NEW YORK — After announcing earlier in the week that he would be stepping down as team president as soon as his successor is identified, Sandy Alderson held a press conference at Citi Field on Friday to explain his decision.
“My time is running a little short, professionally,” said Alderson, who turns 75 years old in November. “Family is important. I haven’t been on a summer vacation in 40 years. The fact that I’ve never been to Yosemite and I lived in California for 25 years is somewhat telling. I’m looking for a little different cadence.”
Alderson is not completely leaving the Mets, though. He will be staying on as an advisor to the club’s ownership group and senior leadership team.
“My goal is to power through whatever length of time my tenure is,” Alderson laid out. “It could be six weeks, it could be six months. My goal is to keep powering through, because ultimately last impressions are important. My responsibility is my responsibility. It didn’t end yesterday.”
The search for a new successor will be an important one. The Mets have done a wonderful job of creating a new perception of themselves after years upon years of dysfunction. Alderson said he expects to be part of the process in hiring the new team president, who he hopes can continue this trend of the Mets not embarrassing themselves.
“It’s very important that we have someone come in who’s capable professionally,” he declared. “As I said before, I think we made some real important changes in the way we do business and the culture of our organization.”
Asked what he hoped to achieve when he came back to the Mets — Alderson was the team’s general manager from late-2010 until being diagnosed with cancer in 2018, which caused him to briefly step away before getting hired again in 2020 — Alderson again pointed to ridding the team of its trademark dysfunction.
“I think that what I hoped we would accomplish as an organization is a transformation, if you will, of the perception of the Mets,” he said. “I think that has largely been accomplished. It doesn’t mean that it will be sustained, but I do believe that the image of the Mets today is different than it was roughly two years ago. I think we’re all very proud of that.”
He then delivered arguably the line of the night.
“The Mets are far more respected than they have been in recent years.”
Alderson ended by saying there is no time frame in place for finding a replacement, noting that owner Steve Cohen will want to take his time, though definitely not too long that it lingers into 2023.
“I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t find somebody between now and the beginning of next season,” he snickered. “I’m not irreplaceable by any means.”
Scherzer on schedule
Max Scherzer is still set to come off the injured list on Monday and start the Mets’ game in Milwaukee. An oblique injury has kept him from pitching in the big leagues since Sept. 3, though he pitched 3 2/3 innings in a rehab assignment for the Triple-A Syracuse Mets on Wednesday.
Buck Showalter doesn’t expect anything to get in Scherzer’s way of pitching against the Brewers.
“He’s doing fine,” Showalter asserted. “I can tell by his face as soon as he comes through the door. He’s getting ready for Monday. So far, so good.”
On Thursday night, Pirates’ 6-7 shortstop Oneil Cruz lost the handle of his bat twice while swinging. Both times, the lefty’s swing sent the bat flying over the Mets’ dugout. One of them even soared over the netting and into the crowd.
Showalter had some thoughts on that, which spawned a Seinfeld-ian riff from the manager.
“The key is, when somebody says, ‘Heads up’, never put your head up,” he said. “If you look up, it’s going to hit you right in the face. It should be, ‘Hey! Heads down.’ Right? You see these people look up and the ball hits them right between the eyes. I ain’t looking up.”
He also made sure to tell reporters that he was a sure-handed coach during his days in the minor leagues.
“I’m not trying to field a ball until it stops rolling,” Showalter described. “I never made an error coaching third base because I never tried to field one.”