearly Fredo. And the younger son Bruce, in exile overseas, trying to stay out of the family “business.” The answer comes from within, our Michael Corleone exists.
Are you suggesting . . . that we need to explore internal options?
Don’t we just need Bruce to come back and take over the business?
Well, Bruce did a great job scouting Matsui.
On second thought.
Jeff is the brat Prince, the bully boy with the silver spoon, the entitled punk — a suit rising to power solely by virtue of birth, not talent or ability. The embodiment of the anti-American Way. The guy who, to quote an expression, was born on third base and acts like he just hit a triple.
My favorite Jeff Wilpon story comes from a terrific (and balanced) 2008 article by Michael P. Geffner. I’m going to quote it at length:
It didn’t help that whatever suspicions people had about Jeff’s substance were made that much worse by the fear and loathing of his out-of-the-gate, rough-edged style. To those within the inner sanctum of Metland, he was seen early on, according to sources and published accounts, as something of a pugnacious punk, someone who’d only remove the silver spoon born in his mouth to rap people over the head with it: snooty, abrasive, impatient, short-tempered, unreasonable and a bully over the powerless, who would go so far as to fire an usher for committing the egregious sin of smoking a cigarette on the job.
One revealing story goes back to 2003, Jeff’s first full season as COO. The Mets had just finished playing a series against the Expos in Puerto Rico, and they were returning on the team charter. First, however, they needed to go through security on the tarmac, forced to stand on this long, snaking line. It was taking an eternity, too. Jeff, who had stayed behind while his father flew out a day earlier on a private plane, suddenly showed up, taking his place in the back. But after waiting for just a half-minute, he released this snort of an exasperated sigh, lifted up his luggage with a snap, and simply bolted to the front, passing a string of stunned expressions — and forever-altered perceptions.
“It was like, ‘I’m more important than everybody else,’” said one eyewitness.
Even from afar the dynamics have been easy to spot. A father gains wealth but ends up with a dolt of a son. No amount of ill-found money can fix that. The father tries, somehow, to shield and boost the son, but he can’t fix the problem. He can’t make Jeff intelligent. And with all the boosting and shielding he makes the situation worse, creating a rich, spoiled, man-child.
After the Kazmir trade, I remember the Wilpons getting killed on WFAN — just brutalized — and it was all fair and appropriate. Fred’s reaction at that time was to shield Jeff from the criticism. He put Jeff into hiding and brought in Omar. Jeff only comes out when things are going good. He works his dark magic in the bleak, unlit corridors of power.
Yes, Fred knows what Jeff is, he is not in denial. It kills him but he knows. That becomes clear every time Jeff has a flashlight on him. Fred runs in front.
Or he pushes Omar in front of Jeff, or later, Sandy. Somebody to keep Jeff from becoming the target. I honestly think it’s the only way to hurt Fred — you’ve got to get to the kid first.
If you want to make yourself sick, go here and listen to Jeff actually sing along with a song parody that mocks the Mets on “The Boomer and Carlton Show.” Your skin will crawl, believe me.
I have a punishment in mind for Jeff. He should be forced to watch the new Will Smith movie, “After Earth,” co-starring Will’s son, Jaden. I want Jeff to see this nepotistic crap on a continuous loop for 48 hours. Over and over again, eyelids forced open like Alex in that classic scene from “Clockwork Orange.”
Oh, the horror.