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Fred Wilpon's inexcusable silence

Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets

Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets addresses the media during spring training at Tradition Field. (Feb. 17, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Tremendous column by my Newsday colleague David Lennon about the Fred Wilpon mess.

I wrote yesterday here that Wilpon and Saul Katz had to be pleased with The New Yorker story, by Jeffrey Toobin, and I stand by that. The New Yorker has great impact in the Wilpons' high-society world. Toobin, in particular, carries a strong brand. For him to cast aspersions upon Irving Picard, even at the price of making Wilpon look like a baseball buffoon, is no small thing.

But I certainly won't dispute that Wilpon made a mess, and he let all of Monday pass _ 24 hours, a full news cycle, sunrise/sunset , 40 tweets - however you measure your time _ without cleaning it up.

Is this really so difficult? My goodness. I've never written a press release or statement in my life, but here, Mets, take it:

"I'd like to wholeheartedly apologize to Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, David Wright and the rest of this 2011 Mets team that I foolishly disparaged during our April 20 loss to the Houston Astros.

We dropped to 5-13 that night, and my frustration reached a boil. I care so much about the team, and that night, in the company of Jeffrey Toobin I recklessly and inarticulately took the club to task. I neglected to remember the old baseball adage that 'It's a marathon, not a sprint,' and the spirited way our players, manager and coaches have performed since that night confirms the truth of that wisdom.

I let the team down. They deserved far better from their leader. I will be addressing them Tuesday in Chicago to personally apologize to them and offer my support.

And from now on, rest assured, I'll think twice before I speak. Unless, of course, we need to try to make Irving Picard look bad again."

OK, so maybe that last sentence was a stretch.

By not falling on his sword yesterday, by not taking accountability for his foolishness, Wilpon comes off as...what? Weak? Out of touch? Mean? Apathetic? Whatever adjective you choose, it couldn't be a good one.

By releasing a statement today, which I have to assume (perhaps misguidedly) will happen, Wilpon will only confirm the worst beliefs about him: that he and his cohorts have a tin ear for public relations. That he is not someone who takes responsibility for his own actions.

That he is tentative to a fault, whether it's taking care of business on something like this or putting Reyes on the disabled list.

I still say that the Upper West Side dinner-party crowd will read this story and conclude, "Maybe he really didn't know about Madoff." But the baseball crowd has followed this story for two days now, and there's only one conclusion to draw: Same old Mets.

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