The Crack in the Plan

MetsRadioNetworkMike:

Yesterday two news items rolled in. One was that WFAN will not be carrying Mets games any more. The team has been ditched for Yankee broadcasts. The second item was that Ruben “Pulling Teeth” Tejada had been recalled. I see a connection in these two items. We have all been wondering for some time why Ruben was not being called up. It turns out that by waiting until this magic day we can push his impending free agency back a year. Think about it. All signs are that this organization cannot wait to be rid of Tejada, yet it was still deemed important to delay his free agency, on the odd chance, that maybe, however slim the chance, the Mets can save a few bucks. Forget that the guy playing shortstop the last month is killing the team and has no future here. And that some people have bought tickets to these games, or might watch on TV, or listen on the radio. Nope, screw everyone, the only thing that matters is expenses.

Jimmy:

Well, to be fair, there’s also the misguided conception that it makes Ruben more attractive to another (phantom) trade partner. Sorry, I’m grasping for straws here. Carry on!

Mike:

WFAN Seaver dayThen on the same day we find out WFAN is dropping the team. This is no small deal. The Mets created WFAN. There would be no WFAN without the Mets. The enterprise began on the old WHN 1050 signal that carried the Mets, and revolved around the Mets. Who, by the way, were far and away a bigger deal around here then the Yankees. Now things have devolved so much that they are no longer interested in airing our games. Can we blame them? WFAN is not interested in how low we can get the payroll. They are interested in a winning and exciting team.

Jimmy:

Meanwhile, for all of their problems, mistakes, and adversity, the Yankees are playing — wait for it — meaningful games in September. It must be fun, you know, to passionately care about the result of a ball game.

Mike:

In another affront to fans we have the reintroduction of Frank Francisco in our lives. I had to see this guy last night. Every Mets fan has had it with him, there is three weeks to go, and we have to look at this guy? And from where I sit it seems like another stupid ploy to save a few dollars. Hoping someone will take him from you for the stretch run, pay him for a few weeks. In the meantime it is a symbolic middle finger to every fan of this team who has had it with Francisco. And the park gets emptier and emptier.

How can this be smart business?

Jimmy:

leak1Well, gee, okay, maybe you found a teeny-tiny little crack in “THE PLAN.” The complete neglect of the revenue side in one of the biggest markets on the planet. I’ve mentioned it before, I live near Albany and we can’t get the games on the radio. We are witnessing the cultural marginalization of a NYC baseball team. The club is irrelevant. We’re like jazz on the radio. Do you know that show, “Bar Rescue”? My boys love it. The guy comes in, observes for a while, then it’s scorched earth. Usually there’s waste, crappy personal, poor management. So he works to get that in order. But the other prong in the recovery is to bring in customers. Because, you know, a bar is dead if nobody walks in the door. Sounds obvious, I know. But, well, you were at Citi Field last night. Long line in the restrooms?

Mike:

There could not have been 5,000 people there. I tried to get a picture but I only had the phone and couldn’t get a decent shot because of the glare from the lights. Two quick stats. I was sitting in the Caesers Level behind home, one section over from Howie Rose and Josh Lewin. Including me there were seven people in the section, in very good seats. That got me to looking around the park and counting how many sections had zero people in them. I stopped at twenty five, at which point I had looked around at about half of the place.

Every year things get worse, and every year we get told it is getting better. But it doesn’t. The only constant since Madoff is that the payroll drops, every year.

Jimmy:

Jon Taffer, meet the Wilpons. We need a "Team Rescue."

Jon Taffer, meet the Wilpons. We need a “Team Rescue.”

They continue to lose money. The irony here, I think, is that the only way to turn the tide, the only way to regain fan interest and start making money, is to start spending it. The Mets could be an improved team in 2014, they could easily add 10-15 wins to this unit. But they must spend money. It’s the only immediate way out of this mess. Unless you want to exchange the faulty old 3-year plan into a brand new 5-year plan! We can start dreaming of Nimmo in RF and 2017. I’ve got time. My heart is good. I exercise, eat right, my father lived into his 80s. There’s no rush. I’ve got cable, HBO, Showtime. I’ll wait.

Mike:

They are selling a product, and there is a lot of competition. You look at this roster and it’s hard to imagine how we become relevant again this decade if we do not start increasing payroll. But then you watch the continued actions of the organization and wonder, will we? The new September Mets tradition has become bad baseball and a lack of hope.

That is a tradition that has to end fast, or the Mets will be lucky to land a Podcast.

Podcast

 

ADDENDUM:

On this day, 9/11/13, it would be remiss of us not to remember, and reflect upon the brave, the fallen, the innocent. And what it means to come back from adversity, and rise again.

freedom_tower

And another memory, forever attached to that time in our lives . . . enjoy.

 

 

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20 comments

  1. Patrick Boegel says:

    I am not even sure what I am rooting for any longer.

    At this stage I am almost leaning toward the Mets continued irrelevance so that A. Alderson leaves town looking a fool with his plan and toadies in tow. B. The ridiculous creditors stringing along their friends Fred and Saul finally ask them to show their hand.

    The reason I’ve always been a touch skeptical of “the money from x and y comes off the books after 2013″ is because well, if the money was so obviously coming off the books, would we have caved into the earth spending some in 2013, or even 2012? If the Mets magic threshold to not lose a dime is a payroll of somewhere between $90-$110MM, which the money off the books would seem to suggest, that is not going to cut it in the reality based 2014 baseball world. Because they HAVE to buy talent, they have created next to none and are unwilling to part with anything meaningful.

    I keep hearing about them trading Daniel Murphy. Look, I get it, he is NOT great, he is awkwardly positioned. But the guy is borderline the only player on the team the last few years with a pulse. David Wright, god love em, is not a Captain or leader of anything. He actually epitomizes everything about the Terry and Sandy show, say a lot by saying next to nothing, often.

    I was skeptical that Cleveland with Francona and some moves would be competitive this year, but they were. I thought everything Boston did was smart going back to last summer, but I still thought it would take a full season and maybe in 2014 they could contend for a wild card.

    I look at St. Louis and Texas and the player losses they continually withstand.

    The Mets are just a poorly run ship from top to bottom. And the whole notion that the “adults” were in the room now when Alderson descended from on high to grace us has proven that the adults are just chicken to make a serious move that might backfire. Because the adults did not really want this job.

    The seals will continue to clap and spend their summer on twitter and MetsMinorLeagueBlog chirping about the future. The great thing about the future, is that there is seemingly always one. You can always conjure up dream scenarios of 2015, 2016 or 2017 when player x, y or z arrives. Mean time, real time ticks away. And the Mets continue to play meaningless games in April.

  2. Patrick Boegel says:

    Also, 70.6% of Mets fans actually believe in Sandy Alderson, STILL, per a Metsblog poll yesterday. After 3 progressively worse seasons.

    The vitriol and mob mentality that existed in October of 2007 after the Mets seemingly impossible collapse has given way to ambivalence and doe eyed wishful thinking.

    • Michael Geus says:

      The real poll goes on nightly in the Stadium. Last night was the smallest crowd I have seen at a Mets game in thirty years.

      In September 2007 Shea Stadium was packed.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        I hear you, but the average fan has turned to football and sees everything as a-ok. Only the very diehards are sticking around through September, and even there, I’d venture to guess that Alderson would win a poll 60/40.

        So yes, I get it actual revenue is what drives the ship and there was no revenue at the ballpark last night.

        Those voting in favor of Alderson have two constant easy opt outs, it takes time and nothing is guaranteed.

        These same folks were ruthless to Omar Minaya’s poor decisions, of which he made his fair share. Alderson talks a better game and therefore will be given much rope. Though a couple of disciples of Sandy started finally scratching their heads in August.

  3. Eraff says:

    Patrick—THAT is just the post of the year…. Thank You!!!

  4. Eric says:

    Patrick’s Post was Fuel For Thought… TEAM FAN: There is NOTHING as inseparable, “NON-DIVORCEABLE” as a sports team!

    A marriage can end….and we all understand. You can leave a Job…You can move your home…..

    hmmm…no Divorce?…Is there an Annulment?

    • It is forever, and I personally hate every creep who talks about changing teams.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      For actual fans, there is no end, or at least better said remarry. I watched and listened to supposed fans make that leap after the 2007 season, to which I could only conjure a shrug and say you’d never have made it in Boston or Chicago.

      The reason I am angry or disappointed is not because I am yearning to give up, but mostly because it would be nice for maybe another 5-6 year stint that the Mets by really good and matter, not stumble into an accidental 2-3 year run here and there, which is what happened in the late 1990s and during the post Kazmir fallout.

      A sustained plan means constant well considered expenditures in both player development and player acquisition. The Mets excel at leaning toward one and only one strategy.

      The last time they considered both, with equal and constant vigilance, shockingly, they stumbled into a world title.

      I’ve tried through the years, even through the initial months of the Madoff bomb to give the Wilpons the benefit of the doubt. But the fact remains, since they have taken a large stake in this team post 1986 it has been haphazardly run.

      There is not unequivocal commitment to a design other than “don’t over promise”.

  5. Alan K. says:

    Unfortunately it’s really not about winning. It’s about the Wilpons trying to retain a family heirloom.

  6. Brian Joura says:

    I think you discovered a great solution – have Jon Taffer threaten to get physical with the Wilpons if they don’t change their ways.

  7. RAFF says:

    Yeah – a good cleaning of the Mets “kitchen” to get the cock-roaches scattering and destroyed is a nice mental picture, but it’s wishful thinking. We’ve seen this movie before, and it’s unlikely. What inevitably comes next is that once they cobble together a few players who can push this club north of .500, we’ll again have Jeff jumping in front of the pack, Like Alexander Haig>>> “I’M IN CHARGE, HERE..”

  8. Vinnie says:

    Look, I am most definitely in the “spend the money” camp, however, to be fair, you can’t say the only hope for “meaningful games” lies in a high payroll. Look around the league. In the NL East, the Braves, with an $89M payroll, are running away with it, while the Phillies, with a $159M payroll, are out of it. In the Central, the Pirates, with a $66M payroll, are contending and the Cubs at $104M are worse than the Mets. In the West the big spending $214M Dodgers are killing it but the $142M Giants are playing out the string.

    Over in the AL, why are the $57M (!!!) Rays in the race in the East while the Reyes and Dickey led Jays ($118M) not? Same with the $82M Indians and $80M Royals but not the $124M White Sox. And in the West the $68M A’s are playoff bound and the $142M Angels will be watching LA Kiss games.

    What’s my point? That spending money doesn’t guarantee winning and NOT spending doesn’t guarantee mediocrity. Payroll is not the issue. The issue is talent development. Identifying undiscovered and undervalued talent. Putting together the right mix of players. Teams that do that consistently win even more than teams who spend.

    Hey, I’ve got an idea – let’s hire Jonah Hill from Moneyball. That guy’s good. He can find us some hidden gems, right? ;)

    • Michael Geus says:

      You make valid points, it is not all about payroll. In fact all things being equal it’s hard to argue against solid player development. With those first few service-time years being so cheap it is the best path if it can be accomplished.

      But if you do not have a perfect storm of young talent hitting the major league level at the same time, what then? The Pirates needed 20 years to pull it off once. The Royals have not made the playoffs since 1987.

      On the other side, as you point out, teams like the Phillies and Giants have not succeeded this year. They have had great success overall with their strategy, including World Championships. I take that trade every time.

      I agree, consistent dumb spending is not going to work. For proof there is the Cubs, over and over, and over again.

      But the thing is, in the Mets case, how else do they now compete? We have holes at first, short, the outfield, the bullpen, and not much in our minor league system to address any of that. What we do have, like the Yankees and Dodgers, is a massive market at our disposal. I get why Pittsburgh operates like they are in Pittsburgh, it’s the only play.

      Not so the Mets.

      Otherwise it would appear we are going to write-off an entire decade hoping for a time when young talent will all jell. I don’t see nearly enough in the system to think otherwise. I can’t wait that long.

      Unlike Jimmy, I fear my own mortality.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      No one is questioning that you can do it without spending insane scratch, but if you’re player development process has led to zero position players of any use since 2004, you need to open the wallet.

      • Eric says:

        Vinnie- good points. Something to consider: there is NO example of a present year team or long range team that has success with just a “single wing” player acquisition approach. Whether it’s the Pirates and KC Royal or The Red Sox, every successful franchise utilize ALL options to fill out a Roster and Organization—Trade, Free Agency, Draft/Development. Those tactics are not competitive with one another….They are Complementary.

        • Patrick Boegel says:

          Yes, and that is a plan, drafting talented players, signing talented players, trading for talented players.

          Alderson crew has excelled in one aspect, trading talented players that they did not want to extend contracts to for younger promising talented prospects.

          Drafting by all accounts from anyone not employed or sponsored by SNY is that the Mets drafts have been sub par the last few years.

          Free agency, I give you Frank Franc, Tim Byrdak, DJ Carassco. I think those are the three individuals given more than a one year deal from Sandy Alderson. That is repulsive.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        your DOH!

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