The New York Mets probable new majority owner, Steve Cohen, made news last Thursday when he announced Sandy Alderson, who was the Mets general manager for seven years, would be the club’s new president. He took a leave of absence in July 2018 to battle a recurrence of cancer. As has generally been the case, the Mets were badly struggling, and he opted not to return.
Alderson got to know Steve Cohen well as he was a Mets minority owner during his tenure as general manager. Cohen is well aware he needs 75% of Major League Baseball owners to approve his purchase. He also knows that a number of owners are fearful of his background as a hedge fund entrepreneur who has faced scrutiny from the Securities & Exchange Commission.
The owners also know Cohen grew up a huge Mets fan and worry that with his many billions, he will go on a free agent spending causing a spike in player compensation which would be to the delight of Major League Baseball Players Association executive director, and former Mets first baseman, Tony Clark.
Cohen’s hiring of Sandy Alderson, who many regard as the ultimate MLB insider, since former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig implored Mets CEO Fred Wilpon to hire him as soon as his involvement with rogue financier Bernie Madoff became public knowledge. The owners know that Alderson, much to the understandable consternation of many Mets fans, will reign in some of Cohen’s spending impulses.
Current Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was complimentary when asked about Alderson’s second tenure at Citi Field. Van Wagenen is a sharp guy and he undoubtedly sees the handwriting on the wall.
BVW’s first major move as Mets GM in fall 2018 may come back to haunt him. Van Wagenen acquired second baseman Robinson Cano and relief pitcher Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners for a package of players which included top 2018 draft choice, outfielder Jarred Kelenic. Alderson made the decision draft Kelenic mere months earlier and I would imagine he, like many Mets fans, was not happy to see him used as collateral in that kind of deal.
It will be interesting to see what Van Wagenen’s next career move will be. He was a very successful player agent for many years (Jacob deGrom was one of his clients) but I don’t think returning to that profession will be his first choice. Given his matinee idol looks and unflappable speaking manner, he’d be a natural for a broadcasting gig at either ESPN, Fox Sports, or TBS.
Speaking of TBS, the Warner Media -owned cable network last week signed popular former Mets and Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson to be part of its MLB pre and postgame shows panel. Granderson reluctantly retired after not receiving an invitation to come to spring training from any MLB team.
A contemporary of Curtis Granderson, outfielder Hunter Pence, announced his retirement from baseball after a sold 14-year career. Pence, who a very delightful personality, never got to play for either the Mets or the Yankees so many around here are unaware of his considerable talent.
I chatted with him at Citi Field in May 2017 when the San Francisco Giants were in town and asked him if he had ever crossed paths with a man who shares his surname, Vice President Mike Pence. “Actually I am not very political, “he said. His grimace told me he would not go out of his way to meet him.
The easing up of pandemic rules has meant bowling alleys have reopened. A new company, Sprayzee, has created a shoe deodorizer which eliminates all unpleasant scents without utilizing any chemicals. It has a portable size which is perfect for when you visit the lanes. Sprayzee also makes a room deodorizer. Its available for sale on Aramzon and on its website, sprayzee.com
Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire