Filling the Steinbrenner Void

A Baseball Commentary

Schmuck, a Yiddish word, has a range of meanings depending on context. In its most innocuous use, a schmuck is a person who does a stupid thing, in which case “dumb schmuck” is the appropriate expression.  from

I think we can all agree with Fred Wilpon, principal owner of the NY Mets that he is, indeed, a schmuck. Wilpon, self deprecatingly referred to himself as such in a recent interview with New Yorker Magazine.

Carlos Beltran

To put his comment in context, Wilpon was remarking about his decision in 2005 to sign Carlos Beltran to a very lucrative long-term contract, making him the center fielder and crown jewel in the Mets lineup. But Fred, this decision does not make you a schmuck.

Consider the facts…Beltran was coming off an historic 2004 post season where he tied an MLB record with 8 post season home runs with the Houston Astros. He had been rookie of the year, was amassing decent if not remarkable stats, and was still relatively young (27) at the time. He is now a five time All-Star and while he’s suffered some injuries in his six plus years in NY, and Mets fans have on more than one occasion been disappointed in his performance in clutch situations, Beltran is a classic “three tool” player. He has distinguished himself as a true power hitter (tied for Mets season HR record at 41), excellent fielder (3 gold glove awards), and base runner (highest stolen base percentage (88%) in MLB since 2000 and is the all time club leader in runs scored at 126).

Beltran’s contract is expiring this year and he is approaching the end of his career so one could argue (especially now that he has once again found his stride and is producing consistently) that it makes sense to try to trade him to a contending team for one or more young prospects. But geez Fred, if that’s your intention, hold your cards up.

Jose Reyes

Wilpon, in an uncharacteristically expansive mood with the media, also went on to dump on fan favorites Jose Reyes and David Wright. Both Reyes and Wright are young, exciting players of All-Star caliber who have not yet hit their professional stride. While not consistently great, they have both shown potential for brilliant play. Ironically, Jose Reyes who is coming off several injury-marred seasons is playing the best baseball of his young career and is currently tearing up the National League (leading the league in batting average, total hits, doubles, triples, and runs scored; second in stolen bases).

Fred, trash-talking about your players to the media…THAT is what makes you the schmuck. Are you trying to fill the void left by George Steinbrenner?

Your half-assed, phone-in apology didn’t help either. Publically denigrating your players’ abilities and contributions to the team is not just a low-class act but is an incredibly stupid business maneuver when you are possibly shopping them for potential trades. And on that note, Reyes and Wright are among the few reasons people still pay for overpriced tickets to come to Citi Field despite the erratic performance of the team (an underground fan movement to keep Reyes as a NY Met is growing).

Fred, do you really want to field a complete team of low-rent nobodies in New York?  Doesn’t sound like a smart business decision. Even if you can’t manage to assemble a winning team, let’s keep it exciting.  Somehow, in spite of your arrogance and lousy business skills you’ve found a new partner to feed off. We won’t be surprised though, to read your characterization of the deal in next month’s New Yorker: “Wilpon to new minority owner: Sucker!”


PS: Despite my feelings about his unfortunate media statements re: Mets players, this author does not believe that Wilpon and associates were knowing accomplices of Bernie Madoff as Trustee Irving Pickard alleges.  Being dumb and in this case naive, does not make him a crook.

Published in: on June 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Paul,

    Rereading my last comment, I fear it could be misconstrued as snark against Madoff victims (which of course includes you and Terry). Nothing could be further from the truth, but I apologize anyway, just in case.

    With schmuck, weiner, and dick, so many English(/Yiddish)-language penis references! And those are just the foreskin of the iceberg.


  2. All this crap is more fallout from Madoff. If no Madoff, Wilpon stays properly in the background, so no microphone in his face hoping for, and getting, stupidity gold. Poor baby! Lucked into a fortune, unlucked out of (some of) it. The dark side of capitalism.

    Running down your own team in public is more than schmucky, it’s, as Steve says, weinery and whiny. Or, may I say, a dick move.


  3. I agree with your take on the Mets, but given current events, should we not be calling him a weiner (as well as a whiner)?


  4. Wow. Reviewing baseball now. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the NBA finals. 🙂

    Editor’s Response: Only that I’m pleased that the egomaniacal Heat were iced.


  5. Paul, your assessment of Fred Wilpon is right on the money on every issue. Good article.



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