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The Forgettable Four? Mets Managerial Finalists Inspire…Umm…

It’s been a few months, so I guess I’m ready to pretend the New York Mets still exist. Relevancy? Well, that, as is often the case, is still up for debate. But I can’t deny I bleed blue-and-orange, so as a lifetime fan and decade-long season ticket holder I am keeping a watchful eye on offseason proceedings. Here’s where I am…and it’s a familiar place.

I am excited about one thing. Sandy Alderson. Like almost every other fan, I’ve had no contact with anyone in the Mets front office past or present. However, Alderson’s track record speaks volumes — personally and professionally. Smarts are undoubtedly a prerequiste if someone is going to help turnaround this mess of an organization. He checks off all the boxes on that front. The man also knows how to win as a GM, understands talent and how to grow it and has about as “insider” a perspective as one can have given his long run with Selig. I also respect the discipine and character that is often inherent in an ex-Marine, not to mention Harvard Law School grad.

That’s the good. There always seems to be more bad. Johan Santana will likely not be ready for opening day. Rumors are that the Mets will have little to spend and largely stand pat in terms of trades or acquisitions. Carlos Beltran may very well be back in centerfield. These are not good things. Yet, one can’t fret about all that just yet. On the other hand, there is the whole manager thing.

Today it was announced/reported that the Mets have narrowed the list of “finalists” who will be invited back for a second round to four. They are not marquee names. None has experienced consistent success at the Major League level. Two have never managed a big league club. This is where we are. Or should I rephrase. This is where we are???!!!

Alright, I’m over it. Sort of. Here’s my biggest issue. I’m at a loss for who I even want to get the job. That’s how generally nonplussed I am about the candidates. Since, again, none of us knows nothing, here are my completely arbitrary and uninformed opinions on the final four:

Terry Collins: I’ve read a lot, watched a lot and listened a lot. I am not a Terry Collins fan. Is he a passionate baseball man? Yes, I think that is abundantly clear. Is this a man who exhibits an ability to flourish in the NY market? To me, it looks like he would have trouble merely surviving. The traits of defensiveness, extreme emotion and a lack of flexibility outlined by writers and former players, do not bode well for this team or this city and its fans. I just don’t feel it. Completely unscientific. Gut. Wrong.

Bob Melvin: Melvin is being cast in the same “bucket” with Collins as a vanilla retread. I’m actually warmer toward the idea of Melvin, as opposed to Collins, despite the latter’s slightly better career record. I can’t pinpoint why. He’s a little younger, played in the bigs and has seen some ups and downs — recently, here in the States, in the dugout. I just feel like he has a better chance of connecting with some of the players in this clubhouse. Reckless speculation of course.

Wally Backman: C’mon, it’s Wally! Now, I’m not among the contingent clamoring for Backman’s hire, but I will not be upset if that’s the way it falls. This team undeniably needs a jolt. We know Wally is capable of delivering such kicks in the ass. And, yes, nostalgia is a big part of it. Every time I think about Backman in the dugout my head goes back to “Year to Remember” on VHS and Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys” playing to highlights of #6 and Lenny Dykstra tearing around the bases, hustling their asses off and generally causing mayhem. You want to shake it up? Part of me says go all out. Hire a manager with no big league experience but Mets blood running through him and see what he can do. You may crash and burn. And, in a way, who cares?

Chip Hale: Hale is an intriguing one. I liked him at third base this year. But what the hell does that mean. I liked his aggressive calling? I liked when he was interviewed that he seemed to know what he was talking about? I liked that the players seem to already respect the guy? Yes, yes and yes. And of course none of those things say jack about his MLB managing potential. He’s had a few good years managing in the minors but deciding whether to send guys to the plate does not an MLB manager make. Still, something says to me Chip Hale wouldn’t be the worst move…and could be the best one.

So, where does that leave me? First and foremost, relatively uninspired. I can talk myself into feeling good (if not overly “excited”) about Hale, Melvin or Backman. Each brings something very different to the table, but I could see them succeeding with this team in this city. If Collins is the choice, I’ll say for the record now I don’t like it and will hope to be proven wrong. In the end, I trust Sandy and think he’ll make the best choice. For now, I wait for the next chapter to be written…

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  1. Pingback: Terry Collins has done a tremendous job with the New York Mets | The Legend of Cecilio Guante

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