While the Mets Brass strategized in St. Lucie, an interloper on assignment from “2 Guys” headquarters was present to record some of the conversations.
Scene: Sandy Alderson’s St. Lucie office. Jeff Wilpon enters without knocking. As usual, Jeff is dressed in loafers, high black socks, little-boy brown shorts, a white button-down shirt and tie. He is still wearing, comically, an oversized fireman’s helmet from a recent visit to a NY firehouse. Nonetheless, there is an air of self-importance about him. He takes a chair with a casual arrogance. He knows he owns it. Throughout the conversation his legs swing freely, kicking back and forth, feet not quite reaching the floor.
Jeff: Morning, Sandy.
Sandy (smiles thinly): Take a seat, Jeff.
Jeff: I wanted to share some of my thoughts about our plans for the off-season.
Sandy (shuts eyes briefly, as if sensing the early signs of an oncoming headache): Oh? Well, of course, I’m always eager to receive your input.
AS JEFF BEGINS TO SPEAK, ALDERSON’S ATTENTION IS DRAWN TO A FLY IN THE ROOM. He WATCHES AS THE INSECT DOES LOOP-THE-LOOPS AND CROSSOVERS. WHEN IT TOUCHES DOWN UPON THE DESK, ALDERSON SLIDES OPEN A DRAWER. HE SLOWLY PULLS OUT A FLY SWATTER. JEFF CONTINUES TO TALK. ALDERSON RAISES THE SWATTER . . . BUT THE FLY TAKES OFF.
Jeff: So that’s the way I see first base, okay. Ike’s like a son to Dad. Now let’s move on to second base, where I think I’ve got some pretty good ideas . . .
Sandy (jabs at keyboard, his bank finances appear on screen): Naturally we’ll take that under advisement.
Jeff: Blah, blah, Murphy, blah, Flores, blah, Baerga heist, blah.
SANDY’S FOCUS TURNS TO A BEAM OF SUNLIGHT THAT FALLS ON THE CORNER OF HIS DESK. HE KNOWS THE FLY WILL EVENTUALLY LAND THERE. ALDERSON RAISES THE SWATTER, AND WAITS. HE MURMURS TO HIMSELF, “PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE.”
Jeff: I used to talk about fine wine with Tommy Glavine in the clubhouse. He let me call him Tommy! It’s important to get close to the, urm, more refined players . . . and don’t get me wrong, I’m not just talking about the white guys.
THERE IT IS. THE FLY DEFTLY DROPS DOWN UPON THE DESK’S BRIGHT SPLASH OF SUNLIGHT. ALDERSON LEANS FORWARD, STRIKES.
Sandy (slams down swatter, screams): Take that you stupid miserable son of a bitch!
JEFF’S EYES WIDEN IN SURPRISE, HIS FIREMAN’S HELMET FALLS ASKEW. ALDERSON LIFTS THE SWATTER, STUDIES THE DESK. NOTHING THERE. MISSED. BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ. THE FLY DOES FIGURE 8’S IN THE AIR ABOVE JEFF. THE OWNER’S SON CONTINUES TO TALK, PRATTLING ENDLESSLY. BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ.
Jeff: I have a philosphy about free agents. You want to spend, but you don’t want to spend too much . . . I’m a very tough negotiator, you know. Very tough. You gotta know when to fold ‘em, that’s what I say . . .
Sandy (eyes continue to follow the fly): Yes, Jeff. Thank you. This is valuable information.
FINALLY, AT LAST, THE FLY SEEMS TO GROW TIRED AND LANDS — TO ALDERSON’S ASTONISHMENT — ON JEFF WILPON’S NOSE. WILPON GOES ON TALKING. HE DOESN’T SEEM TO REALIZE THAT A FLY IS RESTING ON HIS FACE.
Sandy: Um, Jeff? Excuse me, Jeff?
Jeff (not listening, just talking): Blah, blah, hey, don’t blame me, I told Jose, hey, mi amigo, blah, blah.
ALDERSON STANDS NOW TO FULL HEIGHT, RAISES THE SWATTER HIGH . . . A TWISTED GRIN CROSSES HIS FACE, A CRAZINESS ENTERS HIS EYES.
Sandy: Hold that thought, Jeff. Don’t . . . move . . . a muscle.
DOWN COMES THE SWATTER WITH VIOLENT FORCE, STRIKING WILPON FLUSH ON THE FACE.
Sandy (raises both arms in triumph, howls): Got you, motherf***er! Come into my office, buzzing in my ear? Yeah, how you like me now? Huh? Huh??!!
Jeff (grabs nose): Ouch, that really hurt.
Sandy (in full rant now, white foam appearing in the corners of his mouth): “DIE, DIE, DIE!”
Jeff (rises from chair, clearly frightened, sputters): My father . . . my father won’t allow . . . this is not . . . appropriate. I don’t have to take this from you. I was born on third base! I was born on third base! I hit a triple, I hit a triple, I hit a triple!
BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ. THE FLY IS STILL ALIVE, BUZZING IN THE ROOM’S UNHAPPY ATMOSPHERE, DARTING THROUGH GOLDEN SHAFTS OF SUNLIGHT. ALDERSON STARES AT IT, CRESTFALLEN. HE SLUMPS BACK INTO HIS CHAIR.
Sandy (sighs, checks watch, ashen faced): I’m sorry, Jeff. Please, take a seat. I . . . I . . . it was a mistake. Forgive me. Tell you what. Let’s get J.P. on speakerphone. Paul should be done with his Spanish lessons soon. We can conference together. We . . . we . . . we all value your input, Jeff. You bring a lot to the team.
Jeff: Thanks, Sandy. I’m sorry, it’s just . . . the pressure, the pressure, everybody wants us to win and it gets to be too much, you know, the pressure, the pressure. But I don’t look at it as pressure! No, no, not me. I look at it as . . . as . . . butterflies . . . pretty butterflies in a field of wheat . . . lots and lots of wheat.