Forget Jeremy Maclin Eagles Holdout, for a Real Mess, Check Out the Mets'

chris baldwinContributor IJuly 30, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 1: Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during minicamp practice at the NovaCare Complex on May 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Worrying that Jeremy Maclin isn't in Eagles camp is akin to being the mom who goes ballistic if her kids splash in a puddle or the police officer who frets over jaywalking.


It's pointless, a waste of time and distracting from what's truly important.


The sports world has given us a great example of true organizational ineptitude this week: The New York Mets managing to turn what should have been a rather routine, boring press conference on the firing of a VP into a mega farce that will eventually cost general manager Omar Minaya his job. Not having Maclin in camp by this weekend, next weekend—or next month for that matter doesn't come close.


Despite the hullabaloo over the Philadelphia Eagles finally drafting an offensive skill player in the first round, the truth is that Maclin never had much of a chance of making a huge impact this season.


Rookie wide receivers are seldom game changers. DeSean Jackson is more the exception than the rule and expecting the Eagles to have hit twice in a row on early impact wideouts is stretching it. Probably more than Maclin will end up stretching the field in '09.


Calvin Johnson—he No. 2 pick in the entire 2007 draft and a consensus scout-drooled-over physical freak—went to the Detroit Lions, arguably the worst franchise in the history of professional sports (with apologies to the LA Clippers). Johnson had more opportunity his first year than Brad Pitt at the Playboy Mansion.


And he still managed only 48 catches and four touchdowns.


Did you really expect Maclin—the No. 19 pick in this year's draft—to even approach those numbers? Even if Maclin showed up to training camp two weeks early or helped Andy Reid go on that Lloyd from Entourage diet that has the Eagles coach 80 pounds lighter, Maclin still wouldn't have been more than an occasional deep threat this season.


Now, the focus on Maclin being the only Eagle not in camp threatens to obscure real issues for a team that needed several minor miracles to make the playoffs last season. Chief among those are the loss of the franchise’s two most important defensive voices with the recent cancer death of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and the free agent departure of Brian Dawkins.


Whether Donovan McNabb can stay healthy through the whole season as he turns 33 is another. One that becomes more critical with every lame training camp duck tossed by bust-in-the-making Kevin Kolb.


Instead of concentrating on this, on anything important, there is more talk about the missing Maclin though.


This is one of those made-up training camp crises spurred on by people with too much time on their hands (sports writers at the start of a long, long season) and people with clear agendas (Eagles coach Andy Reid).


Sure, Reid is talking tough about how far behind Maclin is going to fall. That's in the Eagles' best negotiating interests. Why not put a little pressure on the kid and see if he signs for less before the market for receivers in this draft is set?


This is not going to affect the Eagles once the games count though. For something beyond a pretend crisis, you have to go a little further north to another sport.


Mets show Eagles what a real problem is


As crazy and absurd as things get around the Mets—and GM Omar Minaya charging that New York Daily News beat writer Adam Rubin has a conflict of interest in the middle of what should have been a quick, headline-light press conference is certainly up there on the loony scale—one thing remains constant.


Whenever there's a Mets mess, the Wilpons hide.


This is an ownership family that largely controls its own TV network and yet, they still cannot get their message out. Where was Jeff Wilpon as Omar Minaya blew up that press conference?


If any time screamed for strong ownership, it's now after the needed firing of vice president of player personnel Tony Bernazard spun far out of the Mets control.


No matter whether you believe Minaya when he says that Rubin lobbied for a job in the Mets front office or Rubin when he says that he merely innocently asked what it takes to get any baseball job, it's clear this is an age when lines are blurring between reporters and teams.


That is a legitimate discussion. But it's obscured by the Mets complete bungling of the situation.


The Yankees do mystique and aura. The Mets do strange and stupid.


Because they’re owned by the Wilpons. Is it any wonder that Bernie Madoff managed to con this family? With the Wilpons, he's just one in a long line.


You can put Minaya in that group too. For Minaya clearly showed he's incapable of leading a major organization with the way he reacted to the stress of firing a friend. Even if everything Minaya coldly insinuated about Rubin is true, there's no reason to broach it while firing a guy who screamed himself out of a job.


And if a Wilpon told Minaya to do it, he needed to say no.


This isn't lying about not needing or wanting Manny Ramirez. This is directly attacking an average guy’s ability to do his job. At the very least, Minaya effectively kicked a reporter off the Mets’ beat who broke stories that embarrassed the team.


In an era where Minneapolis Star Tribune beat writer Chris Snow went from covering the Minnesota Wild to joining the team’s front office, questions about reporters making a play for employment are legit.


But as usual, the Mets handled it all wrong. You don’t martyr yourself for Tony Bernazard, the shirtless lunatic.


Unless you’re led by those spooked Wilpons.


This is what a real mess looks like. Maclin and the Eagles aren't even close to that—no matter how far apart they stay at the bargaining table.


You don't lose sleep over a bit piece. And that's all Jeremy Maclin will likely be in his rookie year.