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What Wilpon Said That Was REALLY So Bad

There's been a lot said about Fred Wilpon's comments in the New Yorker, but the focus seems to be mostly on his negative comments about the players. Those might not have been the worst things he said in the article.

It may not be a great managerial strategy, but calling players out in the media can be considered a strategy. Obviously, George Steinbrenner felt that he was helping the team by making sure the players knew their pride was on the line when he acted similarly. Old school, maybe, but the method at least shows some thought. If we make sure the player knows we are all waiting on them to perform up to the Yankee brand, then that player will work as hard as humanly possible. They'll show some pride.

So we can talk about how dumb it is to talk about Jose Reyes and his contract demands while Reyes remains unsigned for the future. It does hurt his trade value. It does feel a little like tampering. And alienating David Wright fans doesn't seem like a good idea either. But we don't know Wilpon's motivation, and it might just be that he believes those players could play better and that calling them out in this manner could be constructive. Seems like a long-shot, but it's possible.

But Wilpon dropped bombs that were much worse in the interview.

These few lines right here were Wilpon at his worst:

"Good hitter," Wilpon said. "Shitty team—good hitter." Davis struck out. Angel Pagan flied out to right, ending the Mets’ threat. "Lousy clubs—that’s what happens." Wilpon sighed. The Astros put three runs on the board in the top of the second.

"We’re snakebitten, baby," Wilpon said.

The role of an owner is probably most analogous to a brand manager in the rest of the corporate world. They aren't engineering the product - that's left to the General Manager on better teams. They are involved in the finances, obviously, but not like a CFO would be, not intimately. If they aren't managing personnel and don't need to do anything about the day-today finances, then owners are tasked with the big picture items.

Big ticket items include making sure the team is on strong financial footing overall and making sure the team is represented best at the very top. Obviously, Wilpon has failed on both of these fronts. He's done some good things for the team, but the fact that the team is bleeding cash cannot be lumped onto the shoulders of Omar Minaya and Bernie Madoff. He was complicit.

And now he's made the worst mistake, one that George Steinbrenner was usually careful to avoid. Insult the player, but not the game. Talk about how poorly your employees are doing, but never ever give in to the temptation to say the whole company is faulty. Do not attack the brand.

Sure, a few Mets fans might feel vindicated - see, even the owner knows the team sucks. But that tiny victory is hollow. Not only does the statement kill hope, it is probably a damper on ticket sales. Would a Mets fan say, see, even the owner knows the team sucks, so I'll buy a ticket to show my solidarity with him?

Not likely.