Category: Fred Wilpon

Love ’em Or Hate ’em They’re Still Baseball’s MVP


Love ’em Or Hate ’em They’re Still Baseball’s MVP

They’re the team that everyone either loves or hates as there’s no in between when it comes to the New York Yankees . Having won an unprecedented 27 World Series titles this is an organization that simply doesn’t rest on its laurel as it strives for excellence , the way that a new born baby thirsts for knowledge having taken its very first steps. Well for the Yankees this season may well be one where they’ll have to take baby steps as they try and figure a way out to be battle their way through the AL East and the rest of the AL as a whole . Never mind the fact that in the postseason that AL pennant isn’t a sure thing as some would like to believe.

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Slide show for your perusal .

So much is expected of the team by their erstwhile fans that any slight hiccup won’t be necessarily tolerated but then again when it comes to being a fan of this organization you’re either thought of as being obnoxious or simply devout in your belief that they are the best thing in the game bar none ! In the AL East boasting a 27-21 record they (lead) stand a mere 1/2 game ahead of their most hated rivals the Boston Red Sox with the Tampa Bay Rays 1 1/2 games behind in third place. And as we have come to expect this division as usual will become a highly contentious and competitive one throughout the course of the season . So much so that to my mind I do believe that the wildcard entrant for AL will most definitely come from within this division ! To some that might not be a foregone conclusion but it has become a rarity for the wildcard to come from outside the division. That being said anything is possible and the improbable has been known to happen within the game , so why not this season ?

Coming off a convincing 7-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium the team now has a three game series facing the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. That series promises to be a very interesting one with the Mariners looking for some objectivity to their season given the inconsistency of their play overall . It remains to be seen whether or not Eric Wedge and his coaching staff can turn things around with this team and make the competitive within the AL West . Parent company Nintendo through its US subsidiary Nintendo USA have made a mockery as owners of this ball-club . Ambition and the will to win it would appear are the furthest thing from their mind. And it’s a pity to see the talents of Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez being wasted by an organization that simply is bereft of creativity and intelligence within their front office . It may well be that I’m proven wrong but I sincerely doubt it at this juncture !

In the Yankees 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays , pitcher , Mariano Rivera made his 1,000th pitching appearance for the New York Yankees a team record for the most appearances by a pitcher in team history and with it came his 572nd save for the team , the most ever by a pitcher and the most ever for a single team. Add in the fact his teammate Derek Jeter also looks to add to his own valid legacy within the organization as he approaches the 3,000 hits plateau . He now stands at 2974 a club record . But that in of itself isn’t the primary reason that both of these dominant figures within the Yankees’ dynasty still play the game. This duo have epitomized what the game has been about in terms of integrity and the fact that they’re well respected by their peers as well as the vast majority of baseball fans across the game’s panacea. I doubt the same can be said of the most recent players to have donned the Yankees’ pinstripes over the last decade and a half !

As the season unfolds and with it approaching the month </a? of June it will be very interesting to see how the team handles itself and whether or their pitching which I believe to be their Achilles’ heel can still be a threat . Beyond CC Sabathia and closer Mariano Rivera , there is nothing that would lead me to believe that this picthing rotation is a scare to anyone within the league ! Granted , there’s plenty of offense within this lineup with the likes of Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Alex Rodriguez , Nick Swisher , Robinson Cano and even that wily veteran Andruw Jones who seems to have found a new lease of life with New York Yankees. And that’s even with Jones platooning the DH position with Jorge Posada who seems to be undergoing struggles of his own , not just mentally but also physcially as well.

The one thing we can be sure of concerning the Yankees with the advent of both Hank and Hal Steinbrenner having taken over the reins from their late father George Steinbrenner III , no stone will be left unturned as this organization chases glory , no matter what the expense is said to be. GM Brian Cashman even though he’s said to have become somewhat frugal in terms of the team’s payroll we all know when push comes to shove he’s been given the go ahead this organization usually goes after a target and they usually end getting what they want even if it means having to overspend or delve into their top 10 prospects or for that matter within their minor league farm system in order to acquire a prospective free agent or to implement a trade. Money is of no object with a cash cow such as the YES Network there to provide the organization with a monetary treasure chest and the very fact that the team is still the biggest draw in the game by far let’s you know why it is that the organization remains the financial behemoth that it is . One of the most recognized and most valuable professional sport’s franchises in the world the organization hasn’t let the financial imbalance within the game impede its relentless steady march away from their MLB competitors. So much so, that I for one cannot see how the MLB league hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig can actually come to a decision , wherein they will ever try to mandate a hard salary cap within the game of baseball. And it certainly isn’t as if the team owners within the game possess the common sense to actually realize that it may well be needed if they are to stave off financial ruin for some teams .

While the Yankees are in the midst of their usual perfunctory season their crosstown neighbors , the New York Mets continue to do their best impression of the Titanic. What that organization and team brings to the game in terms of competency bears about as much comparison to the genuine belief that either the Democrats or Republicans in Congress actually has any idea as to what ails the country at present . It’s now being widely reported that hedge fund manager David Einhorn has bought a $200 million stake in the team . Given the Mets’ financial situation and the very fact that cash liquidity is needed with the organization and its two most prominent owners being defendants in a civil suit that involves team President Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon and their involvement in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme scandal . I’ve got to ask myself what assurances were given to Einhorn that his investment is indeed safe ? Two hundred million dollars is nothing to be sniffed at and with the plaintiffs in this case said to be seeking the return of somewhere between $700 million to $ 1 billion said to have been received by the duo through an associate company under their ownership and command __ Sterling Equities Inc . I can only believe that Katz and Wilpon have assured Einhorn that his investment will not be at risk. But herein lies the caveat as the mediation process unfolds Katz and Wilpon have been economical with the truth and they certainly haven’t been completely compliant with the requests of the plaintiffs’ attorney in this suit .

Irving Picard representing the plaintiffs has stood steadfast in suggesting in that the defendants ( Katz, Wilpon , Sterling Equities et New York Mets) were aware the profits received were part of Madoff’s scheme that has defrauded some 7,000 plus investors of some $59 billion . Do you get the feeling that this story and the case still has a long way to go before it all comes to a satisfactory conclusion ? It’s not as if anyone is actually concerned with the achievements of the Mets on the field of play at present . With Wilpon in his recent interview granted to Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker Magazine gives you every reason to believe that the beleaguered owner must be at his wit’s end if he is now criticizing several players on the team . But then you simply cannot buy the sort of stupidity shown by Wilpon and then GM Omar Minaya as well as former manager Jerry Manuel ! The actions of that trio during the team’s slide into mediocrity might well give hope to the likes of the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners . But would that be asking too much also of the teams mentioned ? I will let you be the judge of that !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece how do you see the New York Yankees’ season going and are you of the belief that they can make a serious challenge and quite possibly win the World Series ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the investment made by David Einhorn in the New York Mets ? Has he been duped into a false sense of security or will his investment in the team be a worthwhile one ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera delivers against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning of a baseball game in New York, Sunday, May 1, 2011. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(2) New York Yankees’ Andruw Jones hits a two run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ………..

(3) New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada hits a double in the ninth inning off of Toronto Blue Jays closing pitcher Frank Francisco in the ninth inning of a baseball game that started a rally of runs to defeat Toronto 5-4 on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(4) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees celebrates with his team after hitting a game winning RBI in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ……

(5) Alex Rodriguez(13) of the New York Yankees looks after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ……

(6) Derek Jeter (2) 2 of the New York Yankees hits a two run single in the seventh inning to tie the game a three against the New York Mets on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(7) David Einhorn President, Greenlight Capital : The 39-year-old fund manager for the hedge fund Greenlight Capital has brought short selling into Wall Street’s lap with his public criticism of Lehman Brothers (LEH), the embattled Wall Street bank that has seen two top executives resign and its shares plunge roughly 50% since Einhorn made public his short position in April. His $6 billion fund has also waged a long-standing open battle against Washington-based small-business lender Allied Capital (ALD) since 2002; Allied’s share price has fallen by half since 2007. Getty Images / Paul Sprouse ……

(8) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon , chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Andrew Burton / Getty Images North America …….

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No Stone Will Be Left Unturned , No Idea Will Go Unheard , No Thought Process No Matter How Stupid It Appears To Be Will Be Listened To…………..Blah , Blah , Blah This Is Change That We Can Believe In


Well the winter season MLB meetings are over , baseball is doing its level best to remain in the mainstream. The ‘NFL is still King , baby’ and don’t you forget it ! And at this point of the season it is essentially all that they (MLB) can do. MLB itself , becomes about as interesting at this time of the year as a speech being given by a member of Congress on the country’s trade deficit. We all know its there and it hasn’t really improved at all on a month, to month basis. What little improvement that comes about incrementally, economists are gleaning over like ‘Cheshire cats’, trying to tell us that the economy is changing course and we’re gradually moving out of a recession. Any statistic can be read differently , to garner whatever information what you want put forth. Much like the asinine statements you tend to hear coming from Bud Selig on the financial health and state of the game.

Trades asides and the signing of free agents , all the fans can do at this stage, is to speculate what those maneuvers will mean for their teams.

Omar Minaya speaks here about the ‘Tony Bernazard firing’ and the fallout from it all. Clearly a person who when he’s stressed, doesn’t like the spotlight of the media upon him .

And speaking of health , how is that the New York Mets GM , Omar Minaya still remains in a position of power after all that he’s done to all but ruin the organization? Essentially as the General Manager and de-facto ear of the owner , he’s entrusted in making sure that the best talent available is placed on the field, at the behest of the manager, Jerry Manuel and the manager’s coaching staff. Never mind the fact that Fred Wilpon, the team’s owner , might not live to the current team win another World Series at this stage of life. The septuagenarian has seen a great deal over the course of famed career as a businessman and entrepreneur. But for the lone World Series’ triumph in 1986 over the Boston Red Sox, with that improbable ending. Fred Wilpon still yearns for another championship for his organization.

Mets' GM  Omar  Minaya (left) seen  here alongside  team  President  Jeff  Wilpon , son of team  owner  ,  Fred  Wilpon.    Minaya   recently acquired  free agent  slugger  Jason  Bay  , formerly  of   the  Boston  Red  Sox.  The  player   was signed  to  a   four  year   $65 million  contract.     There  are  those  who  are  questioning  the  deal   as the  rotation of  the  Mets'  pitching  is   deeply  lacking  a  reliable  starter  besides  Johan  Santana.  picture appears  courtesy  of nydn/   David  Pokress (freelance)  ......................
Mets' GM Omar Minaya (left) seen here alongside team President Jeff Wilpon , son of team owner , Fred Wilpon. Minaya recently acquired free agent slugger Jason Bay , formerly of the Boston Red Sox. The player was signed to a four year $65 million contract. There are those who are questioning the deal as the rotation of the Mets' pitching is deeply lacking a reliable starter besides Johan Santana. picture appears courtesy of nydn/ David Pokress (freelance) ......................

The Mets have been an abysmal organization over the past five years and much like a race horse with a great deal of speed and not much stamina, or shall we call it saying power ? Each year over the past five seasons they’ve fallen out of contention in the NL East divisional race. Much of the time through their own sheer ineptitude. Many also place this upon the injuries suffered by star players at inappropriate times during the regular season. But I consider this as a poor excuse for an organization with its vast financial resources and its so called ‘stocked farm system’. Obviously the so called farm system isn’t as burgeoned with talent as first thought.

Courtesy of New York Daily News

Omar Minaya, New York Mets get Jason Bay for four years, but strike out on pitchers

By John Harper , New York Daily News

The way the winter was going, it seemed inevitable that some other team would jump in and steal Jason Bay at the last minute. Only it didn’t happen, and so while Bay is hardly a cure-all for the Mets, landing him is at least reason for them to believe that the curse of 2009 won’t carry over into 2010.

GM Omar Minaya and Mets ownership still have plenty of work to do, but you have to give them credit for playing the Bay negotiations exactly right, as it turned out.

Considering the mounting pressure on them to make a big splash, the Mets had to seriously weigh the PR value of offering the fifth year that Bay’s agent was demanding, just to get the deal done. Still they were determined not to get suckered, not to bid against themselves when they were convinced no other team was seriously pursuing Bay.

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 Los Angeles Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar throws to the plate during the first inning of baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Anaheim, Calif. The New York Mets have signed Escobar to a one-year contract. The team announced the deal on Monday, Dec. 28. He was expected to get $1.25 million.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar throws to the plate during the first inning of baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Anaheim, Calif. The New York Mets have signed Escobar to a one-year contract. The team announced the deal on Monday, Dec. 28. He was expected to get $1.25 million. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark J. Terrill .................

The unfortunate thing for the New York Mets in all of this , is that their crosstown neighbor and rival, the New York Yankees are now once again back atop of the ‘baseball world pecking order’, as World Series champions. And they too, like the Yankees have essentially spent their way to their present situations. In the case of the Yankees however, they’ve been able get the right stars at the premium prices and simply plug them into an organization that has been built for continued success over the years. Whereas, the Mets just continue to plug away with assorted pieces , that in some respects are like that of a jig saw puzzle . But what Minaya and the team’s manager Jerry Manuel and Manuel’s predecessor, Willie Randolph, had failed to realize, is that when the pieces are ill suited for the puzzle, there’s no way in hell that you can attain success. But yet they continue to repeat the process over and over again.

Stars have come and gone within the Mets’ organization and some have remained. And it has been the same also in terms of the managers of the organization. On average they’ve lasted no more than three years over the last three decades. The longest tenured manager over that period was and still is ,Davey Johnson (1984-90). Whose six year tenure with the team brought them their only World Series win.

 Yakult Swallows' Ryota Igarashi pitches against Orix BlueWave in Osaka, western Japan.  Hoping they've found their setup man on the other side of the globe, the New York Mets agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009.
Yakult Swallows' Ryota Igarashi pitches against Orix BlueWave in Osaka, western Japan. Hoping they've found their setup man on the other side of the globe, the New York Mets agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Kyoto News Agency ...........

Fans of the Mets have seemingly remained patient and loyal, though some have also been very vocal in what they see as the lax attitude taken by the organization in showing a real determination to become competitive. They’ve gone out and spent money either on aging veterans who’ve passed their prime or in some cases on players who’ve struck lightning in a bottle in terms of their form over a short period of time and then hit ‘pay dirt’ when pursued and then signed to a monumentally exorbitant contract. See Carlos Beltran ! Prodigious and prolific for the Houston Astros , not so for the Mets and on it goes . And much of that is down to Minaya and his haste to always try and outdo the Yankees. It’s like giving the keys to a drunk driver and then asking him if he’s able to drive you home . You know no good is going to come of it and it is the same with the personnel moves of Omar Minaya.

Another situation that the fans will also find exacerbating about this Mets’ team , is that it doesn’t posses anyone who’s prepared to be a team leader on or off the field. It certainly hasn’t come from Carlos Delgado, for all of his heroics. And it most certainly hasn’t come from David Wright their so called ‘glamor boy’ and best player. And when they did rise to the occasion with the determination shown by their ace pitcher, Johan Santana, his teammates reciprocated by either performing poor defensively , or gave him no run support whatsoever. Minaya’s insight into sound judgement when it comes to personnel decisions for the Mets border on being asinine and is akin to the sort of ineptitude that was shown in later stages of George W Bush’s second term in office by his administration. The danger signs were there but there was never any sound decisions being made. Something of which, it appears his successor , President, Barack Obama seems to want to painstakingly follow on with, in some of his decision making. You can have, print or borrow all of the money in the world. But you’d better know how the hell to spend it judiciously and you’d better be able to explain yourself succinctly when you screw things up. And it appears to be something in common that this triumvirate has . As to either of them offering up a comprehensive and succinct answer. I’ll leave that up to you , to decide ! Make of it what you will.

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If the New York Met are to compete for the NL East division as well as the NL Pennant, then they’d better be ready to deal with the ever present Philadelphia Phillies, present division champion and NL Pennant holder. Also too, there are the Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins and the lackluster Washington Nationals bringing up the rear. The bone of contention will be which teams amongst the triumvirate of the Braves , Marlins and Mets will step up to challenge the supremacy of the Phillies within the division ? This question and whole lot more will need to be answered most certainly by the Mets and the the duo of the Braves and Marlins.

And in what will be Braves’ manager , Bobby Cox’s final season. This Atlanta Braves’ team will be looking to send him off with one last big stab at winning a divisional title and perhaps another World Series. And as remote as those chances might appear to be. Look for the Braves to pursue this with a great deal of gusto. And as to the chances of the Florida Marlins ? Well that will be down to the progress that has been made by this young team under the direction of their manager, Fredi Gonzalez. And if they’re to fulfill the promise shown last year , then the likes of Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin and their All Star short-stop, Hanley Ramirez , will have to be extremely productive – the same can be said of their pitching.

The Phillies for their part coming off last season’s loss in the World Series to the Yankees will look to regroup and replenish their roster. And that’s something which they appear to have done with such urgency, that the swiftness in its execution was staggering. They traded Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners and in his place they acquired former Blue Jays’ ace, Roy Halladay. Talk about addition by subtraction ? Wow, this is just stupendous. They are the ‘clear favorites’ in the entire National League (NL) to make a third consecutive trip to the World Series. Perhaps the only thing that could deter them from that might just be ‘divine intervention’ from up above ? And if the baseball gods are listening and they love the New York Mets , then perhaps they could provide some assistance ? I’m no Mets’ fan but Omar Minaya certainly hasn’t been helping the organization’s cause with many of his personnel moves in recent years. Can I get an amen here ? Amen, amen , hallelujah !

With the Mets acquiring Jason Bay as a free agent and then signing him to a four year $65 million contract , this may or may not be the last singular personnel move made by Minaya. God knows the moves that he’s made haven’t exactly panned out. They’d be deemed a disaster in certain cases and in others, well the jury is still out. And as I much as I like to see teams strive in their drive for excellence. I can’t but now wonder how much more the Wilpon family can withstand in the depletion of their overall wealth. Especially as it has been rumored that the family may well have lost in excess of $ 500 million in the Bernie Madoff ‘Ponzi Scheme’.
Not the sort of money that any affluent billionaire can afford to lose in these uncertain economic times. A million here or a million here. But a half a billion dollars ? Holy shit ! I’m surprised that no one has put ‘a hit’ out on Madoff , as of yet ! But I’ve no doubt that he’s been well taken care of in the Federal Prison system. Well at least I’d like to think so , but in a certain type of way. Can I suggest that he’ll become a ‘pillow biter’ while a prison inmate has his way with Madoff in certain way,sexually ? Here’s hoping anyway !

Well alas, this piece must end though not on a somber note. The travails of the New York Mets have been well documented in recent years and I expect that to be continued for the foreseeable future. I mean, life in general when it comes to sports in the ‘Big Apple’ is tied primarily to the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Islanders, Rangers and the Buffalo Bills. And each of them in their own way will run the wrath and adulation in the print media as the case maybe. And things being what they are, it appears the Mets and Knicks are on the receiving end of it all in terms of their wrath at the moment. No need for me then to pile on them anymore . I think that the New York print media, sports talk show hosts and tv broadcasters are just doing fine all by themselves with regard to this matter.