In the midst of this Johan Santana nonsense, it has become clear that the New York Mets are the NBC of baseball.
Let me explain.
Whether it was getting rid of Jane Pauley for Deborah Norville, choosing Jay Leno over David Letterman for some reason, the whole Leno/Conan O’Brien thing or the more current Ann Curry “Today Show” firing, NBC historically just doesn’t handle personnel issues very well.
(As an aside, when I was at WABC-TV, we had a longtime former WNBC guy take over our newsroom for a short time. He was a good man, but his glaring weakness was in the way he handled personnel changes. Something is clearly in the water at 30 Rock).
So the ground water in Flushing has to be tainted by all of the chemicals those auto body shops across the street are using. How else to explain the similar poor fashion in which the Mets deal with their players?
The shameful way they handled Cleon Jones and insulting and trading Tom Seaver are black marks on the franchise that will not go away. But the Mets continue to add to the legacy — the Carlos Beltran surgery confusion, not making an offer to Jose Reyes, bad-mouthing R.A. Dickey on his way out the door, and now this Johan Santana controversy.
To recap: Sandy Alderson said Santana did not report to camp in “pitching shape.” The next day Santana threw a surprise bullpen session, then refused to say more than a couple of words to the media, with which Johan Santana is also angry because of the way the story was reported.
The team has since put decisions about Santana’s pitching schedule in the lefty’s own hands, and now we learn that the team and Santana are hardly speaking at all.
“Let’s put it this way,” a team official told the Daily News. “This wouldn’t be the time to approach him about helping with any team functions.”
The Mets clearly don’t learn from their past mistakes. As another Mets official said, “This is Carlos Beltran all over again.”
It is mind-boggling that even as the decision makers change, the tune remains the same — the Mets just can’t seem to treat their players with the respect that they deserve.
As I’ve said in the past, it is becoming harder and harder to be a Mets fan. But in the end, we stay true and put up with it because we just love this team. It would be nice if the franchise returned the love every once in a while, at least.