Last Thursday afternoon Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was caught by a “hot mic.” Unlike Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brenneman, who was caught in a similar predicament the week before and was vilified for uttering an anti-gay slur, Van Wagenen actually wound up looking good for what he said.
Van Wagenen was speaking with an unseen associate in the Citi Field press conference room complaining that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred had requested the Mets and Marlins take the field at 7:10 p.m. and then leave for an hour as a way of acknowledging the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc., and then return to the field to play their scheduled game.
“He just doesn’t get it!” Van Wagenen told his associate, referring to what appeared to Manfred’s lack of understanding about why this game needed to be postponed rather than be played given both the prevailing mood of the public and most of the players, especially popular Met Dominic Smith. The game was called off after the players took the field and stood on the first and third baselines and then walked back to their respective clubhouses.
While there wouldn’t be a game that night, Van Wagenen’s troubles were just beginning. It turned out the idea to delay the game was not Manfred’s but rather that of Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, who was not happy to hear his GM thought it ridiculous.
Wilpon has only himself to blame. Forget the fact it was a harebrained idea. What is really egregious is his failure to communicate his thoughts to Van Wagenen from the outset, which could have saved the organization embarrassment. This has long been par for the course.
Things really got ugly, however, when both Fred and Jeff Wilpon had the Mets media relations department put out separate press releases about this cause celebre. Instead of simply saying there was some miscommunication about the game but everyone in the Mets organization is behind the decision the players made, the Wilpons chose to publicly humiliate Van Wagenen by emphasizing their anger and disappointment in him by name. Perhaps the Wilpons, realizing their time running the Mets is coming to an end, were just blowing off some steam.
Many Mets fans have not been enthralled with Van Wagenen’s free agent signings and his trade for failed closer Edwin Diaz. Knowing Van Wagenen, he’d probably agree things haven’t worked out the way he anticipated.
Nonetheless, on this issue, Van Wagenen was 100 percent right and should be praised for supporting his players, especially since it bothered his tone-deaf bosses.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.
Do you get the feeling the Yankees’ doubleheader sweep of the Mets on Sunday, when the Mets couldn’t hold a five-run lead going into the last frame of the first game, is more reflective of our Flushing heroes than their Friday twi-night doubleheader sweep of the Bronx Bombers?
Life and style
I enjoyed 1989’s “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and its 1991 sequel, “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” as Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves accurately captured two teens from San Dimas, Calif., who had heavy metal musician dreams and spoke with all of the San Fernando Valley mannerisms you would expect. The time travel phone booth was a fun nod to sci-fi films and TV shows of the past.
Unfortunately the just released “Bill & Ted Face the Music” shows that this franchise should have stopped when President George H.W. Bush left office.
The premise here is having our two heroes play middle-aged slackers who have saints for wives. Each has a daughter who idealizes him even though they are failed rock musicians to say the least.
The guys take a trip into the future in a space age egg-shaped pod where they learn they must come up with a song that will unify the world in a few hours or life will cease to exist.
“Face the Music” runs about 90 minutes but it feels padded for most of it as the plot fails to make such sense. The only clever bit is having our heroes use their trusty time machine phone booth to recruit both Jimi Hendirx and Louis Armstrong to join their band in order to save the world.
Speaking of music, “Cousin” Bruce Morrow will return to WABC (770 AM) for the first time since he left in 1974 this coming Saturday evening at 6 p.m. to host the brand-new three-hour “Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Party.”
It will be fun to hear music on the AM dial again as well as those old-school tunes.