Does it seem to you, as it does to me that in many respects the job Sandy Alderson has is about as contentious and uphill as Chris Christie – Governor of New Jersey? No matter your political persuasion – if you have one at all – one has to admit that both men have more than their hands full over the next few years.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not comparing the intricacies and obvious importance of leading a state is to running the New York Mets, although I’m willing to guess that the Governor would probably say that cutting the state budget is almost as tricky as finding a new manager for the Mets. Not to mention, just as controversial.
As a fan in my heart I admit was hinging on the fleeting hope that Alderson and Bobby Valentine would arrive at an agreement. I can already picture the huffs and hisses from fans out there with the opinion that Valentine is so yesterday’s Mets. Well far be it from me to keep any elitist opinion from making it’s way to this article.
Say what you want about Valentine the person but Valentine the baseball strategist is among the best the game has had. I happen to think the best baseball strategist not in the game right now is Valentine and that is a waste of talent. The problem is, Valentine also thinks he’s the best baseball strategist and he’s more than likely to remind those of that.
Some of the great qualities of a leader – vision, experience, an unwavering set of values – tend to be the same qualities that can clash with those around them.
In the end, a leader often times is determined to be the one who wins out when the dust has settled. Sandy Alderson is going to win out and as soon as the managerial candidates accept that – then and only then will the Mets have their manager.
Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not suggesting that Sandy Alderson is seeking an automaton to run the team. First off he’s too secure of an executive to require that type of micromanaged control.
Just like a manager who finds it so necessary to call each and every pitch and relay it from the dugout to his catcher – Sandy Alderson embodies the exact antithesis of that. Nevertheless – he’s still in charge and it will be his vision and his organizational planning that will be implemented over time. Make no mistake.
Whether it’s an organizational focus on bases on balls – translating into higher OBP’s or as Alderson has often stated in his preference of player type – a leadoff hitter with power – it’s going to be Sandy’s way or the highway; as it should be.
I wrote an article early in the season suggesting that Bobby Valentine – perhaps at this point in his career – might want the dual roles of general manager and field manager.
Of course the complexities and responsibilities of both roles would be more than daunting and unlike the NFL where Bill Parcells had a similar role with the New York Jets, a 162 regular season MLB schedule not withstanding the playoffs, is a bit different from 16 regular season NFL games. That doesn’t mean Bobby V wouldn’t be interested though if offered.
His personality however would illicit the same statement that prompted Parcells to leave the New England Patriots, the team he led to the Super Bowl XXXI,
“If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” – Bill Parcells
Sorry Bobby but Sandy has the A&P bonus savings club card and you’re not getting the nifty key chain backup. No Mets manager is.
So where does that leave the New York Mets managerial search? Some fans have clamored for Wally Backman. While his inexperience wouldn’t allow for any control demands – his relative lack of experience seems to be a source of uncertainty for Alderson.
However is major league experience really a harbinger for success in the Big Apple? Go ask Art Howe – whom Alderson admitted in a phone interview with Mike Francesca – was definitely not a good choice to manage in New York. Granted Alderson had no hand in that decision but currently the talk of the town is Terry Collins.
Yes the same Terry Collins who resigned as manager of the Anaheim Angels in 1999 when a revolt led by Mo Vaughn prompted Collins to pull a Sarah Palin and walk away. I’m sorry but I have a big problem with that. A BIG problem.
I’m sure – when he’s announced as the new Met manager – we’ll be told all about his impressive resume, which can be debated. His work as Mets minor league coordinator seems to be the prevalent key to his recent emergence as the potential heir apparent to Jerry Manuel.
However for me – he lost my vote when he decided to resign as leader of the Angels. You don’t walk away like that. One, you never let it get that far – to lose your clubhouse – but you don’t walk away especially with 29 games left in your season. Pathetic.
Raise your hand if you think Jerry Manuel wanted to flip the bird to the New York media press corps and tell Omar, the Wilpons and just about everyone else where to go. Did he? Exactly.
I do have faith in Alderson but like I also said, don’t rush the bronze plaque of him for the Mets Museum just yet. One thing is certain – the vacuum that not having a manager creates is becoming unnecessary. One can be deliberate without becoming deliberating.
Oh and a side note – in 1993 Terry Collins replaced the fired Art Howe in Houston. History – it’s just like what Yogi Berra said, “it’s deja vu all over again”.
I just wanted to express my deepest condolences on the loss of Sandy Alderson’s father, John, who was struck by a car and passed away yesterday. Life is a gift and we must cherish it every day with those we love.