BRONX, NY – From 2009 through 2013, the Atlanta Braves won no fewer than 86 games in a season. They surpassed the 90 Win total 3 times in the last 5 years, including 96 victories just last year! In 2014, however, many things went awry for the Bravos. Starting with losing their top 2 starters in Spring Training to B.J. Upton not showing an iota of improvement from his first season in Atlanta, when he absolutely stunk as the worst statistical player in Major League Baseball. The good news for the Braves is that Upton has just 3 years and $45M left on his contract. That for a guy who hasn’t hit more than .246 since 2008. While not quite the deferred deal the Mets have in perpetuity with Bobby Bonilla – who will be showing us all “The Bronx” till 2036 – the Braves’ decision to give big years and even bigger dough to Dan Uggla will haunt them forever. So, perhaps we shouldn’t have been shocked that the Braves’ very capable General Manager, Frank Wren, was fired Monday. Like most GMs, Wren hit on some and whiffed on some. He also presided over a stable, winning organization that year after year churned out productive big leaguers from its farm system. Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, Brian McCann, Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy – each an All-Star – were drafted and developed by Wren and his people. He also traded for the “good” Upton brother, Justin, who only cost him Martin Prado. Frank Wren’s body of work, which spanned 17 years in charge of the Braves, was an impressive one, and his services will doubtless be in demand soon.
But the coup de grace, the final straw, the ultimate embarrassment that even the well-respected Wren could not survive, was a sweep at home at the hands of the New York Mets. For there is nothing more humiliating than to be swept at home by the always rudderless/leaderless, most financially and morally bankrupt team in the sport’s history. For the Atlanta Braves, THIS was too much to bear. So, a good man with a good track record of running a successful franchise is out.
Meanwhile, in Gotham City where irony is always served fresh and daily.…
Ancient Mets General Manager (Real) Sandy Alderson was given a 3-year contract extension on the very same day Wren was given his walking papers. A reward for the New York GM, in spite of overseeing a 4-year period in which even mediocrity was out of reach. But winning games, let alone championships, has never been the objective for this Mets ownership group. Sandy is asked to be the caretaker, the front-man who will stand unchallenged in front of a sycophantic press corps led by Martino and the NY Daily News and lie through his wooden teeth. Jeffy Wilpon, who used to sit in the same booth at the Scobee Diner every Friday night and yell at the waitresses, now gets to make bigger decisions than whether to order the cheeseburger deluxe. Just last week, Bud Selig announced that he had no concern whatsoever about the Mets’ finances and their ability to maintain ownership. Any chance of MLB acting in the best interests of the game or its fans sailed the moment Freddy introduced Selig to Bernie Madoff back at the Palm Beach Country Club in 1997. Selig too, was a big winner in the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
Under the cataracts and macular degeneration of Sandy’s eyes, the Mets have won 77, 74, 74 and 78-79ish this year. None of Alderson’s draft picks has made it to the bigs. He wasted more than $100M on Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon. Chris Young, Frank Francisco and others and the team has not improved a lick. His supporters, though, say he has no money with which to work. Is that why he traded Angel Pagan to the SF Giants for a bag of crap?
In short, Sandy Alderson has sucked at being the GM of the Mets. But in Bizarro World where survival trumps success, he is rewarded and formally told, “Good job! Keep up the good work!”
The Braves, a team with a tradition of winning over the past 25 years, held their GM accountable for their one bad season in 2014. The Mets, finishing their 6th straight losing season and without a single playoff appearance since 2006, rewarded theirs. When does this death spiral for the Amazin’s come to a merciful end? Not anytime soon… Not anytime soon.
By the way… Happy Birthday to my twin boys Jacob & Jackson. I love you guys but I wish I hadn’t saddled you with the lifelong curse of the Blue & Orange. That’s my bad.
Tune in tomorrow on this same Matt Channel for Gotham’s Defender of the People, Angry Ward.