Notes: Wilpon talks state of franchise

Notes: Wilpon talks state of franchise

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The ballpark, his salute to Ebbets Field, is under construction. His businesses are profitable. His passion/business, the Mets, is successful. He's working with his son day in and day out. He's tanned and rested (more rested than tanned, truth be told). And the mayor and David Wright take his calls.

It's a good time to be Fred Wilpon, even if the requirements of success include early, daily workouts in his at-home gym, 30-hour days and nine-day weeks.

The Mets attempts to bring Barry Zito and Daisuke Matsuzaka to Shea Stadium were unsuccessful -- they wanted Matsuzaka more than Zito. But the club anticipates 3.8 million others will come to the park this year and that its replacement, Citi Field, will attract millions as well as the 2011 All-Star Game and make millions of dollars.

So it was a happy Mets owner who left the Florida sun for 40 minutes for the shade of dugout roof Saturday to deliver an informal state-of-the-franchise address. And he expects to be happier come October.

No World Series mandate from the still lower-profile New York baseball owner, though a reprise of the 2000 Subway Series would "be good for business" and again illuminate the city. But Wilpon did say, "Our goal obviously is to get into the playoffs this year, and do it the Mets' way. The Mets' way is becoming interesting to a lot of people. We shorten the game. We have a tremendous bullpen, great offense, good defense, speed, youth and veteran players and exciting guys who like to play with each other."

Not that he would turn his back on a World Series title won by fortuitous bounces.

Wilpon, who still feels the sting of O'Malley's departure -- the 50th anniversary of baseball's migration of the Dodgers from Brooklyn's Ebbets Field to Los Angeles is nearly upon us -- acknowledged ownership of a New York franchise is a public trust and vowed to balance that responsibility and the business aspects of ownership.

Ten years ago, when he first had visions of a Ebbets-like rotunda and when Wright was a junior varsity-type, Wilpon said his grandchildren would own the Mets. Nothing has changed in that regard.

It's a good time to be one of them, too.

Spring Training
News and features:
Multimedia:
• Pedro on injury, prognosis:  350K
• Julio Franco at Mets camp:  350K
• Mets Oscars predictions:  350K
• Alou on Mets' lineup:  350K
Spring Training info:
MLB.com coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

Not a void that needs to be filled: The Mets have had one captain -- John Franco -- since Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter wore the hockey-esque "C" in 1989. They had none before Hernandez was chosen to serve solo in that position in 1987. And they won't have one this year.

Willie Randolph, once the co-captain -- with Ron Guidry -- of the Yankees said Saturday he saw no need for a captain.

"I don't think we need that right now," he said. "I like my players -- until I know who they are -- to lead in their own ways. He said the some of the players who might be considered -- presumably Wright -- are too young and that he didn't think it was essential for the more veteran players -- Carlos Delgado, Tom Glavine, Paul Lo Duca -- to have that official designation.

Glavine is the player Randolph thinks the other players would select as a captain. Not part of the discussion about captaincy, Wilpon earlier had described Glavine thusly: "He doesn't have to make an announcement about leadership. But then you see him sitting with a kid who needs to be sat with."

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.