Joke Or Not, If Alderson’s Unhappy, He Should Leave

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To the best of my knowledge the Mets aren’t paying Sandy Alderson with IOUs from one ply peeled from two-ply pieces of toilet paper.

Nor are the checks written in the penmanship of someone right-handed trying to write left-handed and signed, “Jeff’s Dad” as if Jeff Wilpon were trying to pay Alderson with whatever’s left of his dad’s teetering financial empire.

Alderson’s being paid in real money and he’s being paid a lot of it.

Alderson has decided, as he’s making his way to spring training, to start a Twitter account. The first tweet was either a badly worded or misunderstood joke or a shot at the Mets’ paucity of funds.

Under the handle MetsGM, Alderson said:

Getting ready for Spring Training-Driving to FL but haven’t left yet. Big fundraiser tonight for gas money. Also exploring PAC contribution.

Whether it was an attempt at comedy or a legitimate kick at the fact that he doesn’t have any money to spend, he’s oblivious if he didn’t realize that saying that would be construed as a negative toward his employer.

Can you imagine one of George Steinbrenner’s GMs saying something like this and still being the GM the following day?

Or Vince Lombardi so openly disparaging a team that he tried to craft into the epitome of professionalism and year-round proper representation of the Green Bay Packers?

It wouldn’t happen because there was a baseline, known code of conduct of what would and wouldn’t be acceptable from any and all employees of their teams.

Alderson was a Marine and should understand that even if the Secretary of the Navy is from a different party as the President or disagrees with policy, he’s not going to publicly say something so negative—even in a joking context—about his bosses or his branch.

Alderson was a lawyer and a respected GM for the first decade of his career with the Athletics. Then, when he moved to the forefront, his own personality came to light.

Along with the resume of being Vietnam veteran and well-spoken military man and adaptive, intuitive corporate lawyer, there’s another side to Alderson—a snarky, credit-seeking and obnoxious side that has reared its head repeatedly.

As GM of the Athletics, Alderson’s success was tied to two things: money and Tony LaRussa. When the A’s spent money under Alderson and were managed by the Hall of Famer LaRussa, they won. When the money dried up, they slowly declined; then LaRussa left and the team came apart.

Alderson went to the Padres, behaved like a capricious tyrant and created factions that were beholden to him to craft an aura of dysfunction where everyone was looking over their shoulders for someone holding a knife.

It’s been this way in every job he’s undertaken since and is now happening again with the Mets.

Whether he wanted the Mets job (and it certainly appeared he did when he was interviewing for it) or took it as a favor to Bud Selig is irrelevant. He took the job and is being compensated heavily for it. He’s gotten everything he wanted including the high-priced hirings of his lieutenants Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi. He hired the manager he wanted in Terry Collins. If he had a load of money at his disposal, there’s no guarantee he would’ve wanted to spend it on Jose Reyes because it’s never been his modus operandi to invest so much money in a player who relies on speed and doesn’t get on base.

But that’s neither here nor there.

The circumstances with the team are what they are, financially and practically.

Financially, ownership is under siege from a lawsuit that they claim is doling out blame and holding them accountable for transgressions that they are not guilty of committing.

That will be settled in time and the Wilpons will either find a way to maintain control of the team or sell it.

Alderson may or may not be the GM of the new owner; he may or may not remain as the GM if the Wilpons retain control.

Practically, even if there was a ton of money available, the free agent market was such that the Mets were unlikely to dive deeply into it to bring in enough talent to compete in a loaded division. The farm system needed to be rebuilt and the big league club overhauled. In actuality, the Madoff trial is giving them the built-in excuse to refurbish the club correctly—something I would think Alderson would embrace to put a club together devoid of the $200 million superstar since those contracts almost inevitably become onerous by year four or five.

That too is secondary to the perception of the team.

On the one hand, okay, it’s a joke; on the other, he’s the GM and shouldn’t be openly attacking his club even in jest. If you’re the GM of the team and there’s even a split-second hesitation as to how a joke is going to be interpreted, then it shouldn’t be said. Once it has to be explained, it was a bad joke.

If it was a subtle attempt to say publicly what he says in starker terms privately; if Alderson is unhappy with the money at his disposal; if he doesn’t like working for the Wilpons; if he took the Mets job only as a favor to Selig; if he wants out and is being passive aggressive to get that information into the public sphere, then he should resign and stop taking the Wilpons’ money to be the GM of the club.

This type of stuff is why they’re the “Mets”. I don’t mean the Mets organization. I mean an adjective for a punchline of whatever can go wrong, will go wrong and that the employees—even in the upper reaches of the hierarchy—are willing to make negative and embarrassing comments to highlight that fact.

Done with appropriately hideous timing befitting the “Mets”, while the team across town is enduring their own humiliating scandals involving their GM Brian Cashman and his bevy of girlfriends and divorce, one of whom was apparently stalking him, Alderson decided—as seems to be the Mets wont—to make the Mets the butt of evening gossip and laughter. For the titular head of the baseball operations, someone whose conduct and skills in dealing with the media and manipulating the language to prevent such a thing from happening, it was a stupid and inappropriate comment to make. Former GM Omar Minaya’s biggest fault was crisis control and a lack of skill with the language, but I have no recollection of him saying something like this about his employers.

The Mets are not going to stop being a joke until they cease treating themselves as a joke. It comes from a clear set of rules that are adhered to from the simplicity of wearing a coat and tie when traveling on the road to not criticizing the organization.

From the time of Alderson’s hiring, I said that the Mets have to cease the practice of acting as if any star player who joins the organization is doing them a favor; that any and every player they currently have is here out of desperate necessity rather than out of a business agreement between parties. Until the Mets make the conscious decision to stop laughing at themselves, why should anyone else hesitate to laugh at them?

If there are people within the current organizational structure who don’t want to be part of the Mets, then they should leave. When I said it 15 months ago, I was referring to the players. But it also applies to the GM.

If Sandy Alderson doesn’t want to be part of the Mets, then he should go. They’ll get someone else.

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The YES Network and Its Reporting Sham

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The failure of the YES Network to acknowledge the Brian Cashman-stalker story as anything of note should prove with finality that they’re the propaganda arm of the Yankees’ apparatus and should be treated as such.

No longer can anyone confuse YES with a venue for legitimate analysis and sports news, if they ever could to begin with.

Because Michael Kay has yet to discuss this issue isn’t indicative of a conspiracy on the part of the employees of YES and Yankees’ apologists to ignore it and hope it goes away. If you’re listening to Kay in the interest of a genuine dissemination of objective information, you need to check your premises before moving forward to anything in the real world. Paraphrasing Kay, the self-absolving line regarding Cashman’s scandal, “it’s personal” or something to that effect, is typical of one whose interests coincide with the organization and not to his listeners.

The concept that Cashman and his stalker and apparent former lover Louise Meanwell/Neathway is out of bounds for the sports world had weight before the police got involved and she was arrested; before the revelation that Cashman had given her $6000 in an effort to quiet her; before it became known that the GM of the Yankees had written a letter of recommendation for a clearly disturbed person with the Yankees letterhead across the top of the page.

How is this not relevant enough to mention in passing? How has it not been part of the discussion of Cashman doing his job properly and if his involvement with this woman and his wife filing for divorce will affect his ability to do it?

The out-front representative of the entire organization was writing recommendation letters under the implied auspices of the Yankees. As that representative of the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees, Cashman was essentially saying that this woman—who was either having sex with him or blackmailing him—was, in the view of Cashman, a qualified and stable person.

Is that not a story rife questions that a high school reporter would know needed to be asked?

There has never been an honest and aboveboard reporting wing on YES. Even when Kim Jones was asking difficult questions to Joe Torre, they weren’t asked in the pursuit of answers for the audience; it later was revealed that the questions were traps set by George Steinbrenner and Randy Levine due to their ongoing feud with the then-Yankees manager and Torre knew it.

Kay, as is his wont, made sure to kick Torre after the manager was out the door with the statement that he “protected” Torre.

Is that his job?

Or was he following the mandated plot to keep his bosses happy?

And if that was the case, how dare he claim to be providing evenhanded, “expert” baseball analysis on his radio show while simultaneously functioning with a clear and transparent agenda.

Kay’s lack of journalistic integrity and skill are self-evident, but what about everyone else on the network?

Last season, when Joe Girardi had an on-field confrontation with pitcher A.J. Burnett, YES reporter Jack Curry almost apologetically broached the subject so as not to offend the manager and upset the hierarchy of what was and wasn’t okay to say on the Yankees’ signature network.

During the Penn State scandal, we saw what a dogged and legitimate journalist Jones was with her on-site reporting and analysis from the point-of-view of a Penn State alumnus.

It’s a shame we never got to see that while she was the sideline reporter and post-game clubhouse voice of the YES Network. But she had her marching orders and she followed them. I can’t blame her for that.

Under no circumstances am I suggesting the Cashman should be fired nor that this is anything other than what he says it was and what’s been reported so far. He got involved with an attractive woman who appears to have a long history of stalking, obsessive and harassing behaviors. It’s embarrassing, but nothing that he can’t overcome and continue to do a job he’s done competently for almost a decade-and-a-half.

But it is a story even for the network whose identification is side-by-side and in lockstep with the Yankees baseball and business wing. The problem is when side-by-side becomes indistinguishable with intertwined and that’s what the relationship has become.

When you can’t tell the difference is the time that you can’t believe anything they say because what they say won’t be truth-centric; it will be based on organizational needs.

That’s not reporting.

It’s a sham.

And a blatant one at that.

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Cashman’s Personal Life Is Not Our Business

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Has Brian Cashman ever sat in an interview and uttered such advertising-centric inanities as “my family is my rock” or other some such nonsense that Tiger Woods used to say about his wife and children while he was conducting multiple affairs on the side?

Does Cashman claim to be living under the vows of Catholicism or whatever religion he happens to be adherent to and extol his virtuous behaviors with sex only used within the bounds of Holy matrimony and, even then, for procreation and nothing else?

Is he, in part seeking public validation of being a “good” person, by saying he was a virgin as Barry Sanders did years ago and failed at it as he had a child out of wedlock; as Tim Tebow is doing now and, as far as we know, sticking to it?

Are Cashman and his girlfriend on the cover of US Magazine like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie talking about whatever Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie talk about on the cover of US Magazine?

What’s that you say?

You don’t care about Brian Cashman’s personal life because he’s neither a star athlete nor a Hollywood luminary?

That’s exactly the point.

Who cares about Cashman’s affairs?

Believe me when I tell you that one of the last things I want to be thinking about is Brian Cashman doing whatever it is he does when he’s not general managing the Yankees.

Apparently Deadspin does think and care about these things—link—as they’ve gone to the level of visiting his former mistress, examined a pair of pajama pants as if they’re on a level with Monica Lewinsky’s stained dress…

***I’ll pause while you go get yourself a cold drink and try to keep from throwing up.***

…and played a phone call from Cashman to the woman in question (“Lou”) in which his tone is eerily similar to what I imagine he sounds like when he’s calling a rival GM and attempting to trade for Sergio Mitre.

This is a man who basically grew up under the influence of, functioned and survived in the amoral and haphazardly run dictatorship known as the George Steinbrenner Yankees.

The most impressive thing Cashman has done in his 26 years with the organization was to keep his job.

It’s not as if his image is being sullied or he’s being cut down and exposed as a hypocrite—he never espoused to any “I’m better than you because of <X>” rhetoric. He’s not particularly likable; doesn’t have much of a personality; and, if anything, this humanizes him and makes him look more like a normal person than some dead-eyed corporate menace who, if he weren’t in baseball, would be a middle-to-upper-middle managing lawyer or accountant who you wouldn’t notice until you came face-to-face with him while riding a packed subway at rush hour.

The only things people are interested in with Cashman are the types of moves he makes on the field with the Yankees.

Was he carrying on these affairs while wooing CC Sabathia to re-sign with the Yankees without venturing into free agency after his opt-out? Did his girlfriend(s) accompany him as he went to talk to the representatives for Hiroki Kuroda? Was he in one of their apartments while negotiating with the Mariners for Michael Pineda?

If yes, so what?

This doesn’t affect his work as the peccadillos of Steve Phillips did while he was the Mets GM because the Mets—due to Phillips’s inability to control himself (it was a recurring life-trend)—were under threat of a lawsuit for sexual harassment. That was the business of the media because it was part of the way the Mets were being run.

But this?

Deadspin is trying to become the TMZ/National Enquirer of the sports world. While the audio tape, pictures and story will yield a few extra webhits (probably a lot of extra webhits), it’s like rubbernecking during a fender bender. It’s a minor distraction that’s not influencing nor hurting anyone.

So who really cares?

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