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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Thirty Years With the Wilpons

In the three decades since Fred Wilpon entered our consciousness, oftentimes the best thing about the ownership group he’s played a major part in running was who he was and who they weren’t.

First, it was outstanding that Doubleday & Company, Inc. — 95% majority owners of the New York Mets as of January 24, 1980 — wasn’t a remnant of the original Payson operation. Joan Payson may remain a beloved figure in team history, but the mess she left behind after she died in 1975 behind decayed quickly. Her chairman, M. Donald Grant, ran the organization into the ground before running himself out of town. Her daughter, Lorinda de Roulet, took over and all but threw a shroud over the ground into which the Mets had been run. Charles Shipman Payson, Joan’s Red Sox fan husband, showed no interested in upkeep and parted with not a dime in that direction.

By appearing competent and willing to invest, the Doubleday group, which included 5% stakeholder Wilpon, couldn’t help but win goodwill if not a whole lot of ballgames at first. Nelson Doubleday was installed as chairman, Wilpon became president and they left the prospective empire-building to Frank Cashen. They bought a ballclub, but they also bought time.

In doing so, Doubleday and Wilpon were not George Steinbrenner. That was also outstanding to consider in the early and middle 1980s. Back then, being a Steinbrenner had almost no redeeming features. The principal owner of the New York Yankees spent and blustered and fired but he hadn’t won anything for a while. He kept blustering nonetheless, and while it was entertaining, it didn’t win him or his club kudos or titles. The Mets way, the Doubleday/Wilpon way, was the way to go. You saw them hold a press conference when they bought the club and, after that, you basically never heard from them again. Nobody minded. It seemed classy and professional and appropriate in contrast to the hyper hands-on Steinbrenner, whose approval ratings had been heading steadily downhill since the day he took out a newspaper ad apologizing to New Yorkers for not winning the 1981 World Series.

Doubleday didn’t seek publicity — he was not to be found in either the clubhouse celebration that followed the 1986 championship or the parade up Lower Broadway the next day. Wilpon’s profile wasn’t all that high either. He may have accepted the Commissioner’s Trophy from Peter Ueberroth on October 27, but he wasn’t writing any columns in the New York Post that month. George Steinbrenner, however, was. (What the hell, he had nothing else to do.)

Less than three weeks after the Mets defeated the Red Sox, the composition of ownership changed. Corporate machinations dictated Doubleday & Co.’s publishing interests be sold to a German concern. They weren’t buying the Mets. Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon, who were not associated in any meaningful way until 1980 (Wilpon wanted to purchase the Mets but couldn’t meet Charles Payson’s price without Doubleday coming aboard), became 50-50 partners. The transition appeared seamless to the outside world. Doubleday and Wilpon were the names with which Mets fans were familiar, so when Sterling Doubleday Enterprises was formed on November 14, 1986 in an $80 million deal, it didn’t seem to represent a sea change à la the sale of January 24, 1980.

“Fred and I have had a good partnership for seven years,” Doubleday said in the Mets’ 1987 media guide, “and I know we will continue to have a good partnership. “There will be no revolutionary changes in the control of the Mets,” Wilpon agreed in the same introductory article. “Operations will continue just as they have since 1980.”

It didn’t play out that way. We still didn’t see or hear much of Doubleday and Wilpon for the next few years, but behind the scenes, as documented in Andrew Rice’s thorough 2000 New York Observer examination of their relationship, things were changing. By then it was common knowledge that Wilpon and Doubleday were partners in name but not in spirit. When they showed up in the clubhouse to jointly receive the Warren C. Giles National League Championship trophy, it was the first time in a while they had been seen together in public.

As Rice explained a decade ago, Doubleday wasn’t happy that Wilpon became his equal partner in the first place. Wilpon, according to Murray Chass, writing in the Times in 2001, took advantage of a first-refusal clause in 1986, one that “Doubleday apparently had been unaware of”. More friction developed with the more authority Wilpon gained/usurped. A turning point in the relationship, wrote Rice, came as the wreckage of 1993 piled up in Flushing. Cashen was gone, the Mets were in disarray and Wilpon stepped up to publicly accept responsibility for a team that was dismal on the field and hopeless off it. That summer — Bobby Bonilla threatening Bob Klapisch; Vince Coleman tossing lit firecrackers at children; Bret Saberhagen spraying bleach on beat reporters — was the Met equivalent of August 1974 in the Nixon White House. There existed a perception no one was in charge of the asylum. Fred Wilpon said, in essence, “I am.”

Whether it was a role he took on with reluctance or relish (and he’s been described as possessing an inner Steinbrenner), Wilpon emerged bit by bit as the man in charge. There was no unquestioned baseball authority figure on the premises — Joe McIlvaine had succeeded Al Harazin who had succeeded Frank Cashen, but neither Harazin nor Joe Mac was vested with the degree of autonomy Cashen held. And Doubleday? The mid-’90s not a great period for him, as Rice recounted in 2000.

[I]n the spring of 1994, a book about the ouster of baseball commissioner Fay Vincent by a group of owners led by Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf quoted Mr. Doubleday, a Vincent ally, telling league presidents Bobby Brown and Bill White: “It looks like the Jewboys finally got you.” A former employee told Newsday that Mr. Doubleday had said similar things in his presence, but only “when he was drinking.” Mr. Wilpon, who is Jewish, stood up for Mr. Doubleday, saying: “It’s not like Nelson to talk that way.”

After that, one person familiar with the team said, Mr. Doubleday disappeared from the scene and Mr. Wilpon took charge, with a more hands-on approach. He has installed loyal subordinates who have frequently come into conflict with executives loyal to Mr. Doubleday.

It was Fred Wilpon, not Wilpon and Doubleday, who held the notorious 1997 press conference in which McIlvaine was dismissed (while the Mets were enjoying their first winning season in seven years) and assistant GM Steve Phillips was elevated. It was, however, Nelson Doubleday who was seen as coming out of hibernation to push Phillips toward trading for Mike Piazza in 1998. Doubleday promised he’d involve himself more in Met matters from there, but was generally unseen around Shea after Piazza was re-signed that October. Wilpon, meanwhile, had begun planning for a replacement to Shea Stadium, a goal not shared by Doubleday. On the road to the 2000 World Series, while real estate wizard Wilpon was working on making what would become Citi Field a reality, Doubleday came out in favor of renovating Shea.

Not communicating and not agreeing on fundamental matters like “where are we gonna play?” was no way to run a ballclub. Despite the Mets winning a pennant in this apparently dysfunctional atmosphere, something had to give. After a rumored sale to Cablevision fell through, it was Doubleday who gave in, selling his half of the Mets to Wilpon for approximately $135 million on August 23, 2002.

Was the best part of Wilpon owning the majority of the Mets that he wasn’t Doubleday? Or did concentrating all power in one man and, eventually, his son, send the Mets once more on the road to what feels like ruin?

It can’t help but be a hypothetical question. There’s no definitively answering whether we as Mets fans would have been better off with a continuation of the evolving Wilpon-Doubleday synergy, no matter how weird it must have been to work around. There’s no telling whether we would have been better off if it was Doubleday who bought out Wilpon, even if Piazza is often credited to his side of the ledger. Nelson did not present the steadiest persona in his later years as co-owner. Based on its record with the Knicks and Rangers, I think we’re all glad Cablevision never bought Doubleday’s piece of the Mets; if he’d have sold to Charles Dolan, how can we imagine the best out of anything else Nelson Doubleday might have done to/for the Mets? But what if somebody or some other entity had bought the team?

If any of these alternate realities had come to pass, and the Mets weren’t primarily the Wilpons’, would the Mets be in better shape at this moment?

The truth is the Mets were in yet another of their periodic humiliating death spirals when Wilpon bought out Doubleday. A month hadn’t gone by when the underachieving 2002 Mets went from bad to stupid amidst allegations of marijuana use and Bobby Valentine’s weird reaction to them — affecting a stoner pose during a press conference addressing the pot revelations. The stupidity only deepened when Fred Wilpon, with nobody holding him back, fired Valentine as manager and hired Art Howe, alleging Art Howe “lights up a room”. Valentine may have pretended to light up a joint, but the other guy lit up absolutely nothing. Outside of Howe’s immediate family, nobody ever saw in Howe what Wilpon somehow detected.

The Art Howe decision, the lowballing of the very available Vladimir Guerrero, the infamous “meaningful games in September” soundbite and the trade of Scott Kazmir (whoever’s call that was) all fed the perception that the Mets were, by 2004, back where they were when Fred Wilpon injected himself into public view in 1993. They were a mess.

Then they weren’t. Omar Minaya became the general manager, was given “authority and autonomy” and the Mets improved. Fred was the owner, but Omar served as the man in charge, at least until last summer when Minaya, in the middle of a desultory campaign, put his foot in his mouth when turning the Tony Bernazard story into the Adam Rubin story. Omar stopped appearing regularly in front of cameras and microphones. The owner was taking a more active role, but by now it was Jeff Wilpon, Fred’s son, acting in that capacity. Fred’s dream was opening the Ebbets Field lookalike in what had been Shea’s parking lot. It got done. Once the Mets were playing inside it, it would be Jeff who would absorb the criticism when the organization would inevitably do strange things like call out Carlos Beltran for getting his knee fixed. Now it’s Jeff who’s more than ever the man in charge. Fred didn’t want the franchise being sold to Cablevision or anybody because he wanted that. He wanted the Mets to stay in his family.

It has. Fred is still chairman, but it is increasingly Jeff’s show. We’ve lived and rooted under Wilponian influence for thirty years and, unless there’s a momentous change of heart or turn in financial fortunes, we’ll have countless more years of it. Jeff Wilpon is the chief operating officer of the New York Mets. He’s not going anywhere.

Which means what for us, exactly? In recent months, and for much of the last year, really, I don’t think a day has gone by when I haven’t read or heard somewhere the suggestion or demand by a Mets fan that the Wilpons sell the team. The catalogue of grievances is varied as it is long. The bottom line seems to be that the Wilpons, personified mostly by Jeff these days, are a long-term impediment to our happiness. They are not enabling our enjoyment of our favorite team; they are, instead, exacerbating our aggravation from it by their accumulated actions and nonactions.

I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that assessment, but I have to ask, in all sincerity, what do you want from the owners of your ballclub? I mean that literally: what do you want from them?

When things are going well, we don’t toast the merits of our club owners. We just accept that things are finally going the way we want and, perhaps, we hope nobody screws things up down the line. Three years ago, even with the 2002-2004 track record a matter of public record, the Wilpons were not a continual object of our collective scorn. I doubt any of us gave them much thought at all, save for special occasions. The man they put in charge had transformed a fourth-place finisher into a division winner and projected perennial contender in just two years. They gave Omar Minaya the resources and Minaya produced instant results.

The other night, SNY reran the 2006 division clincher. I watched the ninth inning and clubhouse celebration yet again. It was the last massive joygasm Shea Stadium ever experienced. We won something big, something we hadn’t won since 1988. Nobody who wore a Mets uniform or made a Mets decision was considered suspect then. Everybody was part of the team that night. If Minaya was awesome, so, by implication, were the guys who employed him.

(Eerie shot by SNY’s cameras while the Mets indulged in their group hug: the despondent opposing manager soaking in the celebratory scene, wondering when he’d get a chance to lead his clearly irrelevant team to this kind of revelry. The manager was Joe Girardi. And, come to think of it, the clinched-against club was the Marlins.)

That September 18, 2006 was, to date, the high point of the Minaya Mets underscores that things haven’t gone to plan since. We won the NLDS, lost the NLCS painfully and then failed to return to postseason play. Three years ago today you could not have convinced most Mets fans — and certainly not me — that this would be our three-year fate. If you had solicited opinions on Fred Wilpon or Jeff Wilpon in the winter of 2007, you might not have won an unqualified endorsement of their savvy, but you likely would have given them a benign or at least begrudging tip of the cap for getting us as far as we had come.

Ain’t nobody doing that now.

Is everything since the promise of 2006 evaporated the Wilpons’ fault? On one level, no more so than it was all their doing that the Mets gave us 97 wins, a division title and a playoff series triumph over the Dodgers. On another level, if we follow the Fred Wilpon 1993 model wherein he stepped up to take tacit responsibility for the behavior of his club and the image of his organization, then blame away. I don’t know if that’s fair, but the buck has to stop somewhere.

Which doesn’t tell us what it is we want from these Wilpons if a sale isn’t imminent or from their hypothetical buyers.

We want our team to win, naturally, but when they’re not doing that, we want to believe we’re not far from doing so.

We don’t want to be teased.

We don’t want to be let down.

We don’t want to be condescended to, I think.

We want to be listened to.

We want to be heard.

We want honesty.

We want hope until we can have results — but surely we want results.

We want value.

We want smarts.

We want good players.

We want likable players.

We want fun.

We want our collective interests taken to heart.

We want a lot.

We want what we want. We’re fans. We have an endless agenda when we’re not getting enough (or much) of what we want. We have no way of obtaining it for ourselves. That’s ultimately up to ownership. Ownership puts the baseball people in place. Ownership frames the business operations. Ownership is where the buck stops. We occasionally take out our firing frustrations on managers, general managers and club executives, but it is our owners who we expect to make things right as soon as possible and keep them right for as long as possible…with as few interruptions in service as possible.

That’s what we ask of the Wilpons as they begin their fourth decade running the Mets. Can we ever expect it?

31 comments to Thirty Years With the Wilpons

  • Keep the wallet open, which they’ve done. And install smart leaders and don’t undermine them. (which is questionable)

    Those are for sure #1 and #2. Everything afterwards is gravy. It’s also no guarantee that anyone they would sell it to would come in an do a better job.

  • Excellent analysis Greg – thank you!

  • Frank Dowd

    I have only been reading your site for about a month. You guys are great writers. Enjoy the site and the incites.

  • king

    well said. i think what all the fans want is results. after that likability and acccountability for failure. not making moves and reactions for PR reason but for sound reasons. The owners have given us resaon to cheer in the past but they need to be the folks in the background. They own the franchise but they are not to baseball what the rooney or maras are to football, the wilpons are real estae people. they need to realize that Jeff does not have the baseball IQ he thinks he does They need to get this era’s version of Cashen and Davey Johnson working for the mets again

  • More 30th anni advice
    Only hold press conferences when someone is signed or someone has died.
    Show up on TV only when you win a championship.
    Don’t read the papers.
    And this is important: DO NOT LISTEN TO MIKE FRANCESSA.
    Buy tapes of old Jets games and show them on your network. I don’t even like the Jets but I’ve seen all 12 Mets games you show…20 times.
    Sell bratwurst at Citi Field. And hard ice cream. Maybe you have it and I missed it. Or the guy with the scoop got injured in May and was out for the season.

  • This is why I read this site on a daily basis. Just outstanding work.

    Obviously I want results but I would like to know in what direction the team is headed. If you hire a GM who says he wants to emphasize pitching, speed, and defense and then he signs Franco, Alou, and not to mention a brittle slap-happy 2B to a 4-year deal, it really does make me wonder what the hell is going on.

  • Very well written article. So what do we want in an owner, here are some thoughts:
    1. Act like you own a team in the biggest market in the U.S. in a sport with no salary cap. In other spend the money, and spend it on the BEST players. Time and time again, the Mets throw fairly large sums of money on mid-tier or over the hill players and promote them as stars (Kaz Matsui, Mo Vaughn, Jason Bay). When it comes to the real stars, like Texeira, A-Rod (I know, he’s annoying, but he can still play and he wanted to be a Met), they won’t do it, or only go for it when fans are ready to revolt, as in the Piazza and Santana situations. It’s unfathomable that in 30 years of ownership, the Wilpons have had exactly four true superstar players in their prime – Piazza, Strawberry, Gooden, Santana and zero MVPs. Wright is borderline, but not there.

    2. Again on the theme of investment, have a talent pipeline worthy of a team in the biggest market. The farm system has been virtually barren for 20 years and the Wilpons don’t invest in draft picks, taking slot players instead of the best available. The Red Sox get Jacoby Ellsbury, Papelbon, etc. The Marlins, Phillies, Dodgers and now even the Giants have been developing stars. What do we get? Squat.

    3. Hire the best people and develop an organizational personality and a real plan from top to bottom. The Angels have this, the Red Sox have this, the Phillies have this, and even the Marlins do in a way. Everything with the Mets is slapped together with no plan. There’s no emphasis on fundamentals and it has shown itself over and over again.

    4. Be a little daring. The Wilpons have a once in a lifetime shot at building a stadium, and instead of building something that reflects the Mets identity, they build an homage to a team that bolted over 50 years ago. The Mets were born in the space age, not the 19th century. Why not take on this spirit and build a truly unique stadium instead of another cookie-cutter Camden Yards replica that pays more attention to the Dodgers than the Dodgers themselves do.

    5. Treat fans like you actually appreciate their business, instead of the opposite. This seems to be the case with most of the New York teams, but there just seems to be an attitude with the Mets that we don’t need your business, and if you don’t like our practices, go screw yourself. The Yankees can get away with this because they win. The Mets, no way. If next season is the disaster it is shaping up to be, Citi Field will look like Shea circa 2003 in short order.

    I started going to Met games when I was five years old in the early 80s dark ages and have been a fan since then. However, at this point, it’s really hard for me to care about this team any more. Like the Dolans, the Wilpons just don’t seem to understand how to run a team and as such, there isn’t much hope that they will win consistently any time soon, even though baseball is structured for them to be winners. I’m losing the emotional connection, partly due to distance and age, but mainly due to inept ownership.

  • CharlieH

    All I want is to not be lied to. If I see something in front of me that’s clearly a duck, I don’t need an announcement and a large-scale press conference to convince me that what I REALLY see is a swan.

  • Joe D.

    Should the Wilpons get credit for improving the team in 2005 and coming close to a NL Championship 2006? In retrospect, yes – they gave Omar the money and authority. But we must also take into account that our success those two seasons was also due to a combination of talent, money and luck. We had two rising stars in Reyes and Wright but other than the young Beltran we obtained players that had only a season or two left of quality in them, got lucky with throw-ins Maine and Perez and took advantage of a Florida Marlin fire-sale. Most notable was that the talent in the National League was extremely bad. No other team won more than 88 games so despite losing a Pedro Martinez and Duaner Sanchez (which also meant giving up Xavier Nady and replacing him with an over-the hill Sean Green) we were still nine games better than any of the 15 other clubs.

    Everything fell into place that season (including unfortunately, that curve ball to Beltran). It was the reverse of Murphy’s Law.

    But it was not sustained, unlike he “swager” that continued to infuriate other clubs. Players became non-chalent, made mental mistakes, did not execute the fundamentals, admired fly balls in the batters box, etc. All this led to the late season collapses that followed.

    That is the fault of the players and manager.

    But there are things that are the fault of the ownership. Forget their decisions that ignored the fans – those don’t affect performance. But other decisions did. They short-circuited the club by creating a ballpark that negated it’s power and insisted on wierd angles and heights that caused gold glovers to field like me. Players who should have been placed immediately on the D.L. stayed on the active roster believing their performances would not be hampered by injuries and pain which eventually got worse and caused them to be out even longer.

    This shows that the Wilpons are obviously business people but not baseball-business people. Would we have been any worse off had the franchise been sold to Cablevision? I doubt it.

  • Dennis

    Off the subject, I just read that we are going to acquire Gary Matthews Jr. from the Angels. WTF?

    • Yeah, let’s see. If the Angels are indeed picking up a huge chunk of his salary and it’s a precursor to another deal, not so bad. If it’s a standalone, somewhere between pointless and depressing.

  • Rob D.

    I just read the same thing…opening the door to trade Beltran to the Yankees….ye gods. AND apparently the Angels didnt take Castillo…..

  • CharlieH

    Sarge, Jr. for Stokes, straight up, with ANA picking up most of Matthews’ salary.

    Shoot me now.

  • Joe D.

    S.I. reports the Angeles will eat most of his contract and that they they sent them Brian Stokes.

    What the Mets want with Gary Matthews, “Juicer” I don’t know. Was hoping it was a rumor but if it’s reported by Jon Hayman, it must be true.

    Omar, what’s the matter with you?

  • Rob D.

    Charlie: you KNOW that’s what’s going to happen. Beltran is going to walk anyway after 2011 and YOU KNOW he wants to go to the Skanks. What’s not to get?

    • CharlieH

      Except that GMJ is also gone after 2011 — if he’s not DFA’d by the new GM (hopefully either Kim Ng or Dan Evans) beforehand. So it don’t add up…

  • CT

    Great post. I think in 2006 the Mets surprised everyone. Omar’s method is severely limited, though. They were built to win that year and didn’t do it. Now, with one good, reliable starting pitcher, they are supposed to contend? It will never happen with this roster.

    This team has so many issues and holes it isn’t even funny. The bottom line is the Wilpons spend more than anyone in baseball except the Yankees and the team is a perennial punchline. With the philosophy they continue to use (signing aging, overrated veterans, poor player development and farm system, fighting with their best player very loudly and publicly) I cannot imagine that the situation will change anytime soon.

  • Dak442

    What do we want from the owners? A competitve team, obviously. Beyond that, an acknowledgement of our passion, of our need to feel a part of the team to which we devote so much time and disposable income. Don’t just view us as rubes out of whose pockets you Hoover as much cash as possible. We fans invest a lot of ourselves in following your ballclub; much more so than do your real estate customers when buying your other products. Stoke our passion, don’t make us feel stupid about it. Don’t grudgingly bring back old-timers – exult in our past. We love the Mets, not the 1950s Dodgers. Don’t bring in players we will hate. (Just as one example – how the fuck did Guillermo Mota ever end up in Queens?)
    We’re not idiots: offer us a fair deal on ticket packages and we’ll buy them. Don’t call it a weekend plan if half the games are on weeknights. Reward loyalty with discounts or special treatment or something. Surprise us in a good way once in a while.
    I don’t see how people fault the Wilpons for being “cheap”; they spend more than everyone in the NL. They just need to do a better job with it.

  • I’d like an owner who doesn’t go on record saying the 2000 World Series was “wonderful.” If you ever needed proof that Wilpon is completely disconnected from the fanbase, that’s it right there.

  • Dak442

    George Steinbrenner apologized to fans for losing a WS; Fred thought it was wonderful. ugh.

  • chris

    I want to know my favorite team(of all my favorite teams) is making sound moves. To know sometimes an older player is not a good fit and let the young guys play. It works sometimes and saves cash.

    I want optimism. It seems over the past 3 seasons a cloud hovers over the Metropolitans and the fans in every aspect. Sure some of it is deserved. But the situation around the team feels tense. We are the Mets, and its fans, we are the fun alternative to the Yankees stiff and robotic way. When did that go away?

    I want to believe again. Im only 27. The mets have had exactly 2 memorable shots at something in my life time. ’86 doesnt count i was 4. I want to believe this team is trying and will get there. But the bumbling moves, lackluster play, and lack of communication between team and management group makes it difficult. I guess this should have gone with my first “want”.

    I want 16,17,18,31,45(yeah franco’s changed number) retired. Want to reconnect with the fans? Add these hallowed numbers to our retired wall. What better way to feel good about the mets and their past and future then to do right to these guys who we still all love. The Dr.,The straw, Keith, Mike, and the local kid Johnny. A combined 1 world series but thousands of thankful fans for their hard play every day.

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  • [...] Price of Faith and Fear in Flushing looks back on 30 years with the Wilpons, as owners of the [...]

  • Jeff Schneider

    How bout adding we want an owner in touch with its fan base. Building a beautiful stadium in the image of Ebbetts Field with nothing commemorating the legacy of the Mets is proof the owners know nothing of whats important to the fans. To make those improvements in year two after a year of being embarrassed and scorned by its fan base is a major slight.

    We want an owner who does not hide from what appeared to be a major failing in the past, the handling of injuries by the medical staff. Maybe last year was one big coincidence but, to start 2010 with the mis-handling of the Carlos Beltran injury gives us no faith that this season will not be a repeat of the injury plagued 2009.

    And how bout an owner that creates an atmosphere that free agents want to come to. Clearly the comments by an acquisition like Chris Coste the day before he becomes a Met, Jason Bay as he prayed some other team would make him an offer and the snubbing of John Lackey and Bengie Molina proves that players don’t want to come to the Mets.

    How bout finding us an owner that can at least do some of the above. Jeff Wilpon is a destructive personality with a hand in every aspect of the team. He is single-handedly turning a successful and exciting franchise and turning it into the embarrassment of baseball

  • Greg, this is a great read and a great look back at Mets history. I didn’t realize the slight change in ownership that followed the 1986 season when Wilpon and Doubleday became 50/50 partners. It kind of helps to explain my theory of “a pattern of bad behavior” as something that belongs on Fred Wilpon’s shoulders.

    I see Fred Wilpon as someone who came in with an agenda (what eventually became Citi Field), and someone who hasn’t really cared about the product as long as he can make money. Then he could pass it all down to his idiot son. Look at how much bad has happened since the 50/50 partnership began, compared to 4 post-season appearances in 23 seasons.

    Nelson Doubleday was the right type of owner. He basically wasn’t heard from, we never asked to hear from him, nor did we need to. By the time the embarassment of 1993 came around, it wasn’t his team – it was Fred Wilpon’s. “Doubleday came out in favor of renovating Shea.” I knew I always liked Nelson Doubleday for a reason.

  • [...] Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing writes a great piece about the Mets ownership history and current situation with Jeff Wilpon at the [...]

  • [...] don’t really think about it one way or the other, do you? We haven’t stopped being Mets fans no matter how dunderheaded we believe our ownership group is on occasion, and I doubt I’d have stopped had the Dolans or Marge Schott or Charlie Finley or the ghost of [...]