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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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One More Press Conference

In a few weeks, David Stearns, Billy Eppler and perhaps Steve Cohen will gather in the Shannon Forde Press Conference Room at Citi Field to introduce the 25th manager in the history of the New York Mets, a day to which I look forward, ’cause ya gotta have a manager. We had a manager until Sunday — a four-time Manager of the Year whose most recent year wasn’t gonna win any awards — but a VACANCY sign blinks in that office at present. It’s a big enough deal when you bring in a manager or a general manager or a president of baseball operations that you turn on the lights in Shannon’s room or, if necessary, ask the credentialed media to log in over Zoom, and meet the new essential person tasked with helping make the Mets a winner.

The Mets should be as forthcoming and transparent as possible with the press. They should place their leadership front and center to share their philosophies and respond with clarity to all reasonable inquiries. But, in terms of making the kind of introduction they made on Monday or the one they will make pretty soon, they really have to stop.

You got your president of baseball operations.
You’ll have your manager.
You’re apparently satisfied with your general manager.
The owner of the team seems to be enjoying his long-term investment and doesn’t figure to be going anywhere.

Great! To everybody in those roles, please be really good at what you do and make the Mets as great as they can be and don’t make us wish any of you away. If you are that good at your assignments, don’t decide to move on for a while. Don’t necessitate more introductory press conferences.

We’ve seen enough of them.

It was right around six years ago we met a new manager, five years ago we met a new general manager. Four years ago we met another new manager…and one right after him, before a single game had been managed. Three years ago we met the new owner (who we greeted as a liberator). The new owner reintroduced us to the previous general manager who’d be serving for a spell in some loftier capacity (I always enjoyed seeing him, though I was surprised he was suddenly back on our scene). The old/new executive introduced us to a new general manager…which led to an interim general manager pretty quickly once the new general manager did what again? Something like what one of the recent previous managers did, but we didn’t find out about that manager doing what he did until he was gone from here. Anyway, the interim general manager proved very interim, and a new full-time general manager was introduced, then another manager, one with lots of experience and lots of gravitas, embodying lots of reason to think we wouldn’t be needing a new manager for years to come.

Two, exactly.

So we’ll get the new manager to replace Buck Showalter, who replaced Luis Rojas, who replaced Carlos Beltran (technically), who replaced Mickey Callaway, who replaced Terry Collins (whose seven years in the dugout made him a veritable Met FDR longevitywise) when the Metless postseason is over. He’ll put on a cap, maybe a jersey or perhaps a windbreaker and be ready to take charge as all the others were. The new manager will report to Billy Eppler, who replaced Zack Scott, who replaced Jared Porter, who replaced Brodie Van Wagenen, who replaced an ad hoc GM group that took over for Sandy Alderson when Sandy Alderson’s health wasn’t its best, though we were happy to learn Sandy was doing well enough a couple of years later when Steve Cohen replaced the Wilpons altogether and Alderson came in to temporarily more or less run the show as president of the Mets, which isn’t the same as president of baseball operations, which is what Milwaukee wunderkind David Stearns is here to be, the first ever, we’ve been told, to fill that particular position atop the Mets hierarchy or decision tree or whatever term of art is in vogue these days.

It’s hard not to sound cynical, a symptom of suffering from OIPCO Syndrome (that’s Offseason Introductory Press Conference Overload — ask your physician if PresOp is right for you). Perhaps if we weren’t on our umpteenth new era since the 2017 season ended, I’d be a little more relentlessly upbeat about the arrival of Stearns in Flushing, a presidential homecoming if ever there was one. I’m pretty upbeat as is. You don’t think I lapped up every answer Stearns gave about growing up a Mets fan? He had me at reminiscing how he loved listening to Gary Cohen, Bob Murphy and Ed Coleman, in that order.

Listing Gary Cohen first was shocking to anybody who always, always, always puts Murph first, but by the portion of the 1990s that young David had locked in on being a Mets fan, it was Gary who was on the radio every game, with Bob pulling back a little more every year. And Ed Coleman? Who thinks to remember that Ed Coleman did semi-regular play-by-play over WFAN? That’s bona fide fandom talking.

Which was great. The references to sneaking into Shea and interning for the Cyclones were great. The excitement about getting to raise his kids as Mets fans after their allegiance was held hostage in Wisconsin was great. The ease in the press conference spotlight was great, as if being in Queens is second-nature to him, not just another chance to trot out familiar execuspeak about building an organization that will make us all proud or whatever else he said, because, honestly, after so many of these types of press conferences, I’ve already forgotten the nonanecdotal stuff, because just go ahead and do it, David. Build this organization. Collaborate collegially with resources. Whatever. When you have a spare minute, tell Steve Gelbs how you really felt the day you learned Todd Zeile would be replacing John Olerud, and all of us (Zeile included) will nod and chuckle.

But seriously. Just be great at this. Get a great manager who will manage great for more than one year, or at all for more than two years. The owner can erect his casino, and the GM can work the phones, and the Manager to be Named Soon can communicate/motivate/make correct calls to the bullpen, and you can be the person who brought your childhood team to new and steady heights, a president whose transformative tenure can outlast that of even Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s.

Mostly, I’m sick of offseason introductory press conferences, save for the one officially announcing Shohei Ohtani’s record-breaking pact or any applicable get-together of that nature. Otherwise, enough meet and greet, enough dog and pony. Go, David. Sneak us into the promised land.

15 comments to One More Press Conference

  • Henry J Lenz

    Ahh…who’s on first? Not thrilled that the new POBO sent the old GM to swing the axe. Buck was owed a face to face at least. Machiavelli would’ve approved. The season was toast the moment Edwin put down his trumpet.

  • Tom

    Monday had that vague MATEOTSWAAPWWINY-syndrome feeling to the press conference.
    (MATEOTSWAAPWWINY = Monday After The End Of The Season Wilpon Apologizes And Promises We Will Improve Next Year)

    Here’s to better days!

  • Seth

    How can “president of baseball operations” be such an important job if we never had one before? Do we just invent new positions as we need them?

  • Harvey

    I know most Met fans don’t like to hear about the Evil Empire in the Bronx but it is worth mentioning that they have had 31 straight years of winning records, 24 playoff appearances in those years and been to the World series 7 times, winning 5. We, on the other hand, had winning records 1n 12 of those years, been to the playoffs 6 times and lost both Series appearances. Maybe there is something to be said for relative front office and managerial stability.

    • Eric

      Yep. Even in the worst Yankees season in recent memory, they were as bad as the Mets this year, the Yankees still managed to finish above .500 at 82-80.

  • Seth

    I am not a doctor, but I would not automatically assume that Edwin Diaz will ever be the same. That is one of the freakiest injuries I’ve ever seen and it still hasn’t been fully explained how it happened. I’m erring on the side of pessimism for now. Even so, the bullpen needs more work than just returning Diaz.

  • Eric

    Did Stearns say John Olerud was his favorite Met? If he did, that’s something we have in common.

    The Mets’ turnover reminds me of the Monday night Giants-Seahawks game and the New York football Giants’ turnover in recent years. Promising one year, cratering the next, coach replaced, like the 2022-2023 Mets.

  • eric1973

    Who knows if even a healthy Diaz would have been good. These guys are good one year, and lousy the next, for no reason at all.

  • eric1973

    I think I need to root against Counsell this year, so he’s hungry when he comes to manage us.

    After all, who are we trying to kid here?

    And what’s with that Cohen Combover? No wonder he wears that Met cap all the time.

  • Rumble

    “The owner of the team seems to be enjoying his long-term investment. . .” Spot on Greg. Unlike only making money when the price goes up when you’re going long a stock, a mlb owner doesn’t have to win for their investment to rise in value, especially a team in NYC. So for SC, in many ways, he has already won, even if the Mets haven’t.

    For this six-decade-suffering fan, and I imagine others, I wish I saw more passion and urgency to win (not desperation or over paying for many free agents) from this triumvirate. I hope Stearns is the savior SC (and many) seem to think he is. I agree with his decision to let Buck go. BS obviously lost the team, and for many other reasons, including the most important: there’s nothing in BS’s record to suggest he can or will win a WS. Keeping Eppler, a career loser as a GM, with barely a pulse or ability for honest self reflection, when, like Buck, there’s nothing to suggest in his record he can or will win a WS, is not a move that inspires confidence. Nevertheless, let’s see what else Stearns does over the term of his five year contract, not just over his first weekend.

    • Eric

      Good point. If Showalter’s firing and the timing of it were for the sake of a clean slate before Stearns assumed his presidency, then why was Eppler kept on and not fired for the same clean slate? I’m curious to find out the change in job that warrants Eppler staying despite his responsibility for the team’s failure.

  • Eric

    According to the MLB and ESPN websites, Game 159 is finally in the books as an 8-inning, 1-0 Mets win, 75-87. I wonder why the delayed resolution?

  • eric1973

    That one’s for you, Buck.
    What better way to get his ‘final’ victory than by some arcane rule that many of us thought had been eliminated.

    P.S. – These 6 WC’s dilute the regular season as well as the postseason.
    A snoozefest (so far).