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METS AND A FOUR-BYLINE SALE

By Murray Chass

December 7, 2019

Fred Wilpon has been an owner or the owner of the New York Mets for 40 years, and now he is selling the team. It’s a baseball story and despite it being baseball, The New York Times had to publish it. The Times, many readers of this website have complained, has abandoned baseball coverage. But this development the Times couldn’t ignore. What the newspaper did, though, was publish the worst article about a major baseball development in 50 years.

Appearing under the bylines of four – count ‘em four; one used to suffice – reporters, the article was more a biography of the prospective purchaser, Steve Cohen, a hedge-fund billionaire, than it was a report of the sale of the Mets.

It could be speculated that the article might have been more thorough and more authentic had one of the four reporters been the Times’ national baseball writer, Tyler Kepner, but his byline appeared on an “On Baseball” piece about piece about free agency. That article, of course, could have been written the next day or two days later, but an editor or Kepner himself must have decided not to have Kepner work on the Mets’ sale because that was a news story and Kepner is apparently allergic to news.

I have no problem with the Times telling readers who Cohen is, how he made his billions, how he built his multi-million dollar art collection and how his hedge-fund firm pleaded guilty to insider trading and agreed to a $1.8 million payment. All of that is appropriate in the article.

Nowhere in the 1,250-word article, however, is found an explanation for why Wilpon is selling the Mets. For years Wilpon has pledged his eternal loyalty and blessing to his son, Jeff, the Mets’ chief operating officer. Why has he now abandoned that idea?

Did any of the Times’ four reporters ask or at least try to ask either Wilpon why that plan has been abandoned?

Did the elder Wilpon …

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MANFRED STILL SKIDS; WOMEN RISE, SORT OF

By Murray Chass

December 1, 2019

Just a week ago I determined that Commissioner Rob Manfred’s off-season minority-hiring batting average was .091. Days later the Pittsburgh Pirates hired Derek Shelton as their manager and Manfred slumped to .083.

With all major positions filled – manager, general manager, chief of baseball operations, club president – teams have hired 11 white men and a single minority, making Manfred 1-for-12 in minority hiring this off-season. The one-sided results of the off-season hiring have made a farce of any pledge or boast that Manfred made when he became commissioner six weeks short of five years ago.

What we have seen in the past few months has to make us wonder if Manfred understands what a minority is. Carlos Beltran, whom the New York Mets hired as their new manager, is a Puerto Rican, therefore a minority.

The Pirates’ club president, Travis Williams; Boston baseball operations chief Chaim Bloom, general managers Ben Cherington (Pirates) and Scott Harris (Giants) and Managers Joe Girardi (Phillies), Gabe Kapler (Giants), Joe Maddon (Angels), David Ross (Cubs), Mike Matheny (Royals), Jayce Tingler (Padres) and Shelton (Pirates) do not qualify as minorities.

Teams in at least some instances followed M.L.B. guidelines and …

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MANFRED HITTING .091

By Murray Chass

November 24, 2019

Once upon a time, the commissioner of Major League Baseball emphasized the importance of diversity hiring. If this sounds like the start of a fairy tale, it is. Rob Manfred’s pledge of diversity hiring has turned out to be a fairy tale.

Heading toward the 2020 season, clubs have hired seven managers, one chief of baseball operations, two general managers and one club president.

Only one of the 11 men (no women, of course) is a member of a minority, Carlos Beltran, the New York Mets’ new manager. Blacks need not apply.

One managerial position, in Pittsburgh, remains open. Of the other seven managerial vacancies, six have been filled by white men, and white men also have assumed the four front-office positions. Is this any way to run a diversity program?

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