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Thursday, 21 January 2021 17:09

Mets Forced To Fire Another New Hire

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Just when you think things are looking up, you are pulled right back down. We seem to have been down this road before. A year ago, one of my favorite players ever, Carlos Beltran, was hired to be the new Mets manager. Hailed as a smart baseball person, Carlos Beltran jumped on board without any prior managerial experience. Before even getting to spring training, Beltran was fired amidst the exposure of the Houston Astros alleged sign stealing cheating scandal.

New ownership. New philosophy. New ethics. Old-school Marine Sandy Alderson is brought back to take the reigns and steer the team into a new era. A young upstart is brought in to be the team’s general manager after stints with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Arizona Diamondbacks learning under the tutelage of Theo Epstein. And before even getting to his first spring training…fired.

Jared Porter, considered to be a young upstart in the field at 41 years old, with an understanding of the new methods in baseball…like sabermetrics and computer analytics…apparently didn’t have an understanding of baseball’s (and society’s) emergence from the dark ages. I have warned my kids, and the students I taught in college communications classes about posting on the internet, texting, and other forms of communication that are not appropriate and, once out there, can come back to bite you. But even before this modern age of communication, we were supposed to have all learned that “no” meant “no.”

There is a part of me that, from a legal standpoint, and even philosophical standpoint, wants to scream out, “Where is the due process? What about Mr. Porter’s right to due process?” And why…why…did this just come out in 2021 when the alleged incidents of misconduct occurred in 2016 and Mr. Porter took responsibility and apologized in 2017? Mr. Porter was employed by a Major League baseball team all that time. Why now? Was the apology not good enough? Why did it take for him to get to be in the lofty position of General Manager of the New York Mets for it to be suddenly revealed to the public?

I can ask the same question regarding the now Supreme Court Justice Brett Cavanaugh with regard to the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford. When Brett Cavanaugh was nominated by Donald Trump for the United States Supreme Court, there was a great outcry, a public humiliation, and an attempted public lynching of Cavanaugh. I was not quite sure about the nomination of Cavanaugh, I wasn’t educated enough about his competence as a judge. Quite frankly, I question the competency of most judges. (No disrespect to the few judges who have been supportive and acted as mentors to me.) From what I have learned, there were probably more qualified people to be selected.

My problem with the fiasco of the Cavanaugh “proceedings” was the very irony that was involved – that someone who was nominated to be a United States Supreme Court Justice was having his rights violated – the right to due process and the right to a fair trial. Did I believe Christine Blasey Ford? I did not totally believe her accounting of the incident in question. But I believed Brett Cavanaugh even less. That did not prevent me from voicing my opinion that Mr. Cavanaugh – Justice Cavanaugh – had his Constitutional rights violated and was being treated unfairly.

Similarly, with the Jared Porter situation, should I be struck by the fact that his right to due process is violated? Or, should I be appalled that someone who professed to be so on top of modern technology and an understanding of the new era of communications could be so utterly reckless? As the father of a vulnerable young woman, I am disgusted.

Professional sports have always been a hot bed for questionable and promiscuous behaviors. Being out on the road, heading out to get a drink, hanging out in a hotel lobby…just lends itself to situations that lead to trouble. Before the modern age of communication, those behaviors were not well-documented, especially because the local news media, the beat reporters, were pretty much loyal to the players they covered and were quite a bit more discreet and even secretive about the exploits they witnessed.

A man by the name of Tim Smith was born of such circumstances. His father was a professional baseball player and, in fact, for the longest time, he never knew that his biological father was Tug McGraw. Now known as Tim McGraw, he was able to forge a relationship with Tug before he past away. But there are many other stories like that. And other Mets players involved. It was discovered Bartolo Colon had been living a secret life and had not one, but two children with a woman while married to his wife of 21 years. In 2017 it was revealed that Jose Reyes had an eight-year-old child he fathered with a woman outside of his marriage.

For those of us old enough to remember, Cleon Jones was caught in a compromising position with a woman, while he was rehabilitating from an injury in an extended spring training in 1975. Cleon was, of course, married at the time. M. Donald Grant, Chairman of the Board and resident dictator and full-blown nut, paraded a mortified Cleon in front of the media, in front of his WIFE, and forced him to give a public apology for embarrassing the organization. Grant, as he did with everything else, handled the incident poorly in 1975.

And not for nothing, Jeff Wilpon, himself, the son's owner (now prior owner) was accused of a few allegations of sexual misconduct which never seemed to grab hold.

With regard to Mr. Porter, Mets new owner Steve Cohen, acted very swiftly and fired him for his indiscretions…even though his indiscretions occurred almost five years before, well outside the scope of his employment with the Mets, and even though Porter had acknowledged and apologized for the indiscretions. In 2021, Cohen’s handling of the situation was not only appropriate, but was absolutely necessary.

Cohen made it clear, from the very beginning, the standards he was creating, that he required and expected. He is no nonsense. He doesn’t have to take any crap from anyone. He doesn’t have to succumb to any pressure. He is the owner. He makes the rules. It’s like a parent who says, “My house, my rules. I pay to put a roof over your head and food on the table. For as long as you live here, you follow my rules.” And he has Alderson, the old Marine, overseeing everything. No nonsense, strictly by the book.

Sometimes I wonder…What are people thinking? Why don’t people think ahead? On the one hand, why do people not understand boundaries? On the other hand, why does someone not make a complaint until such time that the alleged perpetrator is in a high position? Has anyone else ever sent explicit text messages that were not truly warranted? Were the amount of text messages sent a little excessive? Yup. Should Mr. Porter have realized that the woman wasn’t interested? Hell yeah. We all screw up. He apologized. Four years ago. You have to wonder, does everything I have ever done have to come back to bite me in the ass? Is it fair?

There is no place in baseball, no place in society, for harassment…of any kind. People should know better. Porter should have known better, especially since he is supposed to be an expert in this new age of communication. And the Mets may have gotten it wrong by not executing the vetting process very well. And perhaps Mr. Porter should have alerted the Mets to the situation. But he was probably thinking that he had apologized four years earlier, never heard from the woman again, and thought that it was a long since over non-issue, so what would make him think that he should say something about it? The Mets had no choice but to make a strong statement – there is “zero tolerance.”

Read 1287 times Last modified on Thursday, 21 January 2021 17:30
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Alan Karmin is an award-winning journalist and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent most of his life growing up in the New Jersey suburbs. Alan's family were avid Brooklyn Dodgers fans and when the Dodgers moved west, the Mets became the team to root for. The Mets have always been a true focal point, Alan even wrote a term paper in high school to analyze what was wrong with the Mets. While at the University of Miami, Alan honed his craft covering the, gulp, Yankees during spring trainings in Fort Lauderdale for a local NBC affiliate, as well as the Associated Press and UPI. He broadcasted baseball games for the University of Miami, and spring training games for the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. New York Mets Mania is a forum for Alan to write about his favorite team and for baseball fans to chime in and provide their thoughts and ideas about New York's Amazin' Mets.