Mets owner optimistic about 2010 season
Coming off a season he said was ``torture'' for him, New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon is optimistic about the 2010 season.
``(It is difficult) when you have all those injuries and a bad season, and the fans were disappointed - but not anymore than I was because I am probably their biggest fan,'' Wilpon said. ``Now that's last year. It's 2010, it's 70 degrees in Florida and the sun is shining, so I have a great feeling of optimism.''
Wilpon spoke to reporters Saturday during the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.
The Mets' theme this year is staying healthy, and Wilpon believes the Mets can do that because of his confidence in the medical staff and trainers. However, he said his reasons for optimism extend beyond that.
``I think if they stay healthy, they have great players, and now our people have to translate that into a great team, and that's what my optimism is about and what my hope is about,'' Wilpon said.
After an injury-filled, 92-loss season, Mets fans have higher demands this year. Wilpon has them in mind, especially as the organization tries to fill the stands at Citi Field. The team announced Saturday single-game regular-season tickets will go on sale March 7.
Wilpon said it is important to get off to a good start, but the Mets need to sustain that throughout the season.
``I'm always concerned when the fans are hurting the way we are hurting,'' Wilpon said. ``They want to love the Mets. There isn't any doubt there are millions of fans who want to love the Mets, but they don't want to be disappointed. They want to see better production on the field, and I respect that, and it's our responsibility to do that.''
The need to produce likely is putting some pressure on management and coaches, but Wilpon declined to talk about whether any jobs within the organization were on the line, saying, ``Those are things of the future.''
Wilpon also understands fans' disappointment the team didn't make any big free-agent pickups beyond bringing in outfielder Jason Bay, but said he is confident in the decisions that were made in the offseason.
``Our baseball people evaluated, for example, our pitchers (being) as good or better than what was on the market,'' Wilpon said. ``Our baseball people evaluated other positions, and we went by what they did. (Chief Operating Officer and son) Jeff (Wilpon) follows them. Jeff and I don't pick the baseball players. They think the guys we have will prove to be better guys than some of the guys we could have gotten.''
The owner said, ``it wasn't a matter of money,'' and the Mets still have the ability to go after marquee players.
``We have the second or third-highest payroll in all of baseball, so I think that answers that,'' Wilpon said.