An Open Letter to Fred and Jeff Wilpon

June 27, 2019

Dear Fred and Jeff Wilpon,

 

This open letter has been a long time coming.

 

I am a second-generation Met fan, almost literally since birth. When I was 13 months old, I was in front of a C-Town in Glendale, Queens, NY with my parents in my baby carriage, sitting there as my parents went crazy, watching the ball go through the late Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series on a small TV with a gathering of people. From infancy, I was born to bleed blue and orange.

 

My father was a fan since the team’s inception in 1962. He was hooked from Day 1. When he was 8 years old, my grandfather took him to Shea Stadium during the historic venue’s first year in existence. In a similar vein, I’ve always been blessed that my father took me to a game in the first season of Citi Field during the inaugural season in 2009 and passed down that tradition for me to do, possibly, one day if a new stadium is ever built for your team in my lifetime again.

 

I am blessed that my old man passed down his love of this team to me. It is a connection we always seemed to share.

 

When my father passed in 2013, I promised to keep the tradition of being a Mets fan in my family and make lifelong memories by going to games. The 2015 run was a forever highlight in my life and going to Game 1 of the NLCS will forever be the greatest game I’ve ever been to. It was the first time I ever experienced Citi Field rock that much, and I will never forget it as long as I live.

 

I’ve spent hard earned dollars from working my blue collar job on going to countless ball games, Mets merchandise, and on the MLB At-Bat app, solely to listen to your franchise’s games on the radio. I’ve devoted countless hours watching your games on television and keeping up with the team online. My friend and I even did a short-lived series on YouTube called Angry Mets Guys, which is still one of the most favorite things I’ve ever done.

 

I absolutely love the New York Mets. And that is why writing this letter, as a die-hard fan, is especially hard to write.

 

I’M JUST ABOUT DONE. And for the first time, I’m actually serious.

 

I’ve sat through my father’s countless tales of mishaps over the years involving this franchise, before and during your ownership era. The Midnight Massacre, the “Grant’s Tomb” era, Frank Cashen’s dissection of the 1986 World Series team, the 1993 Met$ team, and the list goes on and on. His frustrated rants about the franchise within our family were legendary. He suffered through every heartbreak the team has went through.

 

I really thought that I would never experience that type of anger with the Mets. Sadly, my glass was shattered in 2008, with the infamous “Willie Randolph getting fired 3AM in the morning on Day 1 of a West Coast road trip” ordeal. Ever since then, it has been one nightmare after the other from what I’ve seen. The Bernie Madoff situation, the seemingly stubbornness to spend money in the #1 media market in the country, the entire Matt Harvey ordeal, “Bobby Bonilla Day” every July 1, and countless other mishaps and drama.

 

In truth, I looked passed it, as I loved the players this organization was producing. The rise of Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, and Michael Conforto were things I looked forward to watching. Being able to listen to Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling during games on SNY and the legend Howie Rose on the radio completely made my day, at times. Even being able to walk around your beautiful ballpark and admire a real home for New York baseball, in my opinion, has been glorious on gorgeous, cool nights. And lastly, Jay Horwitz’s hard work to restore Mets history this season has been just fun. A true bright spot.

 

But this past Sunday into Monday put me into wits end. The absolute handling of the Mickey Callaway/Tim Healey/Jason Vargas issue was downright deplorable. 

 

All that should have been said, from both men, should’ve been simple:  “We made a big mistake, we apologize deeply, and we won’t let it happen again.” THAT’S ALL. Instead, having both men doubling down on the behavior, and then Mr. Callaway’s subsequent and awkward second press conference, has made the situation INFINITY TIMES WORSE. 

 

There is nothing like hearing Trey Wingo and Mike Golic on ESPN Radio making fun of this franchise for the umpteenth time. There is nothing more inspiring than reading tweets from Mike Puma, Anthony DiComo, and countless other Met beat writers blasting the situation. And trust me, it must be a cold day in the deepest parts of Hell when I agree with Mike Francesa when he said the Mets “would screw up a one car funeral procession”. As many of my friends say, it’s the “Same Old Mets”.

 

Situations like this make me realize that the external views of negativity start from within. However, it doesn’t start with Brodie Van Wagenen. It doesn’t start with the players. It doesn’t start with the coaching staff, trainers, or analytics department. Hell, if we’re being honest, it never truly started with any past executives, coaches, or talent.

 

It starts at the top. It starts with YOU TWO.

 

I will not ask you to ever sell the team. I think that is an empty statement that will never happen, although at times, in the heat-of-the-moment, I do wish Major League Baseball would have given you the Frank McCourt treatment and took the team away from you guys once the Madoff situation happened. 

 

I do ask one thing: CHANGE THE TOXIC CULTURE AROUND YOUR FRANCHISE.

 

I’m sick of being a fan of a team that is laughed at nationally by other fans. I’m tired of the negativity and overall inept attitude that comes out on a daily basis every season about this team. I, as a fan, want to know you two, literally and figuratively, give a damn about your loyal fan base.

 

Of course, I know I’m just one man, writing this open letter from my perspective. But I’m one second generation fan of your franchise that would love to one day pass down my fandom to my future children and grandchildren. I’m not the only person in the Metropolitan area that feels this way. And if this downward trend continues, I know I’m not going to be the only one vocalizing my opinion in this fashion, or sadly, just walking away from it all.

 

Please, change the toxic culture and stigma around this team. I really don’t know how much more I can take as a fan. It starts with you two. Invest some goodwill into this team. That’s all I ask.

 

I hope this finds you well. I hope you actually care.

 

Sincerely yours,

Jon Harder

Mets Fan since 1985

 

jon@hardwayhq.com

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