A Lot Of Work To Clean Up The New York Mess

Goodbye Omar Minaya. You should have been out of here a long time ago for making the New York Mets the “Mess” they are, now something that a new general manager will inherit. As for Jerry Manuel, nice guy who was never the right fit for this team calling decisions in the dugout.

What took Fred and Jeff Wilpon so long to pull the plug and finally make their move to fix this “Mess” in Flushing at Citi Field? They made a rare and must appearance together Monday at Citi Field. They addressed their public, the fans.

Jeff and Fred, father and son gave their assessment and had to give the answers. Because they saw the empty seats at their new and sparkling ballpark these past two Septembers. The fans truly had their voice heard by staying home and finding something better to do than watching losing baseball.

So, where do we go from here? Minaya collects another year of his million dollar salary and contemplates what to and surly knows the new GM will not require his services. Manuel goes home to Sacramento, picks up some rocks and reflects on what went wrong during his tenure in the dugout

And Mets fans wonder, will they see pennant winning baseball in the near future? As one Mets insider said to yours truly last week, “It will take another five years to clean what Omar put together.” Truly believe that it will be that long a duration if Fred and more so, Jeff, move visible, and the CEO, allows the new GM to have full autonomy on baseball decisions.

You see it never worked that way across the Robert F, Kennedy Bridge in the Bronx. Though Brian Cashman supposedly has most if not all the baseball decision making at Yankee Stadium, we all know the late George Steinbrenner made the final call about player acquisitions, scouting, development, and the overall baseball operation including the manager.

The new regime for the Yankees, the sons, Hal and Hank, Randy Levine and company will make it known that Cashman has that autonomy, But we all know the Steinbrenner billion dollar empire knows baseball. They make the final decisions as Cashman gives them their evaluation and opinion. As much as Fred and Jeff said that losing made them suffer, and as Fred said, “We don’t pick baseball players, we never had,” perhaps they should hand the team over to people or investors that know baseball.

They trusted their money with Minaya. The Mets this year, with the fifth highest payroll in baseball will carry about $130 million of that into next year, coming off another fourth place finish and second straight losing year at Citi Field.

Just a brief overview of the “Mess” Minaya hands over to the new regime, and it does not matter who the new head of command will be, Or who the new manager is. Whether it is Wally Backman or Bobby Valentine, or someone else, the new field general will have to suffer with more losing.

Because the youngsters that Manuel put on the field in August, and in September have a lot to prove. They could be parts of the rebuilding via a trade or two. Or continue to develop with the right manager and coaches in place.

What to do with the Minaya “Mess” that comprised these Mets the past few years?  You can’t love Omar “like a son” as Fred Wilpon said Monday because of this: It’s October and the Mets are once again in hibernation.

Because Oliver Perez is owed another $12 million of a $36 million dollar contract and in two of those years the Mets pitcher had a 6.81 ERA in 31 mound appearances, and did not make a start this season after May 14th.

Because Luis Castillo with his four- year $25 million contract extension hit .235 this year, had his share of injuries and most of the second half sat on the bench and second base went to youngsters Luis Hernandez and Ruben Tejada.

Because when a Mets top prospect Fernando Martinez was a hot item, and a coveted trade commodity, numerous opportunities to get value for Martinez were bypassed. Martinez became a true disappointment and now damaged goods with injury after injury.

Because the Mets never had a reliable closer on the mound, even with bad boy Francisco Rodriguez and it was Minaya who had no hope for Heath Bell who was traded to San Diego for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins. Where are Johnson and Adkins now? No longer with the organization and Bell was second in National League saves this season with the Padres who were in contention.

Because there were so many more bogus transactions done by Minaya that fail to address his sometime success with obtaining Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, plus giving Jose Reyes and David Wright extended contracts,

Said Jeff Wilpon “We have a lot of fans out there; we just have to bring them back. And from Fred “I love the New York Mets. I love this franchise.  We made investments that weren’t good investments. We take the responsibility, the buck stops here.”

And it certainly does stop here now. Hopefully, it will end, this “Mess” of the Mets that Minaya caused. Even with some success, one game away from a National League pennant and back to the World Series in 2006. Fred and Jeff now get another opportunity to get it right with a new regime.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Acquisitions, Brian Cashman, Dollar Salary, Dugout, Father And Son, Final Call, George Steinbrenner, Gm, Gm Autonomy, Kennedy Bridge, Levine And Company, Mets Fans, New York Mets, Nice Guy, Pennant, Rich Mancuso, Robert F Kennedy, Septembers, Staying Home, Tenure, Top Story, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on October 6, 2010

Mancuso: A Boss Like No Other

George Steinbrenner did it best when it came to manipulating the media, all for the benefit of his beloved New York Yankees. It sparked interest and most of all ticket sales. Steinbrenner, love him or hate him, it always came down to doing what was best for the Yankees. In the end it was best for baseball.

They will say that Steinbrenner, named the “boss” by the media and his piers had this passion for winning. But the way he came across at times made the “boss” appear to be what the rival Boston Red Sox would call, his “Evil Empire.” Steinbrenner took the initiative to spend money, all with one goal in mind, to bring the best to New York all for a championship. And for that he became evil.

To the New York Yankee baseball fan, Steinbrenner, on the contrary was not the evil man.  He spent and always got his man. It was Reggie Jackson in the 1970’s, Dave Winfield, Goose Gossage, Randy Johnson, Alex Rordriguez and so many more.

And his team delivered the championships he wanted, most of all wanting title after title for the city he loved, New York. Chaos and anarchy in between with fellow owners, managers, coaches and players, and two suspensions from the game would not stop Steinbrenner from becoming the most important and historical owner of  a professional sports franchise.

The tributes immediately came in when word reached from Tampa Florida early Tuesday about the passing of “the boss.”  It was a massive heart attack that ended a life of fulfillment. Because since January 3, 1973, until his last breath, all George Steinbrenner thought about was, his family and the New York Yankees.

He wasn’t seen the last few years around the Bronx. They would say “the boss” was feeling better but we all knew it was not the same Steinbrenner when he handed most of the responsibilities to his sons Hal and Hank.  And statements about a Yankee icon passing on, or about the state of his team would come from his friends at Rubenstein Associates.

We tried to get a glimpse of him when he came to the Bronx for what would be his last time, in October to take in Game 3 of the World Series. Secluded from all with the exception of the captain Derek Jeter, he anointed, and the manager Joe Girardi who was his second choice over Yankee favorite Don Mattingly.  They came to see him in his suite at the new billion dollar Yankee Stadium that is known as the “House That George Built.”

Jeter always referred to his boss as, “Mr. Steinbrenner.” We never knew why, but it had to do with respect, because Jeter considers himself, never wearing any other uniform but Yankee pinstripes and owes that all to Steinbrenner.

The new stadium was always a priority, because Steinbrenner felt his fans deserved a stadium that had all the amenities of all those other new ballparks that were built The Bronx at one time was his enemy, There were harsh words and threats to move his team across the river to the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Cooler heads prevailed and Steinbrenner got his commitment for a new stadium. Those around him say, George would rant and rave, threaten those near him about losing their job, and some would, but he would always make peace and have that compassion to bring them back to the Bronx.

He cared about people, some who he would adopt into the Yankee family. Bill Stimers is a main stay in the Yankees press box. They met in front of the old stadium by the press gate. Stimers, a former employee of Entermann’s Bakery would give Steinbrenner a box of cookies. George would become his friend and assist him with paying off his home in Brentwood New York,

There were numerous and continued contributions to charitable organizations, sitting on boards of foundations, and always a Steinbrenner assist leaving tickets for kids in the Bronx who wanted to go to their first New York Yankee ballgame and could not afford to do so.

Ask Yankees legend Yogi Berra, and just about every player that passed through the Yankee clubhouse.  George would have his say, the football mentality in him from his assistant football coaching days at Northwestern and Purdue. But as they all say, “We kissed and made up.”

After all he was “the boss” that delivered and got the right players in place over the years, good enough for seven world championships. He wanted to win, had the desire and will, and he got it. More so his love-hate relationship with the manager Billy Martin that constantly got headlines.

Who would ever know, that this shipping baron from Cleveland Ohio with no ties to New York would eventually become the most influential and recognized owner of a professional sports franchise.

As for the media we all had some stories. There was a time Steinbrenner could be seen often at the old stadium walking from his private box through the auxiliary press box where we sat.  Jason Giambi, his $19 million a year ballplayer would ground out into a game ending double-play with the bases loaded, and the Yankees would lose a tough one.

Steinbrenner, standing above this writer would put his hands up in dismay and say, “Geez, I pay this guy 19 million for that,” And he would rant and rave later saying, “and don’t you write that or I will remember you,”

It was written, he remembered, and later requested only a select few to sit in that auxiliary box area. It got yours truly to finally have a brief face-to-face with the person they called “The boss.”

‘You were only doing your job,” he would say.”  Yeah, it was his box, his stadium and had the authority to say what he wanted. But bygones were bygones, and Steinbrenner always remembered the face.

They were his Yankees also, for New York City and the Bronx. Yankee fan or not you had to admire that personality and style.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Baseball Fan, Boston Red Sox, Dave Winfield, Early Tuesday, Evil Empire, Evil Man, Fellow Owners, George Steinbrenner, Goal In Mind, Goose Gossage, Last Breath, Mancuso, Massive Heart Attack, New York Mets, New York Yankee, New York Yankee Baseball, New York Yankees, Professional Sports Franchise, Randy Johnson, Reggie Jackson, Rich Mancuso, Rubenstein Associates, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 13, 2010