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Mets Should Hire a Fresh Face to Manage



By Mike Silva ~ November 3rd, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

I have been endorsing Wally Backman as the next Mets manager since the collapse of 2007. This is a guy that recognizes talent, gets more out of less, is an excellent in game strategist, and great motivator. I understand he’s made mistakes in the past, but in a league that has a number of individuals employed that have done just as bad, or worse, it shouldn’t disqualify him.

During Sandy Alderson’s press conference it appeared that he was describing Backman perfectly when talking about who is ideal candidate would be. Yesterday, Adam Rubin threw some cold water on a potential Backman hire during an ESPN chat. Our good friend Steve Keane of the Kranepool Society interviewed Rubin last night on his podcast “Call to the Bullpen.” This is what Rubin had to say when Keane broached the topic of Backman as the next Mets manager:

I will say this much and I will limit it to that. The Mets will interview Wally Backman but I am told he is not a serious candidate as far as someone who’s actually going to materialize as being the manager, and just generally ,and hopefully I will say it more tactfully, or at least as tactfully as I did earlier in the chat.  Just because everything is not disseminated to the public doesn’t mean everything is perfect and I just don’t think that, actually I shouldn’t say I don’t think, I know there are things that happened during the course of a year that just, for whatever reason, makes it that person not the right candidate or it’s not the right time for that to happen. There is no sense in trying to disparage anybody or anything like that. I am just saying it’s not a match and I would be shocked if Wally Backman is the manager.

Even if everything this year were 100% perfect I would say that I am not sure that Wally Backman is the ideal manager for Sandy Alderson anyway. I am aware of what Sandy said about endorsing a fiery manager and that he had Billy Martin, but Wally’s game is predicated on bunting, and that type of game, which is not Sandy’s game. I just think their styles are not compatible. As I said I don’t think that’s a disqualifying reason. I just don’t believe that the Mets will, I mean, I have been told the Mets will not hire him as a manager. I am trusting the people that relay that to me.

I respect Rubin immensely and would trust his information. I do believe the fact that Backman is receiving an interview bodes well. Wally will have his opportunity to address his off the field issues with Alderson, and articulate his management style to the boss. All a candidate can do is ask for an opportunity, which essentially what Backman told me he wanted while in baseball exile in 2008. Wally has his chance and now he must perform.

If the Mets are so deadest against Backman then what? I trust Alderson’s decision making, but does this team really need a retread like Clint Hurdle, Ken Macha, Bob Melvin or, even worse, Don Wakamatsu? I am against Chip Hale because he was part of Jerry Manuel’s failed staff last year, although I would rather them go that route than someone who failed elsewhere. Bring in someone who has yet to manage and give them a chance. Go the route that Frank Cashen did in 1984 with Davey Johnson with a fresh face. Just because that mindset failed with Willie Randolph doesn’t mean it will again.

Talk to Joe McEwing, DeMarlo Hale, Ryne Sandberg, Ken Oberkfell or another up and coming candidate. I have no problem with them interviewing Chip Hale as well. I still believe Backman will do better than any of those candidates, but I am not making the decision. I have to believe there is someone without big league baggage that fits the Alderson criteria.

If not Backman let’s see a fresh face.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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6 Responses to Mets Should Hire a Fresh Face to Manage

  1. Stu B

    Rubin may be right, but he sounds like a politician with all the excess verbiage…

  2. GDHebner

    In terms of fresh faces, some guys I’m intrigued by are Tim Bogar, Joey Cora, Ron Wotus and Tony Beasley. They all possess excellent minor league managing credentials as well as major league coaching experience. Was also interested in Pat Listach but he recently moved from Washington to the Cubs, and Ron Roenicke but he just got the Brewers job.

    I would prefer any of these guys over the Hurdles, Melvins, Machas and Wakamatsus of the world.

  3. Docta Mark

    Mike -

    I’m really get sick of the media acting like Backman is such an unqualified mess when Jeff Wilpon wanted him on standby back in May of this season. The ESPN people have been dismissing Wally the heartbeat after Jerry & Omar went bye-bye. The local media has been fence-sitting as usual.

    The only people who matter now are Sandy the Savior and the Wilpons. If we take what was said last FRI, it appears to even critics like Francesa that a Backman hire is not only palatable but probable given Sandy’s comments, the team’s design and what was called the ‘aesthetics’ of being in New York.

    The hand-wringing will end soon…until then, “Hoist The Colors!”

    Oh yeah, if they hire anyone else I’ll freak out, MRF 11.03

  4. happyjack

    Wally’s game is predicated on winning, not bunting and the only thing that happened this year in Brooklyn that out of character for the Met organization was winning. Winning baseball and a winning attitude. Rubin has been caught in a slanderous fabrication and he keeps dancing around parsing ever one of his own phrases. He should be fired by ESPN, to keep him around is a legal nightmare. In fact if I were Rubin and ESPN I would do everything possible to promote Wally getting the job.

  5. LongTiimeFan

    Chip Hale isn’t viable because he was with the 2010 failed Mets? – I don’t buy that at all.

    In fact, I see being with the 2010 Mets as asset.

    He has leg up on what’s wrong with this team and players, already knows who needs what, and how to implement. He’s already established trusted relationships and the players like him.

    He’s also been a successful minor league manager and major league coach. He’s also everything Alderson wants in a manager including fiery which is his managerial style. Hale is old school baseball man with new age approach. He’s communicative, personable, very intelligent, strongly believes in baseball fundamentals and is very hard worker. He also understands the NY media grind and knows what to expect.

    Meanwhile, Wally has never managed above the AA level, nor coached at the major league one and so is not prepared like Davey Johnson was. Hale is the right choice at the right time whereas Wally needs leadership experience above the AA level. Either make him AAA manger or give him a Mets coaching position. and move Hale into the top spot where he belongs.

  6. happyjack

    Can’t see Aldersen telling the Wilpon’s the answer to the 2010 debacle was on the 3rd base line all last year. They certainly could have made him the interim manager at any time. I suspect they would view such a move as too similar to Jerry replacing Willie. Wally was MLB ready in 2004, has many major leaguers to his credit. I can’t understand what part of the MLB game people think Wally can’t manage now.

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