Wilpon Needs a New Front Man

The Warren…err, Wilpon Commission came back and gave up their report. Apparently a lone gunman did it. Omar Minaya acted alone.

Speaking to the press before yesterday’s game, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon apologized for Minaya’s slight of Daily News reporter Adam Rubin and said that Minaya felt remorse about the situation.

“[Minaya’s] not in a great state right now, this has taken a great toll on him, and I think if you guys can give him a day or so, he’ll be back to Omar.,” Wilpon said in front of the Mets dugout before his team’s beat the Colorado Rockies, 4-0. “And if we can all give him a chance, I think he’ll come back and make this organization proud.”

Wilpon hopes that will be that for this embarrassing episode, yet something tells me that it won’t be. For the rest of the season, and even next year if Minaya survives there will always be questions about his motives. Will his temper get the best of him again? Will he hold another reporter responsible?

It’s obvious from the columns that came out over the past few days, the New York press won’t let up on the Mets. Minaya made the situation worse. Until now, he got the benefit of the doubt. His friendly demeanor allowed the press to do it’s job, so even if the Mets floundered, there was very little rumbling about Minaya’s future.

Yet now, Minaya will get the Glen Sather treatment. The reclusive president of the Rangers gets lambasted by the press because of his unwillingness to deal with reporters. He never is available during the season, unless you there’s a trade or some sort of move when he has to deal with the press. Before he fired Tom Renney, he let the coach be the face of the organization, something he seems to be passing on to the media unfriendly John Tortorella.

Unfortunately for the Mets, they don’t have a field manager, who wants to take that mantle. Although Jerry Manuel is very media friendly, he also seems to be happy playing the role of paid employee rather than front man.

That’s fine but if Minaya won’t be the face of the organization, and Manuel doesn’t want the job, then who?

The answer is obvious: Jeffrey Wilpon.

Wilpon has been more accessible than most owners. He conducted a number of media tours and has a good relationship with the press. Unlike the Yankees who let Brian Cashman has proven to be a very articulate general manager speak for them. The Mets don’t have someone on that level. Minaya is a very poor public speaker and as Monday proved can’t run a press conference. He’s great one-on-one but in front of a room, there are obvious problems.

So Wilpon needs to step up and take command during these situations. He also should utilize marketing director David Newman to speak for the organization when the situation merits it. That will allow Minaya to do what he does best, which is deal directly with players, agents, and other general managers to make the Mets better. He has proven to be an excellent free agent signer, even if some didn’t turn out like planned.

But something needs to be done. Monday’s press conference was a fiasco for the organization, which is now reeling the embarrassment. If Minaya is the man to build the future for the Mets – and the jury is still out on that – then Wilpon needs to make changes in order to prevent another fiasco from happening.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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