For Jeff Wilpon (above, catching), things got off to an ugly start. He first entered the public scene in the late 1990™s to head up the effort for a proposed new stadium that included, among other risible features, a movable dome and a retractable grass field.
After 9/11 finally wiped away those hopes and the Wilpons bought out Nelson Doubleday Jr. in 2002, Jeff became the chief operating officer of the team.
Then, for a time, it seemed as though things were getting even worse.
The team traded away golden prospects like Scott Kazmir and signed broken-down malcontents like Jeromy Burnitz.
The press went on the attack and pointed directly to Jeff Wilpon, painting him as a rich kid incapable of managing the franchise that his father was trying to hand off to him.
That™s when Fred swooped back in, brought in Mr. Minaya and put him totally in control. The message was clear.
Jeff was left in control of smaller pet projects, like running the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones and negotiating the terms of the lease for the team™s spring-training home in Port St. Lucie.
In a way, Jeff was sent back to get educated and have a managerial style that resembled something more like his father™s. But in the process, people near the organization noticed a change for the better: He grew up.
œHe™s finally getting it, said Bob Klapisch, a columnist for ESPN and The Record of Bergen County. œFour years ago, he just wasn™t ready. Now, he™s no longer a little kid who™s taking over his inheritance.
Congratulations, Jim Duquette. You’ve finally been written out of the history books.
After discussing the ongoing Barry Zito saga, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff tips Ruben Sierra to sign a minor league contract with the Mets. If you’re hoping to see Juan Gonazalez playing for New Orleans on opening day, I suppose there’s still a chance.