Mets On, Off Field While Embracing Professionalism

Brad Penner – USA TODAY SPORTS

No matter what October, World Series or no World Series, deep postseason run or deep postseason run, it has been a transformative year for the New York Mets in more ways than one.

While the Mets are threatening to stumble to the finishing line in September with a 7-7 record against teams under .500, there is no doubt that 2022 has been a resounding success for a franchise on and off the diamonds. who couldn’t get out of his way for decades. While this team now looks like a legitimate World Series contender that could face a serious playoff challenge, the work it has done to repair a damaged organization’s reputation and stand within the baseball world is perhaps more important. Is.

Its detailed description is given in an in-depth story by Stephanie Epstein for Sports Illustrated as part of their Daily Cover feature, and it’s a deep dive that will also feature in the magazine’s October issue. In a sweeping story that picks up every single piece of flesh from the bone and uncovers every figurative dead body left by the Wilpons, Epstein paints a picture of a franchise that has created a buzz when it comes to his public perception. Revamped like a miracle. , Epstein also does an excellent job of explaining how the Cohens are portrayed with team president Sandy Alderson and manager Buck Showalterhas made Queens a place players want to be again.

It does all this while looking at the rubble left behind by the Wilpan family. As Epstein goes on in his story, Jeff Wilpon needed little excuse to cut the cost of anything, and the Mets quickly became known as lowball experts in Major League Baseball. After seeing the damage caused by the reduction in pay across the board, Alderson spoke to owner Steve Cohen, and before long, the “overwhelming majority” of employees had received a significant bump in pay. Many within the organization even went so far as to say that the amount raised was “life-changing”.

“Many people are willing to do anything, including working for nothing or a small amount of money, to get their foot in the door,” Alderson told Epstein for SI. “But eventually it pays off. Eventually it becomes a job. A job with a certain amount of cachet, but you can’t eat the cachet and you can’t support the family on the cachet. So at some point you’re going to put it on your employees.” Give for. If you’re going to demand excellence, you have to be willing to accept it.”

The improvement in employee morale in the story was noted as a major victory for the Cohen family, especially because of what the team’s staff had suffered before his arrival. Epstein goes into detail about the plethora of accidents that happened under Wilpons, from asking Cougar Life to sponsor a former third baseman. David Wright,LHP in 2013 All-Star Game campaign Jason Vargas Threatened to fight a reporter in 2019, during the In Memoriam portion of the 1969 team reunion to honor two surviving players.

Yes, all that and more did indeed happen. As Epstein succinctly and succinctly put it; The Mets tweeted more photos of the dildo (1) as it won the title (0) since the Wilpons took control of the team in 1987. This hilarious but all-too-true fact excellently encapsulates the chaos and deeply infected people of the previous regime. Wounds caused by owners who simply stopped caring. The New York Mets were run more like a circus than a professional baseball team.

Of course, Cohen didn’t survive the usual embarrassing storm that comes with the Mets during his first year as team owner. From players sticking thumbs for their own fans to the team that invented Donnie Stevenson, a fictional hitting coach, the Mets remained the same old Mets, even under new ownership. The fact that GM Jack Scott was fired for allegedly driving under the influence after leaving a team fundraiser after his predecessor, Jared Porter, was fired for sending explicit, unsolicited text messages to a female reporter , which sums up the toxic culture Cohen inherited.

This takes us to the second part of the story where the miracle of what has been achieved really takes root. The Mets were seen by the outside world as a laughing stock, a dumpster fire that was the gift that kept on giving and giving and giving. As a result, it was no surprise that joining the Mets would concern even the players with the smallest shreds of self-esteem. veteran starting pitcher Chris BassitoWhich had been acquired from the Oakland A during the off-season, probably spoke to all players when it came to the team’s perceived position.

“It looked like it was a mess,” Bassit told Epstein. “Then I got to spring training and was like, oh, it’s not like that at all.” This is what happens when you hire experienced, competent people to run your baseball operations. Cohen and Alderson hired longtime baseball executive and sports student Billy Appler to become their new general manager. In return, Appler hired the highly experienced, respected and much-loved Buck Showalter to be the team’s manager.

credit: Dale Janine-USA Today

Those two employees have proved to be the backbone on which this newly redesigned Mets team is built. With two respected personalities now guiding the ship, things have changed rapidly. There have been no fights within the team, no shameful tales to dominate the front pages and keep the team off the back pages of the newspaper. Instead, Appler and Showalter, with the full support of Cohen and Alderson, have built a clubhouse based on respect, leadership, accountability, and knowing that the only mission is to win.

Showalter in the dugout has been a revelation. They have helped develop a clubhouse culture that has led to good results on the field, placing their trust in proven leaders. Max Scherzer who dominated his first year in Queens. In fact, in addition to Scherzer, starling mart, Mark Kanha, And edward escobar Home runs have proven not only for their production on diamonds, but for what they offer in the clubhouse and away from the ballpark. This is a team that is on the same page and everyone is pulling in the right direction.

It is no surprise that the choice of Pete Alonso, edwin diazoo, Jeff McNilla, louis guillorme, And Francis Lindo Have stellar years. He is put in the best possible position to succeed by Showalter, who has long been in the game to know exactly what it takes to get players on board and all align with the same mission. It could be argued that hiring Showalter might be one of Cohen’s best moves ever.

“Last year was a lot of different things. It wasn’t a professional organization, I felt like,” Lindor told Epstein. “Guys go about their business the right way (this year) – you have to Not to worry – and then once they’re done, they just turn the page. professional. I like it. Many people got arbitration the first time, or the second or third time. He got a little more money. They realize that it’s not just money. Have to win it. So it’s a great mix of a lot of things.”

“It Starts With the Buck,” Starting Pitcher taijuan walker told Epstein.

Epstein explained how Showalter has made it his mission to put players first and ensure they are turning to work in a happy and professional environment that is conducive to success where it matters most. . Showalter’s Tales is what allows Alonso to put up a pool table in the clubhouse, as well as Alex Cohen, working with Steve’s wife, to redesign the family room and make it a home for the players’ families. create a more welcoming and relaxing space.

Little touches like this go a long way. Shazer was quoted in the story as saying: “My kids are never going to see me on the pitch again!” When he saw the new and improved family room. For players to go the extra mile is something that is common within most organizations in Major League Baseball, but it was an area in which the Mets were consistently reduced to underfoot. Showalter has inspired that significant change because he knows that players are also just human, after all. “If it is important to the players, no matter how trivial, it will be better for you,” Showalter said in the story.

From adding proven winners like Scherzer to the mix to improving players’ handling of pitching machines and other top-of-the-range equipment at their disposal, the Mets have made a whole lot of effort this year to act like a professional baseball team. way out. It may not seem like a big deal that they are actually a real professional baseball team, but they were anything but under the Wilpons. Which is why the Cohen family, along with Alderson, Appler and Showalter, should all be commended for playing a key role in making the Mets a respected franchise once again. It’s all about the baseball and not the drama. These are no longer your villain’s mates. And the baseball world is starting to take notice.

“It’s creating an environment in which professional communication is appreciated,” Alderson told Epstein. It used to be that we used to meet in the lunchroom and it would be a bunch of grab-ass and what have you. It’s all business. ,

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