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The Wilpons Should Take A Page From Mara’s Book . . .

with one comment

It was a cold and blustery November afternoon, when Giants’ fans voiced their displeasure over their team’s humiliating loss to the Buffalo Bills, 24 to 7. By the third quarter most of the fans started silently filing to the exits. The remaining few thousand fans that stayed and braved the bitter cold didn’t have enough energy to even boo.

“I’m very dissatisfied,” Mara told the Associated Press at the end of the game. “The message comes through loud and clear. All it tells me is that we need to improve the product. And how we go about that is something we will discuss.”

What Wellington Mara understood that November afternoon in 2003, as he apologized to Giants’ fans . . .  sports is a form of entertainment. And when your audience is dissatisfied with the performance and exits without even voicing their displeasure, then the product on the field must be improved.

It’s a pity that the Wilpons’ can’t or won’t take a page from Mara’s book.

The New York Mets’ fans have been voicing their displeasure, but the Wilpons refuse to admit what is obvious to everyone else. The product that Omar Minaya has put on the field is simply no good.

Since the firing of Willie Randolph, who Fred Wilpon claims was doing a good job, the Mets have a record of 3-4. They have become a more animated group under Jerry Manuel, but their ineptitude on the field continues.

How else can a team that was assembled to win the World Series receive such a drubbing last night (11-0) at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, which owns the worst record in baseball?

At the point of sounding redundant . . . the product on the field is not good enough.

Perhaps being swept by the Padres a couple of weeks ago wasn’t compelling enough of an argument, to make the case that for $138 Million dollars, the Wilpons have been sold damage goods.

Hopefully, they can avoid being swept by Seattle tonight.

Why won’t the Wilpons listen to the fans?

Why should they, when the fans show that they care by booing the team?

The only time fans really capture the attention of the owners is when the stadium is filled with empty seats.

While Citi Field is being built:

The fans can send a message to the Wilpons by boycotting games now.

If the product on the field does not provide the level of entertainment that they’re accustomed to, and the owners refuse to do anything about it, why should fans continue to patronize the ballpark?

Hopefully, fans won’t have to go to that extreme. Well, that’s assuming that the average diehard fan still has a voice where the Wilpons are concerned.

In an otherwise perfect world:

The Wilpons would notice the silence and decide to open Mara’s book. They would apologize to the fans for the inferior product that takes the field and do something to improve it.

Fred and Jeff . . . pick up Mara’s book . . . it makes for interesting reading.

If it doesn’t teach you how to run an organization, from top to bottom, that exudes the highest standards of professionalism and class . . . at least you can learn how to ensure that the seats in Citi Field are filled by giving the fans what they’ve paid for:

A team that is built around youthful players, peppered with a few cagey veterans and most important . . . that enthusiastically gives an all out effort every time they take the field.

In other words . . . a competitive team.

If the fans are what the Mets organization truly care about . . . is that too much to ask?

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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One Response

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  1. As a life long Mets fan who has watched long stretches of Mets ineptitude, I think your comments are dead on. If you support mediority, it ensures you’ll get more of it. The Knicks, Rangers, Yankees and Mets are falling into the same failed pattern of overspending for stars that are past their prime and trading away young talent for veterans. All of these teams would produce the same below average performance with payrolls that are half of what they are today. Spending the most simply doesn’t yield better quality. Better scouting and talent assessment does, regardless of payroll size. Marlins (2 WS wins in 10 years) have proven that. The harsh truth is that none of these teams has a GM and staff that’s particularly skilled at talent acquisition and player development. Despite the fact that it’s the most important job in sports, very few teams in any league employ people who are skilled at this, that’s why most teams falter and must rebuild again and again. The few teams that win consistently have quality player development. This short list includes Braves, Cardinals, Marlins, Twins, Red Sox, NE Patriots, Indy Colts, SA Spurs, etc. These teams don’t always make the finals but they put a very competitive winning team on the field almost every year. Until the Mets decide to hire people with real skill in talent acquisition and player development, they will remain a mediocre middle of the pack team. The only thing that will hasten this change is to STOP buying tickets to Mets games. Minaya is inept but he spent millions on “stars” and this strategy did sell tickets. A record number this year which will break last years record ticket sales. Wilpons realize by now that Minaya doesn’t know what he’s doing in the talent area but he’s brilliant at sales so he”ll stay. Until sales falter, upper management has no real incentive to fix the problem. With Citi Field opening next year, they will probably sell out every game in the first year, even if the team stinks. Until the novelty of seeing Citi Field fades and attendance drops off, Mets will continue to manage it this way. Back in the early 80’s, the team stunk and only after attendance dropped dramatically did the owners get serious by hiring Frank Cashen as GM. He had an eye for talent. Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Daryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Dykstra, Darling, Ojeda are proof of that. The 86 team had at least 10 players who were above average or better at their position. The 2008 Mets have barely 5 that are above average or better. Santana, Wright, Beltran, Reyes and perhaps Church. Everyone else is average, washed up or a journeyman player. It’s at best a .500 team. You are your record. Anything else is a rationalization. Minaya is mediocre and he built a mediocre team. 2006 was an anomaly. The National League stunk that year. The Cardinals were the second best team in the league and they finished a few games over .500. That year, Mets were a pretty good baseball team in a below average league but they were inferior to the top 3 or 4 teams in the American league that year. Just to keep some perspective, 2006 Mets won 97 games against weak competition. 1986 Mets won 108 games, were clearly the best team in baseball and still they barely won the World Series.

    Want to fix the Mets? Don’t buy tickets and don’t watch them on TV. I guarantee that Wilpon will get the message and so will CitiCorp.

    David L

    June 25, 2008 at 9:21 pm


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