New York Mets owner Jeff Wilpon talks about the team’s past, present and future while the team gathers for spring.
The two discussed the Bernie Madoff debacle, which Wilpon said was devastating to the community. He said philanthropic organizations were destroyed by him and that would lead to people who needed help not being able to receive it.
When asked about the most recent failed sale to Steve Cohen, Wilpon said he and the organization would like to explain to the fanbase what happened, but cannot because of the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that were signed, which is something we have heard from the organization since the sale fell through.
It’s a frustrating situation for all involved. Mets fans were giddy to hear about Cohen’s involvement when news broke. To have it ripped from their hearts has been tough. To see the younger Wilpon not explain what happened, may be tougher.
Speaking of finances, Wilpon was, of course, asked about the all-too-famous Bobby Bonilla contract and how he feels that Bonilla is being paid by the organization until 2035. It seems as though he did not want to talk much about that one; all he said was that deferred-compensation arrangements like Bonilla’s are common. That definitely is not a response that Mets fans wanted to read.
When asked about the Pedro Martinez signing in 2004, and why it was important, Wilpon said they knew he was a future Hall of Famer and he was the first big-name to sign with the team: “… a catalyst to a turnaround.”
Wilpon was asked about the Steinbrenners and the rivalry the two New York teams have and had more to say about 9/11 than almost anything. When asked about Mike Piazza’s home run: “Emotional. Surreal. Hard to put into words how much that meant, still to this day. After the anthem, both teams shook hands, which never happens. It gave me chills that this was a sign of America standing together and was more than just a game.”
Wilpon also unveiled which World Series loss hurt him the most. He calls out 2015 because it was the more recent one. Wilpon said his best three moments as an owner of the Mets are the 1986 World Series, Game 6 in Houston [a 16-inning win to clinch the 1986 NLCS], winning 2015 pennant in Chicago.”
His worst three moments are “Failing to reach playoffs in 2007 and 2008, and when family members such as Rusty Staub and Al Jackson are lost.” When asked about his favorite locker room moments he replied, “Watching Fred accept the 1986 world championship trophy. Seeing the camaraderie of the 2015 team and celebrate with them in Chicago after clinching the pennant.” He said Tom Seaver and Johnny Bench were his favorite players growing up.
Lastly, when asked if the Mets can contend in 2020, Wilpon said, “We’re very optimistic with Brodie and his staff and how we finished the second half of last season with one of the best records in the league. Having addressed many needs, such as starting-pitching additions and bullpen depth, as well as returning mainstays such as [Jacob] deGrom coming off of back-to-back Cy Youngs and Pete [Alonso] building on his record-setting rookie season, the organization and our fans have reason for high hopes in 2020.”
This interview provides fans with nostalgia, frustration and hope for the future as they look to their team to turn the page and get back to winning.