Fred Wilpon and “the best meeting I’ve ever been a part of”
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Over the past half-decade, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon has made himself exceedingly scarce in public settings. And while Wilpon continues to avoid interview requests on a regular basis, he has become a more visible presence at Mets camp, frequently meeting with manager Terry Collins before and after games.
That manifested itself in a different way early Monday morning, when Wilpon gathered everyone in big league camp for his first closed-door meeting with players in years. One player described the meeting as exceedingly positive and “very, very genuine,” saying Wilpon expressed to the players how badly he wants to win.
“Fred’s always been upbeat,” third baseman David Wright said. “I’d say that the vast majority of conversations that I’ve ever had with Mr. Wilpon have been very upbeat, so nothing different.”
Wilpon, who has not spoken on record in over two years, declined comment on the meeting, brushing past a group of media members with his bodyguard.
Players, however, did not describe Wilpon as angry or even upset, despite six straight losing seasons. To the contrary, they portrayed the 78-year-old owner as cheerful and optimistic; one player went as far as to call Monday’s gathering “the best meeting I’ve ever been a part of.”
“I’d like to think that whenever anybody has the floor, that it gets everybody’s attention,” Wright said. “When you have very few meetings, regardless of what the meetings are about, they mean a little bit more. When you start having meetings for the sake of having meetings, sometimes the message doesn’t quite come through. But when you have limited meetings about baseball, like we have, when somebody speaks, the message I think comes through a little clearer.”
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