Are the Mets the Most Embarrassing Organization in Sports?

Fred Wilpon: Letting it Happen.

It’s not easy to push your way to the top of the list of most embarrassing sports franchises.  Between incompetent owners, bumbling GMs, apathetic fans and everything else there is never a shortage of teams vying for this crown.  I think of the Lions during the illustrious Matt Millen years.  I think of the job Donald Sterling has done with the Clippers.  How about the Daniel Snyder Redskins?  The Pirates streak of 18 straight losing years?  Where do the Mets fit in this hierarchy? I’m not sure they would take the top spot, but they are rising fast, and announcing their presence with a previously unseen enthusiasm.  Most teams mired in such despair try to stay under the radar, but not the Mets.  They’re out there screaming, “Hey look at us, we’re a f*cking disaster.”

When was the last time something went right for the Mets?  When did they last catch a break?  Do you want to count the 2000 World Series?  If you don’t you might be headed back to Bill Buckner.  Other than a couple of short runs of success the Mets seem destined to reinforce their status as that other team in New York.  So, in terms of them being a colossal mess, where do you want to start?

How about finances?  Everyone knows the Mets were tied up with Bernie Madoff, but it isn’t money lost with Madoff that’s the real problem.  They’re being sued for 1 billion dollars by the trustee trying to recover Madoff funds, the thought being Madoff clued them in.  Losing the suit could cost  Fred Wilpon the team.  They needed to take a 25 million dollar emergency loan from Major League baseball.  They are carrying debt of over 400 million dollars. They just started a 25-year payout to Bobby Bonilla that will cost them almost 30 million dollars.  Wilpon says they might lose 70 million this year.  I’m no financial genius, I spent a good portion of my college classes on the subject simply trying to figure out the calculator functions, but to me this adds up to Wilpon needing divine intervention to keep his hands on this team.  So, in summary, you’ve got a baseball franchise that has become not viable financially in New York.  Well played.

Of course, there are then the on the field issues.  You can take any team and list terrible free agent signings, but the Mets seem to have more than their fair share, because they do have a willingness to spend money.  In 1992 they had the highest payroll in baseball.  The season spurned a book called, “The Worst Team Money can Buy.”  This is standard operating procedure for the Mets.  A selection of free agent contracts through the years (not including the Bonilla deal that they have just begun to pay off):

  1. Kaz Matsui (3 yrs, 20 million).  The Mets would end up trading Matsui for Eli Marrero.
  2. Luis Castillo (4 yrs, 25 million).  Castillo is currently out of baseball (still getting paid).
  3. Oliver Perez (3 yrs, 36 million).  Perez’s WHIP approached the rarely seen 2.0.
  4. Jason Bay (4 yrs, 66 million).  .234 BA, 2 HRs, 8 RBI.
  5. Carlos Beltran (7 yrs, 119 million).  Was worth it 50% of the time.

The contracts just add to what I’d call a general level of frustration that must arise amongst the Mets faithful.  You’ve got David Wright who looked like he could be the Mets’ version of Cal Ripken when he first broke in, but he can’t stay healthy, has suffered mysterious power outages, and generally appears to be cursed.  Then there’s Jose Reyes.  Tantalizing talent and probably headed out of town after this season.  Reyes is dogged by character issues and despite good hard numbers hasn’t been able to lead the team to any significant successes.  Everyone in a Mets uniform right now is tainted by their recent history of underachieving and collapses in 2007 and 2008.  You look at a Mets roster these days and say they’ve got a decent amount of talent, but it’s the Mets.  They’ll figure out a way to screw everything up.  I’m sure fans are terrified to think of what might happen to Ike Davis.

All of this helps the Mets status as a black eye on the sporting world, but it is their owner, the embattled Wilpon, who has really risen to the occasion over the last couple of days.  He’s reminding me of one of those senior citizens that gets behind the wheel of a big Lincoln and just drives with reckless abandon.  There isn’t a drop of paint left on either bumper, because they run into whatever they damn well please.  They don’t care anymore.  If they hit you, they hit you, but they’re going down swinging.  Wilpon is certainly taking his cuts right now.  He’s lighting up Mets players and himself. He said Jose Reyes is dreaming if he thinks he’s getting Carl Crawford money.  He calls himself a schmuck for signing Beltran to his deal.  He says David Wright is not a superstar.  Ike Davis escapes the firing squad.  Wilpon says, “Good hitter. Sh*tty team.  Good hitter.  We’re snake-bitten baby.”

That pretty much sums it up, I think.  I suppose the only thing stopping the Mets from taking the crown is their awareness. Wilpon seems suddenly very conscious of the disaster he’s caused.  Maybe the true embarrassing franchises don’t realize what they’re doing.  Either way, Meet the Mets, Meet the Mets.  Step right up and greet the Mets.

14 thoughts on “Are the Mets the Most Embarrassing Organization in Sports?

  1. Didn’t they also sign that absurdly fat first baseman who played for the Bosox to a ridiculous contract…..and he promptly had a debilitating medical condition that made him unable to play baseball? Yet they still had to pay him. Mo Vaughn maybe?

  2. yeah, the dodgers are in a state, but they don’t seem to have the on the field flair of the Mets.

    Looking it refresh my memory…The Angels signed Mo Vaughn to that deal and then he was traded to the Mets…

    So, it’s more of a worst trade in Mets history type of deal.

    Also, a contributing factor to Steve Phillips’s demise.

    the association with Phillips also kind of an embarrassment.

  3. It gets me every time that the Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla, and will be paying him essentially until I retire. Or until the debt is discharged in bankruptcy, whichever comes first (sorry Bobby–my advice would be to start saving now.)

  4. The mets are making a strong run right now, but my vote for most embarrassing franchise would have to be the Raiders. My reasons:
    1. Many years of top 5, top 10 draft picks in a league where the draft is a huge part of building your team, and can provide a quick turnaround. But, when you draft Darrius Heyward-Bey, jamarcus Russell, robert gallery, fabian washington….you get the idea. Every year when the NFL draft comes on, every expert laughs like a hyenia when it is time for the Raiders to pick, and they mutter something to the effect of, “well, you just never know what they are going to do”, and then jaws drop when they make the selection.
    2. The coaching carousel: Lane Kiffin and the lawsuit when he left, Art Shell for the 2nd go round, a Norv Turner sighting, Tom Cable, and now Hue Jackson? Does anyone know who Hue Jackson is?
    3. Coach debacle continued: Tom Cable punches a defensive assistant in the jaw, also the hiring of an offsensive coordinator who ran a bed-and-breakfast
    4. The decrepit owner, Al Davis. When your fan base is resigned to the thought that things won’t get better until your owner passes away, well, that would say that your franchise is pretty sorry.
    5. And the results: in the past 8 seasons they have finished 8-8 and the other 7 years they have not had more than 5 wins in a season.

    • you make a good case. it’s hard to argue with all that evidence, and I’d probably agree. The Raiders still loom as the gold standard. maybe the Mets can keep pushing with a bankruptcy or something flashy like that.

    • You can’t kill the raiders for the Gallery pick, only b/c at the time everyone thought that guy would be a total O-line stud for the next decade. As for the various other picks (Ronald Curry, etc) completely agree. In fact, I can’t remember the last Raider’s pick that worked out. Additionally, toss in FA signings-they gave the worst safety in football, one that I routinely complained about as sucking when he was a giant, a max contract (i think at one point a top 5 safety contract).

      Still, they did have a run w/ Gannon and Co, so that’s similar to the Mets. Who knew firing Jon Gruden would be the demise of the Raiders…..

    • Having watched many UNC football games, I can represent that it was completely foreseeable that Ronald Curry would not pan out at the NFL level. Seeing as how he didn’t really pan out at the college level.

      As for the other UNC-football related shot in the other post, I have no defense or response. The point is well made.

    • ronald curry wasn’t a high pick.

      it’s embarrassing that he was kind of their #1 receiver for a while, but they didn’t blow a pick on him.

      greatest high school athlete of all time.

      or, maybe the most overhyped recruit of all time

  5. What I really remember about him is that he played point guard during the nadir of the UNC basketball program. It always looked like he was dribbling with a closed fist.

  6. It is kind of hard to believe he wasn’t at least a serviceable college guard.

    I mean, no offense to college basketball, but there are dozens of good college guards every year who have no real pro potential.

    for him to be that bad was just surprising. maybe i’m remembering him as being worse than he was, but the real question is who were these people he was dominating in high school?

  7. I don’t agree about the Raiders. With the salary cap the NFL employs it’s harder to get out from under bad draft picks, etc.. In baseball, you can spend as much as you want on players, so the big market teams like the Mets enjoy a huge advantage since they have the biggest and most revenue sources. The Mets consistenly spent near the top of all NL teams and still stink, That’s a lot harder to do than be mired in mediocrity in the NFL. And the Raiders still have more division titles than the Mets have in the last 20 years (since 1990).

  8. Baseball contracts are guaranteed, NFL contracts are not, so it’s actually easier to get out from under a bad contract in the NFL than MLB. Additionally, the point is that the Raiders consistently draft like lunatics. They don’t make one or two bad decisions, every decision the make is atrocious. Gibril Wilson for $40M (i think, maybe more)? Ummm, what?

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