New Mets owner Steve Cohen and returning team president Sandy Alderson held an introductory press conference this afternoon and it couldn’t have gone much better. Mets fans like myself were already fawning over Cohen because he purchased the beloved franchise away from the hated Wilpon family, whose financial troubles dating back to the Bernie Madoff scandal have held the Mets back for the past decade.
Cohen could have said anything and been adored by fans, but he ended up saying all the right things anyway and solidifying good vibes heading into the 2021 season.
When Uncle Stevie talks about being committed to building an exceptional team, the words having meaning because we know he has the resources to make it happen. When he spoke about letting the baseball operations people handle baseball decisions, it resonated because fans are sick of the Wilpons’ meddling. And when Cohen said he would build a great analytics department, we cheered because the Mets have been falling behind in the stathead area for years.
The whole thing was a big win for Cohen. He came away seeming like a regular guy who just happened to be worth $14 billion. He used to be a fan just like us, only he had the power to do something about his favorite team falling short year after year. Plus, baseball teams are as infallible as investments get, so what does he have to lose?
Alderson took command of the press conference and spoke about how much things had changed since he was last in control of the Mets’ baseball operations. Instead of always looking to get a player at the right cost, the front office could now focus on getting the right player and not worrying so much about the cost. That’s what happens when you go from working for penny-pinching owners to working for the richest man in baseball.
I’ve been a big fan of Alderson since his first stint with the Mets. He was the perfect guy to bring in back when the franchise was reeling from the Madoff mess because his history in Oakland and San Diego gave him experience in building a team on a budget. Under his leadership, the Mets won the 2015 National League pennant and turned the aging talents of Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey into Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and Travis d’Arnaud. Lots of Alderson influence is on the current roster, and I can’t wait to see how he builds on that now that he’s being backed by the Monopoly Guy.
It’s safe to say that I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.