(1) If Alan Partridge was a billionaire with a Twitter account.
I first came across Steven Cohen when he purchased Damien Hirst’s £6,000 shark in formaldehyde for a figure in the region of $10 million. I love Hirst. I love the pretentious titles he applies to his work, like “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”, which helps billionaires part with their cash.
My second encounter with Cohen was the press conference after he had secured the club for around $2.5 billion. I was impressed. He said the right things. He had the ambition to win at least one World Series in the first five years; he spoke about strengthening the farm systems, using analytics, getting in players by trade or free agency to fill needs. It looked like the bad ol’ days of the Wilpons were in the past. It was a new era in New York.
Obviously, as detailed in the opening of this article, the toxic culture remains, so maybe my optimism was misjudged. The choice of the next GM is important… but so were the choices of the last GM and the one before that.
When talking about finding great players and making them better, Cohen declared, “We are starting with our homegrown talent and building from there.” Which is why it is still confusing that the Mets opted not to sign their first-round pick from 2021.
Kumar Rocker, described as the best-known pitcher in college baseball for a decade, pitched 122 innings for Vanderbilt in 20 starts, notching up 179 strikeouts and a 2.73 ERA. It will be years before we know whether Cohen was foolish or prescient to decline signing the 21-year-old, but the system is so stacked in favour of the club that the Mets will get an additional first-round pick next season, while Rocker is mired in baseball oblivion for a year.
The situation was compounded by a bit of billionairesplaining. Does this look like integrity to you?
The Mets owner, whose punctuation is more erratic than some of his takes, stropped off Twitter and deactivated his account in February, but fortunately, he is back to offer wise insights into… slugging numbers.
Anyone who says, “It’s hard to understand how professional hitters can be this unproductive”, has never played fantasy baseball. Man, you should have seen my TGFBI team at the end of April.
Seriously, the guy literally announced that the Mets would use the best analytics, and he is now telling the world that slugging numbers don’t lie. This account is gold.
And there is more…
But he also has a sense of humour.
So, it seems clear that the answer to “What’s the point of the Mets?” is to entertain the rest of us.
After all, who doesn’t like seeing a team go from four games up at the top of the division at the start of August to third place by the end of the month?
While I wrote this article, the Mets blew a 9-0 lead in a seven-inning game against the Nationals. This franchise offers such great entertainment value.
Let’s go Mets!
If you enjoyed the article, hit the share button and give Gav feedback @GavTramps. If you didn’t, he really doesn’t want to know.
While we have you, make sure you check out the 2021 back catalogue of podcasts. The one with John chatting to White Sox ace Lucas Giolito is particularly good. Click on the big fella below.