Things can’t possibly be going well for the New York Mets right now. The face of their franchise is a 65-year-old whose hobbies include finance, collecting art, and social media.
It’s not their $341 million dollar shortstop. It’s not the rookie home run king. It’s not even the pitcher who won two consecutive Cy Youngs for them or the new starter they brought in this winter who has three of his own.
The face of the Mets franchise is none other than Steve Cohen. Contrary to expectations, it’s a good thing.
It’s an unusual privilege for the Mets to have their owner as the face of the franchise
Professional sports owners are typically like any skin disease; unless they’re bothering you, you don’t notice them.
Cohen is a little bit different. He took over the Mets from the much-maligned Wilpon Family. The advantage was already his. All he had to do was be better than them.
Cohen went beyond the minimum. In his first offseason as the team’s owner, he awarded Francisco Lindor with the franchise’s biggest contract in club history. It’s not as if he was out to go slightly over the previous highest contract. Cohen’s dollars smashed it.
The Mets have remained ultra-aggressive with this winter’s additions putting Cohen’s face on the map even more so. The moves made on Black Friday were solid but it was the unexpected signing of Max Scherzer that grabbed headlines. It also had a couple of Mets fans grabbing each other and smooching with excitement.
While Cohen may have one of the least direct impacts on the field, his eagerness to make this team better has won the fans over. He wasn’t quite as advertised last year but things seem to be headed in the direction of Cohen becoming an absolute beast to deal with and not in a cruel way either. Cohen is a super fan with the leverage to make this team the best one in baseball.
A term like “face of the franchise” is quite arbitrary and doesn’t really mean much at all. In the past, we’ve seen Tom Seaver carry the title. In some ways, he always will. David Wright was the next closest thing. During many of his years, when people saw the Mets, they thought of Captain America.
We live in interesting times where the Mets don’t have that single identity that stands above all others. Because they have plenty of good players on the roster already, we turn to Cohen to represent the team. His presence signaled a major change with the organization.
Fortunately for him, Cohen seems to embrace the attention at every turn. He enjoys the spotlight. The role is perfect for him. Because until ownership changes again, Steve Cohen will remain the face of the Mets.