New York Mets owner Steve Cohen certainly has made a splash since taking over the Queens club. Most of those ripples are due to the checks he signs, with the occasional bombastic quote to an insatiable New York media. The fact that a lot of what he’s had to say is adversarial to what the rest of MLB’s owners and their wishes to water down and neuter the game is chum for baseball fans.
But when an owner is regularly in front of a microphone, it’s usually because he likes to be in front of a microphone. Buying and running a sports team is always partly a vanity project, if only to prove how rich one is. For the most part, fans would prefer that an owner shut the fuck up, hire good people, and give those people the freedom they need to run the team properly. Fans rarely if ever want to feel like an owner has a heavy hand in personnel decisions and the way a team is built. If you need evidence of that, check out the Dallas Cowboys. The Yankees didn’t regain dynasty status until George Steinbrenner basically got out of the way after his suspension, and when he was the Seinfeld version of himself known as the “Kevin Maas Era.”
But that didn’t stop Cohen from having his own come to Jesus with the press yesterday to try and explain, or deflect from, why the team he owns has been eight different kinds of feces for most of this season. What exactly anyone thought they would get out of Cohen is a mystery. Perhaps the hope was that he would go fire and brimstone and announce Buck Showalter’s and Billy Eppler’s firing and that he would become coach and GM, essentially becoming East Coast Jerry Jones.
But anything short of that was never going to give Mets fans anything, because like any decent owner he is somewhat removed. While certainly everything has to be cleared with Cohen, and he probably sat in on all the meetings for the offseason, it’s not like Cohen trucks out to Syracuse or Binghamton to check out the system and see who should be getting call-ups. It wasn’t Cohen performing Carlos Correa’s medical, nor is he going to have much clue about why Brett Baty hasn’t been able to translate his power from the minors to MLB.
Cohen doesn’t have any answers. He hired other people for that. And Cohen’s stated plan for the Mets was that it wasn’t going to be overnight. They had a whole structure to rebuild. If everyone’s goal is to be the Dodgers, blending ungodly sums of money with a development system that produces piece after piece year after year — that takes time. The Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman and left him to it. Does anyone remember ever hearing from the Dodgers owners?
Whether Eppler is that guy or not we won’t know for some time, but he needs that time. Based on the fact that his leavings in Anaheim have actually turned the Angels into a competent team this season, there are some positive signs.
Cohen calling his own press conference only adds to the pressure that everyone with the Mets is already feeling while providing no solace. Sure, an owner shouldn’t be completely absent, but it never feels like Cohen is ever far from the cameras. Fans want to know an owner is paying attention and cares, and that’s really it. They certainly don’t want to feel like he’s making decisions on the team, or completely absent. Mets fans can be sure that’s where Cohen is, and he can leave the bombast/Steinbrenner act behind.
The more regularly fans see and hear from an owner, the more it’s likely that things aren’t going well.
And now, football in the groin: