An open letter for future New York Mets owner Steve Cohen.
Within only a few weeks, Steve Cohen should get approved and become the official majority owner of the New York Mets. Before he does, I would like to share an open letter that I feel expresses how many Mets fans feel about this change:
Good day Mr. Cohen,
I hope this letter finds you well.
I am writing on behalf of New York Mets fans around the globe. Let me begin by expressing our gratitude to you for entering into a new role with the franchise. Your impending transition into the role of majority owner is one of the most exciting developments in recent Mets’ history.
As you begin this new journey, we feel as though it is important to inform where the hearts of your franchise’s fans lie. Our hopes. Our excitement, Our fears. Our frustrations. And our laments. I sincerely hope that this letter helps you understand our plight. And helps us all move forward to success together.
We Feel Betrayed
We are confident you are well aware of the dynamics surrounding the state of the franchise in recent years. You would not have blindly invested $2.6 billion dollars blindly. However, the importance of this transition cannot be overstated. For years, fans of the New York Mets have lamented the dysfunction of the team.
The Wilpon era saw the franchise conduct themselves as a small market team, despite playing in the biggest baseball city in the country. While the crosstown New York Yankees have been willing to open their checkbook to the tune of a league-leading 27 world championships, the Mets have elected to be stingy.
With each passing year, MLB had a number of top tier talents who hit the free agent market. Each season, the Mets would pass on the opportunity to even consider adding players who could drastically boost their ability to win.
This trend felt most obvious during the 2018 offseason when two, young, generational talents were both available to the highest bidder: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Either player could have served as the cornerstone building block. The Mets failed to sign either. Even worst, they never really tried.
To add to the sting of ineptitude, Harper ultimately signed with the rival Phillies, while Machado emerged as the leader of the leagues hottest upstart team in the San Diego Padres.
We need an owner who cares
Being out of contention for major free agents is just one reason fans have grown sour with the previous ownership group. At the end of the day, fans have felt as though the team’s owners and front office members have not cared about the franchise the same manner that we do.
Logically, this is a ridiculous notion. The men and women who are directly associated with the team have their livelihoods and often their legacies tethered to the success of the franchise. They undoubtedly care deeply.
However, the inability to build a consistent contender has caused fans to be skeptical of their team’s leaders. The team’s perceived disinterest in investing in the success of the Mets have left us feeling jaded and disheartened.
While fans on the outside looking in are connected to their team in a different way, they are still extremely invested. There is something about the nature of fanhood that connects with the tribal part of a person. We invest huge chunks of time watching games, checking box scores, and fantasizing about the future. We paint our faces and scream at our televisions sets. We spend considerable amounts of money on tickets, jerseys, bumper stickers, hats, and anything else with our team’s logo. We even refer to the team in the first-person, as though we are members of the active roster. We feel connected to our team. And we long to see them succeed.
We are in desperate need of an owner that we can trust. Someone that, whether we win or lose, we honestly believe is doing everything in their power to contend. Someone who feels as invested as we are.
We sincerely hope that you are that person.
We Need Strong Leadership
As you well know, the Mets team has become synonymous with dysfunction. We are the franchise that pays Bonny Bonilla $1 million every year. Each time, the date serves as an annual reminder to mock the team.
We are also responsible for train wreck signings such as Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and Vince Coleman (to name a few of many). Most recently, we are the team that hired a manager, Carlos Beltran, and fired him before a single game was played. There is also the Yoenis Cespedes circus that resulted in our starting DH failing to show up to the ballpark on game day, clearing out his hotel room, starting an impromptu search and rescue mission. Only to find out that he opted out midseason without informing anyone.
Not enough for you? How about that time that GM Brodie Van Wagenen publicly criticized a flawed social justice recognition plan that he thought came from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. Only to find out later that the plan was actually the brainchild of his team owners and bosses Fred and Jeff Wilpon.
To add icing to the cake, the Wilpons proceeded to rip their own GM in public statements. In these statements, both men misspelled their GM’s name… A writer on SNL could write better comedy than the Mets have provided. You really can’t make this stuff up.
For these reasons (and many more) the Mets are in need of a strong leader who can bring real credibility to the franchise. The Yankees are known for spending money. The Rays are known for being the smartest team in the room. The Athletics are known for advanced analytics and getting the most out of their talent.
The Mets can no longer be known for being a circus. We need a change in culture.
A Person Plea
We know you are well aware of these issues. We also recognize that you are not responsible for our suffering or laments. As the new owner, you come in with a clean slate and a fresh start.
As such, on behalf of all Mets fans, I plead with you to take full advantage of this new opportunity. In our minds, you are our knight in shining armor. You are the reason fans are excited and optimistic despite failing to crack an unprecedently large postseason field.
We bed you not to squander this opportunity. If you are the reason the Mets enter free agency with aggression and a willingness to spend, you will win us over immediately. Dreams of landing All-Stars like JT Realmuto, Trevor Bauer, and George Springer are circling the minds of fans and annalists. You are our only hope of getting a seat at the negotiation table.
Even if the ownership transition causes us to wait until next offseason to open the checkbook, we’re willing to be patient. To an extent.
However, in the same vein, a casual beginning to your ownership tenure, or a lack of spending that reminds us of the Wilpon regime would be devastating.
Please do not waste your opportunity at a good first impression.
We’re with you. We support you. We’re thrilled to have you. And we’re pulling hard to see you succeed!
and New York Mets fans everywhere
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!