Sandy Alderson, the New York Mets' general manager, announced during a press conference today, June 26, that he will be taking an immediate leave of absence from the team while he is being treated for cancer.
Alderson, who joined the Mets organization in October 2010, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and underwent chemotherapy to treat the disease, reported Sports Illustrated. Five months later, in May 2016, he underwent a surgery to rid himself of the disease that he said was "fantastically successful."
The 70-year-old reportedly fought back tears as he delivered the news at Citi Field ahead of the night's Mets game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Team owner and COO Jeff Wilpon sat next to him as he revealed that he "will not have decision-making authority going forward," according to the New York Daily News.
"I have been undergoing treatment. I expect that the treatment will continue, I expect to have surgery later in the summer. My prognosis is actually good," said Alderson, explaining that the cancer came back in the spring and that his energy levels have been fluctuating since he's been receiving chemotherapy. "So, I think, in the best interest of the Mets, and for my health, this is the right result."He did not make the decision to leave his GM position until this past Sunday, which is when he notified Wilpon.
"If people want to call me, they're welcome to do so," he said. "But at the same time, I don't expect to be involved in day-to-day activity. With respect to the future, I would say two things: one is, notwithstanding the good prognosis, my health is an uncertainty going forward, and secondly, if I were to look at it on the merits, I'm not sure coming back is warranted."
Alderson spent nearly eight seasons with the MLB organization, and under his direction the Mets finished 589-628 and only made it to the World Series once (in 2015), noted the Daily News.
During the press conference, reporters asked Wilpon several times if Alderson would return to the position if he were given a clean bill of health. Not wanting to give an actual answer, he repeatedly said that Alderson's health and time spent with his family are of utmost importance.
However, he also stated his disappointment with how the Mets have been playing lately. "We're in a results business, and at this point, we're well below our expectations," lamented Wilpon.
"None of us writes his or her script. You deal with circumstances as they arise," said Alderson. "I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've had here, all the opportunities I've had in the game, and for whatever opportunities may arise in the future. But this isn't Disney World, and we have to deal with life as it presents itself, and I'm okay with that."
"Everybody in there, either in small part or in big part, is here because of Sandy," said David Wright, the Mets captain and longtime third baseman (who is currently on the disabled list), according to the MLB website.
"Coming into this job, obviously I had heard a lot about Sandy Alderson and the leader he was," said Mets manager Mickey Callaway. "I experienced all those things first-hand, and he lived up to all of those qualities."Prior to joining the Mets, Alderson was an executive with the Oakland A's, the San Diego Padres, and Major League Baseball's Commissioner's Office. He went to Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, and he also served the United States as a Marine.
For the rest of the baseball season, Alderson's duties in the Mets front office will be performed by Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager John Ricco, and Special Assistants to the General Manager J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya.