Mets’ Managerial Possibilities for 2011

28 Feb 2002 : Manager Bobby Valentine  of the New York mets during the Spring Training game against the St.Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals won 5-2. DIGTAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Eliot Schechter/Getty Images

http://view.picapp.com//JavaScripts/OTIjs.jsWith the inevitable end of Jerry Manuel’s tenure in blue and orange looming down the homestretch of another dreadful Mets season, the question on every fan’s mind is who will be his successor come 2011. There are the obvious and popular “sexy” choices to take reigns, as well as the low profile names who have had success within the organization. Here’s my take on the possible candidates:

Bobby Valentine
The Mets manager from the end of the 1996 season through 2002, Valentine has proved he is capable of bringing rejuvenation to the franchise, but the question is at how high a price it would cost this time around? Bobby V. is a New York guy with a New York attitude and exercises the underdog persona that the Mets fan base can cling to. On paper, the teams he brought to the playoffs in ’99 and 2000 were very ordinary. However, he got the most out of his rosters and put a scrappy, competitive, and excuse-free product on the field. There has been a lot of speculation about how interested the organization is in bringing Valentine back to Queens. We have reason to believe that Mets people were in his ear when he bowed out of the Marlins managerial candidacy earlier in the season. Continue reading “Mets’ Managerial Possibilities for 2011”

Pirates 2 – Mets 1 August 22, 2010

New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana delivers a pitch to the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of their National League MLB baseball game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 7, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

http://view.picapp.com//JavaScripts/OTIjs.jsThe Mets reverted to having no offense and providing no support for Johan Santana today as they failed to finish off the Pirates in a sweep. Santana threw a complete game only giving up two solo homers including one to former Met Lastings Milledge.

The Mets offense only had 6 hits and 3 walks. Jose Reyes and Ike Davis had two hits apiece. The Mets put up one run in the first on a sac fly by Carlos Beltran and it looked like this was going to be a cake walk over the Pirates. Davis singled in the ninth but the Mets couldn’t do anything to move him along. It was odd that Jerry Manuel didn’t pull Davis for Luis Castillo to get a little more speed on the bases. But it didn’t matter as the Mets couldn’t get anything going behind Davis.

The Mets take two of three in Pittsburgh and have an off day tomorrow before facing the Marlins and Astros at home.

Box score

Video: Mets’ Chris Carter on Big Night in Pittsburgh

July 22, 2010 Los Angeles, CA..New York Mets Chris Carter  at bat in action during the Major League Baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium July 22, 2010 in Los Angeles, California..The Dodgers defeat the Mets 2-0.Louis Lopez/CSM.

http://view.picapp.com//JavaScripts/OTIjs.jsIt was good to the see “The Animal” Chris Carter have a big night last night in Pittsburgh hitting in the cleanup spot. He was 2 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBI’s. He reminds me a lot of “Super” Joe McEwing. They’re those guys that you don’t necessarily want to see in the lineup everyday, but when they play they make things happen. And they’re easy to like and root for.

I’ll be shocked if Carter isn’t batting cleanup again tonight after the Mets 7 run outburst last night. Jerry Manuel might have finally found the right mix to score some runs. Too bad it took 122 games into the season to find it.

Here’s some post-game video from Carter last night in Pittsburgh:

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John Fitzgerald on “Playing For Peanuts”, Wally Backman, and the Mets

Manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones Wally Backman gets vocal during a game on July 31, 2010 in Brooklyn, NY (Photo by Jack Shea / Meet The Famous) Photo via Newscom

http://view.picapp.com//JavaScripts/OTIjs.jsWally Backman has become a hot name amongst the fans and the media. As the 2010 Mets ship continues to sink, fans are scrambling looking for something to hold on to. The life raft for some has become the former second baseman of the 1986 club. Wally Backman has been linked as a potential candidate for the 2011 Mets. He is currently at the helm of the Brooklyn Cyclones who are winning and playing exciting baseball.

Wally has not been a stranger to the press, but much about the man is told in anecdote. To get a closer look at Wally, I spoke with John Fitzgerald, the man behind the much talked about  “Playing for Peanuts” series. Before he began his project on the South Georgia Peanuts, John was a production assistant for several motion pictures. He then took on a project in Ireland about the Irish National Baseball team. There he filmed and worked amongst players who were sacrificing for the love of the game. In continuing with this theme, John approached the South Coast Independent League about doing a potential project. They gave him a list of teams that he could potentially cover. Amongst them, John saw a familiar name listed as manager of the Peanuts.

John Fitzgerald grew up a Mets fan in the eighties. In 1983, at six years old, John can remember his father’s typical Met fan jargon “They lost to the Cubs again!”. Nevertheless, the Mets began an upward trend and John can remember people wanting to mimic the Mets’ aggressive brand of baseball. The name on the list of teams and managers was Wally Backman. John took the opportunity to connect these interests. I had the pleasure to talk to John about “Playing for Peanuts”, the Mets, and “Uncle Wally”. Continue reading “John Fitzgerald on “Playing For Peanuts”, Wally Backman, and the Mets”

Omar Minaya Fails Chemistry 101

New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya watches batting practice prior to the game against the Washington Nationals on September 18, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington. (UPI Photo/Mark Goldman) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

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I’ve been silent for almost two weeks because what I have been watching has left me speechless.

I could definitely say I told you so when, before the season started, I predicting this team was not much better than a 4th place team. I also continue to believe that the GM, Omar Minaya,  is the root cause of this teams problems.The Mets inspired play of May and June left me hoping that things were finally going to change. Wrong on that count. Omar’s high priced players are back and with it came the downfall of a lovable team that played above it’s talent level for at least 6 weeks.

 

Why is Omar the root cause of this teams problem?

Any business student could tell you the reason why and they wouldn’t even need to now anything about baseball. Anyone in the military could tell you the same thing. Anytime you have a breakdown in the chain of command your team will know it and respond accordingly. It always gets ugly!The only explanation for a team-wide collapse is that someone just above the manager (cough, cough, ahem… the GM) is cutting the managers feet out from under him by making some decisions that only the manager should be making. A GM should not be making out the lineup card and deciding who plays.

 

When this happens the whole team team chemistry gets screwed up. Players who earned playing time are no longer playing. Players who were leaders are now asked to sit the bench. Playing your butt off no longer earns you playing time, the size of your contract now determines your playing time. There is no incentive to perform.

This bad chemistry keeps breeding and growing turning player against player until even the good players, who play their hearts out, start to screw up. Continue reading “Omar Minaya Fails Chemistry 101”

Who is Wally Backman?

Manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones Wally Backman gets vocal during a game on July 31, 2010 in Brooklyn, NY (Photo by Jack Shea / Meet The Famous) Photo via Newscom

http://view.picapp.com//JavaScripts/OTIjs.jsWith the Mets catching naps while there are runners in scoring position, there isn’t much more to say that hasn’t been said. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to defend any criticism journalists or fans are throwing at the blue and orange. If this continues, as seems expected, there will be a big shakeup necessary.

Although I have enjoyed Jerry Manuel’s ability to deflect and laugh in the face of his utter demise, Met fans are looking for someone to throw a water cooler when they are playing like this. With Wally Backman stirring in the minors and Fred Wilpon’s love for the ’86 team, is there a doubt that this is the inevitable move?

Wally Backman is the current favorite to replace Manuel and he is a stark contrast to the current head of the team. Backman has a history of success in the minors with affiliate clubs of the White Sox and the Diamondbacks. In 2004, Arizona took notice and looked to bring Backman to the big club. However, in November of that year Arizona learned about the baggage that tends to come with the hard nosed types. Wally found himself a target of Bryant Gumbel’s HBO Real Sports. The show took a look at Backman’s DUI arrest in 1999. More unsettling news was soon coming to the surface as reporters began to uncover the truth. In 2000, Backman was arrested due to an altercation in his home. Backman also had financial woes and filed for bankruptcy to avoid over 20 creditors. Continue reading “Who is Wally Backman?”

Mets 8 – Cardinals 2 July 27, 2010

New York Mets' Jeff Francoeur (C) celebrates his two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins with team-mates during the fourth inning of inter-league MLB baseball action at Citi Field in New York June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

http://view.picapp.com//JavaScripts/OTIjs.jsI was at the game last night so I got home too late to work on the game recap. Here’s the box score of the game for you. Big three-run homer from Jeff Francoeur and another nice start from Jon Niese were the stories of the game. Not to mention that the Mets continue their winning ways after home after getting beaten to a pulp on the west coast.

Here’s the post-game audio.

Jon Niese post-game

Jerry Manuel post-game

Carlos Beltran post-game