I just don’t know about Brodie Van Wagenen.
That statement comes off as me being contrary to a whole bunch of people that like him, while keeping up my grumpy Met fan persona. (I mean, it’s not just a persona … but it’s part persona, I admit.) When I say “I just don’t know about Brodie Van Wagenen”, I mean that in the purest of ways. I really don’t know how this is going to pan out (wonderful press conferences aside, because introductory press conferences don’t sway me any more, and they shouldn’t sway you.) I mean, I really have no predispositions on this because there are no predispotions in this case (outside of the realization that I’m going to have to root for somebody named “Brodie”, which seems like our new GM came straight out of an episode of “The Hills”, which I guess is better than looking at Doug Melvin and thinking that I’m about to be on the receiving end of a nice talk about the benefits of oatmeal.)
Jeff Moorad went from agent to CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks and then owned the San Diego Padres, but as a GM Brodie will be much more involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. So we really have no idea how an agent is going to work out as a baseball general manager. Of course, Bob Myers went from agent to GM in the NBA, and he had some insight (courtesy of The Athletic) as to how Van Wagenen can make a seamless transition into this:
“Listening and your curiosity will serve you well, initially. You have to balance leadership with humility, knowing that there’s a big learning curve. But that’s OK. It’s not walking in thinking you’ve got it all figured out. I definitely did not have it all figured out.”
I’d say his Warriors have done okay.
“As an agent, you’re responsible for the players you represent, and there’s a weight to that, too. For me, the shift between trying to make 15 players happy as opposed to going to a game and feeling the weight of a whole fan base or the city, my personality was such that when we lost I thought it was my fault. That’s not necessarily healthy. So finding a way to figure out a rhythm in the job where you do the best you can and try to be as balanced mentally as you can. That was a new thing.”
Brodie doesn’t have to worry about that, as when the Mets lose we all know that it’s Jeff Wilpon’s fault.
Okay, so I still hold some predispositions. But that’s okay, because it’s important in this case, and it will decide the future of Brodie in New York. (I’m just going to keep calling him Brodie because I need to get used to that.) Look, Jeffy is still the higher up in all this and he, along with his father, are the common thread between Brodie, Sandy, Omar, Jimmy D, and all the rest. Brodie will succeed as much as his bosses let him.
Perhaps making this hire was the only way the Wilpons could keep Omar, J.P., and Johnny Ricco aboard. Perhaps having those three around will actually help Brodie, and that this system could work out better than anyone imagined. Though I see any meetings between the four looking like it’s going to end with Brodie telling the other three “why take a chance?”
Maybe the representation of players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Nimmo, Todd Frazier and Robert Gsellman is the angle. Maybe Brodie’s mantra that there are “too many disbelievers and negative thoughts” and trying to give people “hope and optimism that we can win” was the selling point for the Wilpons, who are all about selling “hope and optimism that we can win” without providing the correct action (or any action in some cases) to give the team the best chance to win.
I really don’t know. Nobody really knows what the outcome will be. This could work. This could be Bob Myers all over again (minus Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, of course). Or this could be a huge disaster. But at the very least, having an agent as general manager provides a fresh perspective and a new set of ideas which is sorely needed in the same old, same old land of Flushing. I do know this: If Brodie’s bosses stay out of the way and let him do what he sees fit, he has a better chance to succeed. If it’s business as usual where the C.O.O. thinks he’s the best baseball mind in the room, we’re screwed. It held true with Sandy Alderson, Omar Minaya, Jim Duquette, and Steve Phillips. It holds true now. Remember this in two years when you start calling for “Brodie Van Minimum Wagenen’s” head thinking that another GM change is going to fix eveything. Like this one is supposed to.
But what do I know? Nothing. Honestly.
Today’s Hate List
I linked to Van Wagenen’s interview with Mike Francesa above. Check the whole thing out. You’ll hate it too.