Do Mets' problems start at the top?

September, 20, 2010
9/20/10
3:43
PM ET
Under the headline, "There is no fixing the Mets until the team is sold," Craig writes:

    That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from Joel Sherman's latest, in which he cast about big league front offices to get (anonymous) comment on the Mets' COO.

    The pithy summary: Wilpon is a "short-tempered, tone deaf credit seeker," he's an "accountability deflector," a "micro-manager" and a "second-guesser." Oh, and he's a bull-headed idiot too, if the phrases Sherman uses -- he's a "less-than-deep thinker," and is "bad at self-awareness" -- can be reasonably parsed.

    --snip--

    ... The only people who are going to want the Mets GM job are those people who have no better options and who will likely put up with anything Wilpon throws at them because they need the job badly.

    Which is exactly how Jeff Wilpon wants it, it would seem.


I won't tar Jeff Wilpon any further because I don't know the guy and Sherman and Calcaterra have already pretty much finished the job. I have written a few times over the years that I believe the old saying, "A fish stinks from the head," probably tells us something useful about baseball teams. It's always easy (and fun!) to blame the general manager, but when the general managers change but the owner doesn't and the franchise just keeps losing, who's responsible, really?

The general manager? Or the owner, for hiring the general manager and/or forcing the general manager to do foolish things?

The owner is ultimately responsible. But that does sort of beg the question. What I'd really like to know is whether big franchise turnarounds are typically due to changes in management, or changes in ownership. Which seems like an empirical question, at least to some degree. As far as I know, nobody's ever studied the impact of ownership on team performance.

In the mean time, I would agree that the Mets do have an ownership problem. I would not suggest that it doesn't matter who gets the GM job. Everything matters. But the Mets should be competitive almost every year. They should be today's Phillies, or yesterday's Braves. But instead they're the Mets, who have been to the playoffs exactly once since the Wilpons took complete control of the franchise eight years ago.

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