There is about to be a lot of speculation about manager, and I look forward to it.
However, don’t expect to read an endorsement from me about who should or shouldn’t get this job. The selection of a field manager is not an exact science, and so I won’t pretend that is.
The way I see it, and I have heard this from people in baseball, young and old, it is very difficult to determine how a manager and his players will mix, and yet that mix is what ultimately determines their respective success. In the end, people who have hired managers before will tell you, it always comes down to a leap of faith. Why does one manager fail one place but succeed some place else? Why do some managers succeed after managing in the minors, while others do not?
I was quite clear in stating my opinion on why I wanted Alderson as GM, because it’s much easier to determine a person’s management style based on his previous words and transactions, especially if he’s going to be the boss. But, it is damn near impossible for me to predict how a field manager will work with the talent he is given. Technically, he isn’t the boss. The GM is.
This is why the selection of the GM, to me, was significantly more important than manager, because the GM will be building the roster. The GM will have a plan for what the team is going to eventually look like, down the road, and so he – and only he – will have an accurate read on what will be needed from his field general. I mean, maybe a robot in the dugout will work with what’s next? Or, perhaps a lunatic in love with bunting is the best fit? I doubt it in either case, but who knows? I have no idea how Bob Melvin or Wally Backman or Chip Hale will work with Carlos Beltran? Actually, I have no idea if Beltran will even be here. So, anyone who has a definitive, well-researched reason for why one guy should be manager over another is simply making a prediction, because we have no idea how one previous situation impacts the situation they’re about to step in to. And, that’s totally cool. I’m all ears. However, if you read this blog, you know I rarely make predictions.
That said, I’m a baseball fan, and a romantic at that, desperately wanting to have fun again rooting for the Mets. So, for now, ‘The Story of Backman,’ i.e., the 1986 second baseman returning from tough times to lead the Mets back to a Championship, though totally irrational, is appealing to me because of the best-case scenario. Similarly, I love the idea of Hale, a loyal, no-nonsense Marine taking charge. I’d be equally happy for Oberkfell, if he finally got his shot at the big chair.
Of course, this is NOT how the Mets should make their decision. Instead, the Mets should do their due diligence, use as many facts and as much feedback as possible, all based on an overarching philosophy about what the team will eventually be.
Thankfully, it seems the Mets finally have a GM in Alderson who believes in process, ‘high percentage baseball,’ and research and analysis, and so, since he’ll be building the roster, and doing the interviews, and doing whatever work he deems necessary, I expect that whoever he chooses will be the best fit.