Like a lot of hedge fund managers, Steve Cohen tends to shun the spotlight. He’s reticent about giving interviews—understandable if you’ve seen his appearance on “Cristina” back in 1992—and, when he is buttonholed by a reporter (or opposing counsel), his public statements come off as weird, awkward, aloof, orotund.
But there are few more high-profile roles than owning a Major League Baseball team in the biggest city in the country; no way to avoid putting yourself out there or to issue your on-field pronouncements exclusively in letters to Point72 clients. So we were eager—given how he spent his first day in the job—to see how Cohen would very publicly and on camera introduce himself to the Flushing faithful, and it gives us no joy as Yankees fans to say that the Big Guy hit it out of the park.
He stated that he both wants to win championships and be an integral part of the community, calling owning the team a ‘civic trust….’
“I’m going to be an owner that builds a team that has continued success,” said Cohen, emphasizing that you build, not buy, championships. “We want to win now, but are also building for the long term….”
The question of how involved Cohen will be was raised. “I played Little League once. That’s about it. I’m gonna let the professionals, Sandy and the people we bring in, run baseball….”
“This is a major market team, and it should have a budget commensurate with that….”
“Essentially, I’m doing it for the fans. I can make millions of people happy, and what an unbelievable opportunity that is. I’m not trying to make money here...It’s really about building something great, building something for the fans, winning….”
“We are going to build out our processes, whether it is analytics, whether it is scouting, whether it is development of our players. I’m not in this to be mediocre; I want something great, and I know the fans want something great….”
“I think these are important questions that America is discussing. Black lives do matter. I think it’s important that we have a diverse set of employees, not just for diversity’s sake, but for diversity of thought.”
He added that players are free to express themselves politically, as long as “between the lines, they give 100%....”
“I promise you we will act like a major market team. Will we act like drunken sailors on the market? No….”
“If I don’t win a World Series in the next 3-5 years - and I’d like to make it sooner - that will be slightly disappointing”
In one of the most memorable moments, Cohen was asked about the other bidders for the teams and whether he has heard from any of them. “Who were the other bidders, I don’t remember?” was his retort.
Steve Cohen picked up his first win as owner of the New York Mets, saying all the right things during his introductory press conference Tuesday….
When Cohen stepped to the mic on Tuesday, he delivered an all-timer of a press conference, leaving fans off their minds, thrilled to see someone say exactly the right things and more.
That Cohen cleared all hurdles was so overt that an executive from a rival team unsolicited texted: “I just watched that whole thing and if I were a Met fan right now I would be dancing in the street….”
Cohen, speaking from his home, did have an unimpressive outset reading bland prepared remarks from a teleprompter. What followed, though, defied a public image of social awkwardness and reticence. Cohen was extemporaneous and excellent in summing up his Mets past as a fan and his vision for a Mets present and future as an owner….
Cohen and Alderson provided a verbal oasis for Met fans after years in the desert. A sense of solid direction, bountiful resources and great hope percolated from Mets ownership. So for the first time in a long time:/
The Mets won the press conference.
Cohen could have simply raised his arms, pulled a George Costanza and exited the room to unanimous approval from the fanbase and everyone else.
Except Cohen and Sandy Alderson, the former general manager turned new team president, spent the next 90 or so minutes launching press conference-winning grand slam after press conference-winning grand slam — blasts that equally confirmed to long-suffering Mets fans this day was their dream come true and served as a warning to other teams that another big-market powerhouse was forming.
As those fawning columns note, given who he was replacing, Cohen didn’t need to offer much beyond the most hopeful of platitudes and not say something like “meaningful games in September” to endear himself. Sure, you can expect a lot of Donkey Sauce splattered across the concourses of Citi Field next year. But he went a bit further, for those who know what to look for.
He hopes to shape the Mets similarly to Point72. He is willing to splurge when necessary, but that the backbone of both companies has to be the development of talent from within. He promised to ask hard questions of his baseball people, hold them to high standards, create a pathway to sustained excellence.
That’s right: There won’t just be fleeces in Flushing, but in Syracuse, Coney Island, Binghamton and Port St. Lucie, too. And if your five-year-old already has a good bead on a ball on a tee, be sure to give Sandy Alderson a call.
Highlights from Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson’s introductory Mets press conference [SB Nation]
Mets’ Steve Cohen wins the press conference: ‘I’m not in this to be mediocre’ [NJ.com]
Mets new owner Steve Cohen said all the right things and it’s the best news for fans [USAToday]
Steve Cohen wows Mets rival while looking like anti-Wilpon: Sherman [N.Y. Post]
Mets Owner Steve Cohen And Sandy Alderson Won The Press Conference—And Are Ready To Win Much More [Forbes]