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Saturday Sports: Mets Employees Come Forward About Toxic Workplace Culture


And now it's time for sports.


ELLIOTT: An ongoing rivalry between the Dodgers and the Padres is playing out on the baseball field this weekend. Plus, more athletes are claiming a power stake in the world of team ownership. ESPN's Howard Bryant is here to tell us all about it. Hey, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Debbie. How are you?

ELLIOTT: Good. We're all about baseball this week. Let's start with the New York Mets. There's so much excitement around the team right now. They just signed Francisco Lindor to a 10-year, $341 million deal. They have brand-new ownership. Everyone's watching. But now current and former employees are alleging that the Mets organization has a toxic workplace culture. This seems like it could dampen the excitement for the season, no?

BRYANT: Well, it absolutely will. And it depends on how they handle it. I think that when you've got a time that we're in right now, and especially in Major League Baseball, where things are changing - the Boston Red Sox hired their first female coach. You're seeing - we got the first GM - female GM in Kim Ng down in Florida in Miami with the Marlins.

And it all depends on what Mets leadership does. What will Sandy Alderson do with this? When people tell you that, we don't feel comfortable even going to human resources, or that we feel like we're pawns in a toxic environment, then that is absolutely something that you will find out what your leadership is.

And I think that these allegations - especially coming after what had happened with the manager - or the former manager, Mickey Callaway. So we clearly know that the Mets have a culture issue. Whatever is happening over there, we will find out what their leadership is all about. We always say it's not the crime; it's the cover-up. We will see how serious they take these allegations.

ELLIOTT: Now, the Dodgers and the Padres are playing a three-game series this weekend. The Dodgers certainly on a roll this year. How are you looking at that matchup?

BRYANT: I love this. I think this is what it's really all about. We've been waiting for this Padres team. They've gone all-in the last couple of years. They gave $300 million to Manny Machado and another $300-plus million to Fernando Tatis Jr. They went out and they got Blake Snell, who was in the World Series with Tampa last year. The Dodgers, as we know, are the biggest team in the game, and they win the World Series last year. And obviously, it's been a long time since anybody really challenged the Dodgers in California. And so to have these two teams go at it, to have the upstart Padres try to take on the Dodgers, it's phenomenal. Great series this weekend. Amazing game last night. And so this is something we should be looking forward to pretty much all season.

You don't go out and do what the Padres did and spend all that money and go get Yu Darvish as well, who used to pitch for the Dodgers. You don't go out and go after those guys if you're not trying to tell your fans and tell all of baseball that you're here for one reason, and that's to win the World Series. And if you're going to do that, you got to go through the Dodgers.

ELLIOTT: And briefly, let's talk a little crossover here. Retired Yankee Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, is on his way to owning the Minnesota Timberwolves, a basketball team. What's going on with this trend of players buying in?

BRYANT: Well, what you're seeing here is - I guess when you're - when you make as much money as the players make, now they're making their power move. We've been talking about lack of ownership from the players' standpoint over the last several years. And now you're seeing it across the board - of Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat now gets a piece of the Utah Jazz last night. So this is absolutely something to watch as we see the power shift between management and labor.

ELLIOTT: That's ESPN's Howard Bryant. Thanks for joining us.

BRYANT: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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