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Good Morning

The Yankees, Mets, ownership and ineptitude

At the Yankees game, for which I arrived about 30 minutes before first pitch - II know, the suspense was killing you - I wrote about bad Yankees decisions made, by Joe Girardi (not lifting A.J. Burnett in time) and by upper management (calling Derek Jeter on the carpet for his comments on Jorge Posada's sitdown).

Meanwhile, following a Mets loss, the Mets made a series of moves in the wake of David Wright's injury. Ruben Tejada came up to play second base, Justin Turner will play third base and Pedro Beato is back in the bullpen. Nick Evans will be up, too, to get some at-bats. Chin-lung Hu and last night's losing pitcher Ryota Igarashi are out, back to the minors.

The juxtaposition of the two events struck me: Jeter and Posada are Yankees headaches largely because the team's ownership felt compelled to keep - and therefore overpay - these icons.

On the other side of the RFK Bridge, the Mets' ownership is so inept that, ironically, it is letting Sandy Alderson and his baseball people doing their jobs relatively unchecked. The Wilpons and Saul Katz have far bigger fish to fry nowadays than the status of Pedro Beato.

Not that Alderson is going to challenge the Cleveland or Tampa Bay folks for Executive of the Year honors; the Mets came in with too big a hole, and they're experiencing their share of characteristic bad luck. But the Alderson Mets have been decisive and aggressive, a dramatic change from Omar Minaya's administration when Jeff Wilpon had to greenlight items as minuscule as the wording of an in-game injury announcement.

Speaking of decisiveness, we'll see if the Mets can find their minority buyer in a timely manner to pay back their loan to Major League Baseball. While they and Bud Selig express confidence this will happen, others in the loop say the sailing has not been as smooth as advertised. That the bidders are frustrated by the process.

And that, even if the Wilpons and Katz do find someone willing to write a huge check in return for no power, their big-picture, long-term financial woes won't go away. 

The Steinbrenners, on the other hand, appear to be on rock-solid footing financially. Whatever you think of the new Yankee Stadium, it has been a cash cow for the Yankees brand. The sailing is far smoother.

Which gives ownership more time to get involved in baseball operations, and as we discussed yesterday, that hasn't resulted in the best decisions. And while I fully supported the way the Yankees handled things over the weekend with Posada - he deserved to be embarrassed for his actions Saturday, IMO - I thought it was silly to keep it going with Jeter.

I participated in Jeter's interview Sunday, and it was classic Jeter. He defended his pal while making sure not to get in the middle of Posada's spat with upper management. And I do think the timing here is important: Jeter spoke to the media after Posada already had, when Posada made his contrition clear, already had apologized to Joe Girardi and had every intention of doing the same to Brian Cashman.

That sort of took the wind out of the Jeter story. Sure, he could've said something innocuously critical like, "Jorge knows he messed up," or not gotten as specific and said, "Jorge apologized, let's move on." But that's not Jeter. For the Yankees to expect him to behave differently would be like expecting him to hit 40 homers this season. It ain't happening.

So to initiate that conference call yesterday? Not worth it, IMO. I don't know whether Hal Steinbrenner initiated it, but he participated in it, giving it the ownership stamp. On a day when the Yankees should've been fully focused on ending their losing streak.

No, when Hal's brother Hank comes off as the voice of reason - "I don't have a problem with that. They've known each other for a long time" - then it hasn't been a real good day at the office.

 --I'll check in later from The Trop, and for crying out loud, don't forget there's a live chat Thursday at 2:00.

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