Nobody on the Mets has been around Kevin Long longer than Curtis Granderson. Before coming to the Mets organization, Long was hitting coach for the Yankees from 2007-2014 and Granderson was there for four of those seasons from 2010-2013. In total, the two have worked together in a player-coach relationship for seven seasons.
Of all the Mets, Granderson is certainly best qualified to endorse Long for manager. No other Met can say they’ve worked under his tutelage for more than three seasons. The thing is, the Mets know he is a great hitting coach, but managing is a whole different story altogether.
“Managing is a whole different thing,” Granderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that [Long] can’t do it or he can do it, it’s just completely different than something he’s done before.”
“If that were to happen, then obviously he would be up for the challenge,” Grandy continued. “He’s always energetic, he communicates, which I think is the biggest thing a manager needs to have.”
The most important thing for a manager is to be well-respected in the clubhouse. Players must trust the managers’ decisions and execute them to the best of their abilities. A team that chooses when to follow their managers orders and when not to is dysfunctional and will fail. Luckily, Granderson says the Mets clubhouse has plenty of respect for Long.
“And I think part of that comes from the communication,” he said. “Sometimes you are going to hear things you may not want to hear and sometimes you need to take somebody out of their corner to motivate you and give you that confidence. It’s always good to have just that dialogue and conversation instead of wondering what is going on and I think he does a good job.”
The biggest issue with the 50-year-old is that he has little managerial experience, and the little he had was almost two decades ago. He made his managing debut with the Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks in 1997 then led the Spokane Indians to a league title in 1999, winning Co-Manager of the Year. Since then, he has been only a hitting coach.
Kevin Long has been a great hitting coach for a long time. It is unclear whether or not he would remain in that capacity with the Mets if they were to turn him down for manager, but having him in the organization has clearly been a positive overall. After all, in his first year with the team, they went to the World Series.
The Mets need to handle this situation carefully — the last thing they want to happen is to turn him down for manager in a way that leaves them without a hitting coach too.