BLOGGER CONFERENCE CALL WITH SANDY ALDERSON.
No, it’s not April 1; on Tuesday, several bloggers were invited to attend a conference call with Sandy Alderson which was held this evening. The current open regime continues to equally stun and mystify me, but I’ll take anything I can get. Some highlights below, although my favorite quote was probably this (in answer to a question regarding fan reaction):
“I haven’t walked around the concourse during a game, so I haven’t seen any fruits & vegetables yet.”
He also stated – but I cannot find the question it was a response to – that he fully expected to be over slot “more than occasionally.”
This call was handled via roll call method, which, quite frankly I prefer to a free-for-all scrum where everyone has to try to ask their question at the same time – that works in real life, but it’s not so efficient for a phone call.
My question was about the proliferation and speed of media in today’s world. I noted that I heard about his reaction regarding the Jayson Werth trade about 30 seconds after he made it in the lobby of the Swan. I asked what his approach to handling both the volume and the speed was, and how he kept it from being a distraction to the team.
“You probably heard my comments before they even reached the lobby, because I made them in a hotel room with a number of reporters. It is possible for the media, particularly in this market, to become a distraction abd a deterrent to actually getting other work done – and I’m finding it out, and have found it out over the last six weeks. But it’s also important that our message be understood, because perception is important – for me to lock myself away for 8-10 hours a day would be the worst thing I could do. With all the platforms that are available, together with all the outlets in a place like New York, it is something that one has to manage.
“One of the things that’s happened to me is dealing with all the beat writers from print media. There are so many that it’s difficult to have a conversation with each one without creating an appearance of favoritism. On the other hand, I’d like to promote access. I’d like to be as accessible as possible because I think it’s important that people hear my point of view, but it has to be managed in a market such as this.”
He closed by saying he was still working on it.
Other comments I felt warranted merit below. (There’s a longer transcript up at Metsblog.)
Jason Fry from Faith & Fear asked what Sandy’s impression of New York fans was before he came here, and if it had changed.
“I think my impressions as an outside observer have been confirmed, largely; passionate fans, loyal, baseball is important to them, i think new york is a baseball town, and I’m really happy about that. That imposes certain obligations and demands, fans are knowledgeable, that keeps us on our toes. That’s a good thing.”
Jason’s colleague Greg Prince asked about the non-tender decisions – whether they were difficult to make given that he hadn’t been with the organization that long.
“The decisions in each case were arrived at a little differently. Sean Green probably hadn’t pitched as well as people wouldve expected, plus there were injury issues – Chris Carter, limited player, not someone who could play center field, not a great defensive player, felt that we could improve ourselves & clear a roster spot. Pedro Feliciano – a free agent, we offered arb, he rejected it, we’re still in that marketplace but considering what he’s going to make, i think that was a relatively easy decision for us.
“There are a lot of qualified people here and also those of us particularly Paul DiPodesta and JP, guys like Roy Smith who were outsiders last year but are insiders this year, had a perspective on these players – I’m not terribly concerned about those decisions & didn’t view them as much more difficult for me.
“The toughest place for us was the rule 5 draft. We relied on a number of people here who I feel are highly qualified, and see how it goes.”
Greg followed up by asking if there was any personal element involved when letting a player go, or if it was all business.”
“No – there’s a personal element to it. I try to maintain a friendly but professional relationship with the players so that there’s no misconception or is not misleading in any way.”
Steve Keane from The Eddie Kranepool Society, a new and welcome face, asked about pitching.
“We are concerned about our pitching, we had a number of conversations last week regarding starting pitchers, some of our discussions were with doctors, as opposed to agents, because some of the starting pitching that has some of the highest upside would be pitchers coming off of injury. Pitchers coming off of injury isn’t just about lower salaries, it’s also about what their upside would be. Just as we did with the catching and the bullpen last week, we want to address some of our needs now, and perhaps be willing to wait on others.
“With respect to pitching, ifIi had my druthers, between now and the end of December we would add some pitching – probably not all of our spots – look into January and February. There will be a market out there late for people who will be attractive and will be better bets for us than players we can sign right now. Waiting isn’t just about money, it’s about ability, and inevitably, in any market, at the end of the day, there’s some people out there who are better.”
He was asked if Paul DiPodesta would continue blogging in his new role, and had to think about it for a minute before saying that he didn’t see any problem, although that we probably wouldn’t want the competition!
And if you read anything at all, read this quote (although I believe that most of my readers are smart enough to know this already):
“I don’t think anything that happened over the last week should surprise anyone, it’s consistent with what I’ve said from the outset. I’m not sure that the majority of Mets fans are disappointed in the direction that we’ve taken. I think most fans are sophisticated and understand the situation we face in the near term, and hopefully are supportive of it. I’m not foolish enough to think that if, when the bell rings, we don’t play well, that people will be tolerant of that – I don’t expect that at all.”
I’m still a little dumbfounded at all of this, but I should get used to it because Alderson made it clear that this would not be the last time we would be speaking with him. He said he felt that it was better for us to hear him present information rather than for us to hear it filtered through a third-party. The transparency, it is shocking, it is astonishing, it is so – NON-MET. But I will enjoy this as long as it lasts.
(And if we could get invited to a press conference so I can get some shots of the GM so I can stop using shots of Mr. Met for these posts, that would be so great.)