Only the Mets
Only the Mets could have the most powerful display of team unity in MLB this week be overshadowed by a series of blunders.
The day after utilityman Dominic Smith was brought to tears while addressing police brutality in a press conference, the Mets and Marlins stood on the field together for a 42-second moment of silence and then walked off, leaving a Black Lives Matter shirt over home plate.
It was a moving display, but it was surreal to watch because an hour and a half earlier a video had been posted on Twitter of Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen saying MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wanted the clubs to walk off the field at the game’s originally scheduled start time and then come back an hour later to play.
Van Wagenen later released a statement clarifying that it was Mets owner Jeff Wilpon’s idea to reconvene an hour after the protest. But that wasn’t the only newsworthy sound bite from the clip. Even if Van Wagenen was mistaken about whose idea the hour-long protest was, his remark that Manfred “at a leadership level, he doesn’t get it” clearly wasn’t inspired by just the protest idea.
The question on everyone’s mind was how this video managed to get out. Shortly after it was posted, I asked a couple of friends who work in TV if they had any ideas. They said the Zoom meetings that are used to stream these press conferences are really easy to get into, so someone could have shared the info with a friend. The real explanation is even stupider.
The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand spoke with the guy who shared the video, a 20-year-old Mets fan and University of Maryland journalism student named Nick Albicocco. According to Albicocco, finding the incriminating footage didn’t require any borrowed Zoom credentials or hacking. The video was just posted on the Mets’ website.
“I found the video on Mets.com when I went to look for an update on whether they would play tonight,” Albicocco, told the Post. “It was sitting on their homepage for who knows how long. When I heard [Van Wagenen’s comments], I couldn’t believe it.”
(That wasn’t the only digital media foul-up from the Mets on the night, either. Later, the team’s official Twitter account for minor league updates, @MetsFarmReport, tweeted, “FIRE MANFRED.”)
Van Wagenen’s comment about Manfred’s leadership isn’t particularly shocking, given how public opinion of the commissioner has tanked over the past several months. He surely isn’t the only high-ranking MLB employee to bash Manfred in (what he thought were) private conversations.
That’s what makes Mets ownership’s response to the video so puzzling. Rather than standing by their own employee, owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon each issued statements calling Van Wagenen’s comments “disrespectful” and “inexcusable.”
The owners could have simply let Van Wagenen’s apology be the team’s final comment on the matter. There’s no need to throw your own employee under the bus and stand up for the commissioner who everyone hates. Unless, of course, you’re a team who always manages to get everything wrong. At least the players made the right move earlier in the night.
The best of SI
What comes next now that athletes are speaking out even more loudly about injustice? ... NFL players are also using their voices to shed light on injustice. ... Black Yankees prospects are calling on the franchise to speak out about the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Around the sports world
Michael Jordan reportedly helped serve as an intermediary between the NBA players and owners. ... The owner of Real Salt Lake had an exceptionally ignorant response to his players’ refusal to play. ... Legendary Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson died at age 85.
Striking visual from the WNBA players
Every team should do this
The Ravens weren’t messing around with this statement
That’s why we play the game
This drives the point home of why players are protesting
Get outta here with this
Fox Sports reporter Coley Harvey opened up about being stopped by police in Nebraska for driving under the speed limit
Howard Bryant is one of my favorites
The University of Arizona was able to detect coronavirus cases in a dorm by testing the sewage.
I needed this laugh
A good song
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.