It didn’t surprise me to see Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen keep his word and sit with the 7 Line crew in the stands vs. the Yankees. He seems like a stand-up guy who certainly understands that he’d be crucified even further if he bailed on his commitment to meet, greet, and talk baseball for a couple of innings with Mets faithful. I remember Mickey Callaway sitting on the Burm in Port St. Lucie in a spring training game in March of 2018. Many fans had thoughts of WOW; this is going to be different; this is a manager who will take responsibility and be accountable for the ups and downs with this team. Imagine Art Howe setting up shop on the Burm?
Brodie was in a different spotlight last night, his team was ten games under entering play and the talk of ‘COME GET US’ has been met with ‘YOU’VE BEEN GOT BRODIE,’ in fact we’ve all been GOT. He showed for lack of better term ‘balls’ by showing up in the CF stands. Again, no one questions his smarts or his charisma for that matter. Brodie was one of the more liked agents in the game when he was the co-head of the baseball division at CAA. That is just it though, he’s a great salesman, maybe one the best in the game.
Van Wagenen sold the Wilpons on the idea that he could head up the organization and turn it around very quickly. He sold the fan base as he managed to trade away two prospects in Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn for an over the hill Robinson Cano and a young and financially controllable closer in Edwin Diaz. He signed Jed Lowrie, Wilson Ramos and brought back Jeurys Familia. Every one of those moves except for Ramos has backfired. The trade for JD Davis was a pretty nice find, so let’s give him some credit. He has surrounded himself with some decent baseball minds and a more analytical approach to scouting. He referenced the lineup card last night with the names in the bullpen and mentioned that’s what they envisioned in March. Did he also envision Robinson Cano looking even older than his already elderly 36? Did he envision a manager who’s in-game decisions would make Willie Randolph’s look like Tony La Russa?
I applaud Brodie’s glass half full approach, it is refreshing, but that is running very dry these days. The Mets pulled off a comeback against a dominant Yankees bullpen, was it the beginning of a run or was it because the Yanks were Jet-Lagged from the London trip? Time will tell, but what seems very apparent is that Brodie is in over his head. Looking back on when Mickey Callaway sat with the fans in Port St. Lucie, that didn’t qualify him as a manager; it only endeared him to the fans. Same goes here for Brodie. The rah rah fun with the 7 Line was cute, but I can’t imagine Brian Cashman, Billy Beane or Dave Dombrowski sitting with the fans.
Why is that? Because they aren’t salesmen, they are sound and savvy architects of baseball teams that know how to build a winning culture WITHOUT bluster. No need to scream ‘come get us.’ Those GM’s that I mentioned manage their expectations in the media.
Of course, Brodie answers to bosses who care more about what people think of them instead of the actual product they put on the field. Maybe if he wasn’t brought in to be Jeff Wilpon’s puppet, he’d have more of a fighting chance. It seems Van Wagenen has bought into the circus that is the Mets, and this circus doesn’t have an end in sight until the Wilpons jump on the 7 Train outta town for good.