I’m getting a lot of email and reading a lot of blog posts telling me exactly what direction the Mets’ should go with their managerial search, but I’m struggling to muster up much passion on the subject. I already endorsed Tim Bogar. Doesn’t sound like that’s happening.
Here’s the thing: If we accept that 1) A Major League manager’s success has a lot more to do with the talent on his roster than his actual in-game managing and 2) Different leadership styles resonate in different ways with different people, then it’s difficult to eliminate any candidate just based on his past performance.
Bobby Valentine could hardly get out of third place when he managed the Rangers in the late 80s and early 90s, and Joe Torre entered his tenure with the Yankees with a career managerial record of 894-1003. Did they learn something from those stints that helped them in New York? It’s certainly possible. Or maybe they just had better teams and/or players more open to their motivation.
Who knows what the Mets will need for 2011 and beyond? Perhaps they’d respond to the fiery buntsmanship of Wally Backman or the calm prodding of Bob Melvin. Most likely the difference wouldn’t make a difference of more than a win or two in any case, since most Major Leaguers tend to be pretty apt self-motivators, what with making the Major Leagues and all.
What I’m certain of is that associating candidates with former bosses is a blisteringly bad way to evaluate them. So Terry Collins worked for Omar Minaya. So Chip Hale worked for Jerry Manuel. Who cares? George Washington worked for someone named Robert Dinwiddie once. Did the Continental Congress hesitate to name him Commander-in-Chief because they didn’t want “another Dinwiddie guy”?
Also, just because someone has one quality in common with a former Mets manager does not necessarily make him a bad choice to manage the current Mets.
Though it’s not at all surprising, it’s still kind of amazing the way the media and blogosphere work. Like three weeks ago, everyone seemed certain Sandy Alderson was the right choice for the Mets’ GM spot. Now that he’s faced with his first big decisions, all the same people want to doubt him and assume he’s moving in the wrong direction. Huh?
I mean, it strikes me that the best way to determine the best possible manager from the available candidates would be to sit down and talk with them all a bit: See who’s on board with the organizational philosophy and whose personality seems like it would appeal to the players and media.You know, some sort of interview process.
So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t get all huffy about the Mets’ new manager, whoever it may be. I’ll wait until June for that, when I have a much better sense of exactly how he’ll be pissing us off. Until then, I’m going to try out having faith in the Mets’ front office for the first time this millenium, and just sort of assume that Alderson is doing a more thorough vetting of the potential candidates than anyone else will.