Davidoff: Alderson enlightened, well-versed - Newsday

Davidoff: Alderson enlightened, well-versed

Sandy Alderson poses for a photo after the Sandy Alderson poses for a photo after the press conference introducing him as the new general manager of the New York Mets. (Oct. 29, 2010) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

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Ken Davidoff Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff.

Davidoff joined Newsday in 2001, covering the Yankees for the better part of four seasons, and was


The Wilpons have hosted so many of these lavish, introductory news conferences that - given the state of the economy - perhaps they should go lighter on real estate and heavier on catering.

This one felt different, though. Much different. Same food and same owners Friday at Citi Field, but dramatically new vibe.

No more throwing a fresh coat of paint on a broken vehicle for the Mets. We try to limit the hyperbole here, but the hiring of Sandy Alderson as general manager represents nothing less than the dawn of a new era.

No more smacking the upsides of your heads, Mets fans. No more proclaiming that you could operate better than these guys.

No more yearning for an ownership change. Well, for a little while, at least.

"Baseball, it's not always the result that best defines the effort," Alderson said. "It's about probabilities. Sometimes it's bad luck. Sometimes there are other things that come into play.

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"But our goal is to constantly improve the probabilities of success to the point where we will have that success on a consistent basis."

Wow. That is the closest thing to poetry you'll ever hear at a ballpark.

Alderson gets it. Fully. He gets New York, as he worked here for many years as a senior executive for Major League Baseball. He gets the Mets; his 1988 Oakland Athletics were set to take on the Mets in that World Series before Mike Scioscia went deep off Dwight Gooden.

He gets the Wilpons. He has known Fred Wilpon for roughly 30 years and Jeff Wilpon for about 10, he said.

Most important, he gets baseball. If you're worried that the Mets hired a 62-year-old man who last worked as a GM in 1997, then you should seek an alternate source of anxiety.

He already has reached out to at least two highly respected baseball people, Padres executive vice president Paul DePodesta and ESPN analyst J.P. Ricciardi, with whom he has worked previously. He knows Mets assistant GM John Ricco, as they worked together at MLB headquarters.

He knows pretty much everyone in the industry. Which is why, as much as Mets ownership came away impressed by finalist Josh Byrnes, an Alderson hiring made too much sense to pass up.

At 62, with a Marines background, he'll easily avoid the public-relations buzzwords that repeatedly have haunted the Mets. He quickly and easily dismissed the red herring that is the term "autonomy" by explaining: "There are some decisions that I get to make, and there are some I can only recommend. That's what I've always known. That's what I expected coming in here. Even in those cases, I would expect that the burden would be on me to demonstrate that that was the right thing."

And as reluctant as the Wilpons are to admit it, he blows up the vibe that existed between the owners and Alderson's predecessors.

"It helps Jeff particularly because he has that kind of professional relationship with someone who has a lot of experience, enabling him to concentrate on other areas, as well, which he might not have been able to concentrate on," Fred Wilpon said, "and allows Saul and I to do the same, and you have to feel the great confidence that this man gives you with his experience and the way he handles things, how thoughtful he is."

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Or, as someone who has worked for the Mets put it, on the condition of anonymity: "I can't imagine Jeff being able to bully this guy."

It might not work out. As Alderson noted, sometimes the process is great and the results not so much.

For a franchise so desperately in need of vision and order, though, this marked a monumental step forward. The best day for Mets fans in a very, very long time.

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