Sandy has arrived. As advertised.
His presser was straight-forward, honest — yet, cagey where he had to be — and everything you’d expect. He certainly talks a good one. The new dream has begun. I can think of nothing but good. But I’m also afraid that there’s a missing ingredient, here: patience.
Now the fun starts. Mike Francesa — the self-styled “Sports Pope of New York,” gag — has already proclaimed that Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo “can’t be on the roster in 2011” or else CitiField will be empty. “Unless he wins right away, that place is gonna be a ghost town.” Of course, opinions are like hemmorhoids: every asshole gets one eventually. It’s when the opinionator takes his own as gospel is where the trouble starts.
I’m reminded of none less than Frank Cashen, when he took over a moribund outfit 30 years ago. He said, “It’s gonna happen. May not happen right away, but it’s gonna happen.” He waded in and kowtowed to no one else’s schedule but his own.
Shea Stadium was a ghost town in 1980. It got a little more populated in ’81 (the returns of Kingman and Staub had something to do with that). It got even better in ’82 (George Foster, warts & all, comes on the scene). Built a little higher in ’83 (Tom Seaver comes home, Keith Hernandez comes on board, Kingman is jettisoned). Reaching a crescendo of 90 wins, contention down to the last 2 weeks of the year and an attendance of 1.8 million (phenomenal, in 1984 terms). It stayed that way until the Mets got crappy again.
30 years on, it seems a blink. But there were mistakes (George Bamberger, stupid White Sox!) and it wasn’t perfect and it seemed a lifetime then.
The new guy looks familiar and I’m sure he — and the Wilpons — would trade a “down” attendance year for sustained gate success for the next 10, 15, 20, 30.
Nice tie, Sandy!