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Jeff Wilpon: 'I didn't come here to fire anybody'

5/17/2010

Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon met for 90 minutes on Monday afternoon at Turner Field with general manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel. Wilpon said he made the impromptu trip to talk baseball in person, not fire anyone.

Q: Why come to Atlanta?

JW: "If this was New York, guys, no one would know we had met. The fact is we're out of town. We played four poor games in Florida, and I felt like it was time to come down and meet with the staff -- Omar, (assistant GM) John Ricco and Jerry and get a state of where they think we're at and what can be done to get this team moving forward again. We played a good week and a half of baseball and now have not played well. It's time to start playing well again. I wanted to hear their thoughts on what we should be doing and where we should be going. A lot of decisions have to be made with what happened with Jon Niese, what's happened with Oliver (Perez) now. And it's much easier to do it in person than do it on the phone. It was easy enough for me to come down. People who had meetings with me tomorrow are upset, but other than that, it's fine."

Q: Satisified with what you heard?

JW: "Yeah. It's just the start. I think there's a lot more to go. We met for an hour and a half already. And we'll meet after the game, I'm sure, and then tomorrow. But it was good baseball dialogue."

Q: Are people's jobs more in jeopardy?

JW: "No. I didn't come here to fire anybody guys. I'm sorry. That's not what we're doing."

Q: Did you express confidence?

JW: "I came to talk baseball with them and hear what they want to do and how they want to get this moving in the right direction."

Q: Better appearance-wise to do this in a suite at the hotel rather than in the clubhouse with media around?

JW: "I don't think so. I mean, what am I going to -- hide? I mean, you guys are going to see me anyway. Somebody is going to tweet or blog that I was here. I wasn't going to come down just to have a meeting and then leave. I'd like to see the game anyway. And I'll be here tomorrow as well."

Q: What bothers you about what you've seen on the field?

JW: "I'm not going to get into that. That's for me to talk to them about and for them to tell you what they feel bad about on the field."

Q: Is Jerry Manuel under any kind of timetable to turn this around? Does it have to happen soon?

JW: "No. Jerry and Omar both know what's expected and they're both working at it. And we're 38 games into the season, right? If I was going to make a change this quick, I should have made it last year. And we didn't do that. We're working toward getting this thing right."

Q: How do you feel about the team now?

JW: "I think that's self-explanatory. I wouldn't be here if I felt good about everything going on."

Q: Oliver Perez situation troubling, that he didn't want to go to the minors?

JW: "Let Omar discuss that. He's had the direct conversation with Oliver. I'm just hearing third hand the conversation that are taking place."