Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Mets morning briefing 5.25.11
By Adam Rubin
Unless Fred Wilpon did give additional interviews that have yet to surface, it seems the Mets' less-than-effective PR campaign has ended and it's back to baseball. Of course, since climbing to .500 on Friday with a win in the Subway Series opener, the Mets have now lost three straight, including 11-1 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. It was the most lopsided loss to the Cubs since Tom Glavine and Art Howe's debuts with the organization at frigid Shea Stadium on March 31, 2003. That game was 15-2.
Wednesday's news reports:
• Wilpon apologized by speakerphone to Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes in the visiting manager's office at Wrigley Field. The owner decided coming to the Windy City would create too much of a circus (although having dinner with the team here on the off-day might have been a nice gesture -- or at least a gathering at the hotel, away from the media.) Read coverage of Tuesday's twists and turns in the saga in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Journal, Times and Newsday.
• Beltran told the Post's Mike Puma he was particularly disappointed by Wilpon's comments about David Wright. "To me, David is a superstar. I feel badly for him." Reyes, on the phone conversation with Wilpon, told Puma: "[Wilpon] asked us how we were feeling about the whole situation, if the comments were bothering us. We understand there is a lot of frustration in the organization. We just need to move on. He can say whatever he wants to -- he’s the boss and we are the employees here. All we can do is continue to play.”
• Steve Popper in the Record notes how much Beltran has been through with the Mets, from the public squabble over whether he had permission to have knee surgery in January 2009, to last year's outing as having not attended a voluntary team trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. (Beltran had said he was conducting business for the high school he was starting, but no explanation should have been necessary.) Writes Popper:
Asked if he felt appreciated for his efforts, [Beltran] said, “You know what? For my teammates, I have to say yes. For other people, I don’t know. But I care about what my teammates think about me.” A question was posed to Beltran: If he knew then what he knows now, would he have taken the seven-year, $119 million deal to come to New York? “I don’t have any regrets,” he said. “I feel like it’s been years through a lot of ups and downs. But at the same time, it has been years where we have done good, we have done bad, and all that can add is experience to my life.”
• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro wonders if Wilpon really is the good man he often is portrayed to be. Writes Vaccaro:
Anyone who ever read or saw “Bright Lights, Big City” knows the New Yorker’s fact-checkers are relentless and precise; before this piece went to press -- by which point his team had rebounded to respectability -- these quotes were read back to him. And Fred Wilpon, good man, channeled Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee: “Run that, baby.” Would a good man treat his own fans as human spittoons? That’s even more egregious in a lot of ways than knee-capping his millionaire employees, two of whom were classy yesterday in the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field, one of whom, Reyes, shrugged his shoulders, smiled, and said, “He’s the boss. He can say whatever he wants to say.” No. When Wilpon described the Mets as, um, “sh***y,” what he did was admit what we’ve long suspected: that he plays his own fans for suckers, chumps, rubes, that he believes they drive to work on the same turnip truck he so vehemently wants us to believe he rides in on.
• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff portrays Sandy Alderson's postgame comments as an island of competence in a tumultuous Mets world. Writes Davidoff:
Alderson was prepared to deal with Fred Wilpon's apology to Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran regarding Wilpon's comments to The New Yorker. He wasn't as prepared to deal with Wilpon's comments to Sports Illustrated, which regarded the Mets' bleak financial outlook. So you could see Alderson's polite exasperation -- not at the media's question, but rather at the entirety of the situation, IMO -- as he tried to put the matter to rest for the night. "Look, I haven't read Sports Illustrated, I haven't read Mechanics Illustrated (which doesn't exist), or Men's Health," Alderson said. "I don't know what stories are out there, so until I've read those stories, I can't comment." The subtext of Alderson's comments was clear, at least to me: "Can you believe how dumb these people are? I can't."
• Of course, the bigger news for the organization is Wilpon suggesting the payroll could dip under $100 million next year. Alderson said that would be news to him.
• Richard Sandomir of the Times reviews some of the financial numbers.
• Jason Bay was pulled from Tuesday's game in the seventh inning with a tight right calf, but minimized the issue. Bay said he alerted staff before the game of the issue, and was perfectly content playing with it. But when the game got lopsided, Terry Collins pulled him.
Also on the injury front: Alderson indicated nothing notable came from Wright's visit to a back specialist in Los Angeles other than to script a rehab plan. Angel Pagan should play on Thursday for Triple-A Buffalo, then be activated from the disabled list the following day. And Johan Santana threw 25 pitches off the top of a mound on Monday. Collins said Ike Davis (ankle) is doing baseball activities, but not cutting. Alderson said: "Ike felt good [Monday], not so good [Tuesday]." Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Times and Record.
• Read game stories from the 11-1 loss in Newsday, the Post, Daily News, Times and Record (via AP).
• Lenny Dykstra sneaked on the set of Celebrity Apprentice, worried Dr. Drew was hypnotizing Dwight Gooden, according to the Daily News.
• Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal looks at the lives of the yet-to-establish-themselves players on the major league roster who live in hotels rather than sign leases, such as Dillon Gee. Writes Costa:
Many of Gee's belongings, including his car, remain in Buffalo, home of the Mets' Triple-A team. The car he drives now belongs to pitcher D.J. Carrasco, who began the season in the majors but was demoted to Buffalo in April. The contrast between players like Gee and the Mets' marquee players is striking. During a road trip earlier this month, Carlos Beltran walked into the clubhouse carrying a shopping bag from Louis Vuitton. Gee went to a mall in Denver because he was out of clean underwear. "A lot of times during the season, you find yourself wearing the same thing," said reliever Pat Misch, who began the season in Buffalo.
BIRTHDAYS: Chris Young (32), who is now recovering from shoulder surgery, and Scott Hairston (31) each celebrate birthdays. ... '62 Met Jim Marshall was born in 1931. Marshall may have been too good for that 40-120 team. In 32 at-bats before being traded to the Pirates in May, he hit .344 with three homers. The Mets were 2-15 when he played, though. Marshall’s .344 batting average is third-highest in Mets history for anyone who had at least 30 at-bats with the team, behind Bob Johnson (.348, 1967) and Shawon Dunston (.344, 1999). -Mark Simon