Only now that we've hired Sandy Alderson would I even consider bringing Bobby Valentine back. Without Sandy Alderson I wouldn't even have entertained the thought. It's the old "Been there; Done that" syndrome.
I have to laugh somewhat about the clamouring for Valentine's return. In 2003 Mets' fans were calling for his head on a pike. Fans were lining up their cars on Roosevelt Avenue willing to take Bobby to the airport. Mets fans (me included) complained Bobby got too....Too everything! Basically Met fans tired of his act and ego. The downward spiral we found ourselves in 2003 only threw lighter fluid on the flames.
Today we finally find ourselves on the other side of that long dark tunnel; coincidentally it's the era I've been calling Met Year 8 A.D. (After Doubleday). What started when the Mets fired Steve Phillips and Doubleday leaving ended when the Wilpons hired Alderson. Why would we want to revisit those years? Bobby hasn't changed. C'mon....He must have said or done something to tick-off the Marlins most recently. And why haven't the Brewers locked him up yet (although they seem real close, but they seem to be moving very carefully)? What makes Mets fans think this time around would be any different? It's Ponderous. Do we want our own version of "Billy" hirings minus the Angry Water?
But I will take the time out to answer that myself.
Bobby Valentine is an excellent manager and strategist. There are few better; Period. He has the perfect personality and attitude, not to mention intelligence to engage in the harangue that is the give and take with NY media. Don't you think I know all this? Of course he'd be a good manager here. Having Sandy Alderson would serve as the perfect buffer between him and the Wilpons. Wasn't that always the problem bringing him back; the Wilpons? The two parties do not like each other. We know this.
Additionally, I never thought Bobby Valentine could co-exist with Omar Minaya, John Ricco or ANYone the Mets could have brought in as General Manager. Remember among the items of contention between Valentine and Phillips was Valentine's insistence he have a say in personnel matters. Phillips denied him outright, at every request. But Phillips regardless of his libido, was a very smart cookie who was very well equipped to handle Bobby Valentine. Not Omar, or anyone the Mets could have conjured up, would have worked well here with Bobby Valentine's ego. Valentine is too smart and would have run circles around Omar, and as is Bobby's way, Omar would have grown to feel uncomfortably dominated by Jeff on one side and Bobby on the other. Valentine would have chewed-up and spit-out John Ricco. Bobby Valentine would have been hired only to get fired for many reasons three short years later. Think to yourselves fellow Met fans. You know this to be true...Under the old system that is.
Alderson changes all that now. Alderson is/was the only man available today who has the intellect, mental strength and fortitude of character to contend with Bobby Valentine. Alderson is an excellent check to Valentine's strong will. And now I would gladly welcome back Bobby Valentine into the conversation. However, I am still not inclined to lean his way. And it doesn't look like the money is a match either.
Ken Oberkfell and Bob Melvin are complete yawners. Of the two, I'd eliminate Melvin from the list altogether. He's tainted with old regime 'cooties'. He loomed over Jerry Manuel's head like a dark cloud. That's bad karma; don't need it. Kenny Oberfell would be the next to go. Met fans, I ask you sincerely, do you really envision Oberkfell as the new manager? I didn't think so.
Why Lee Mazzilli doesn't intrigue me more, I can't answer. He was THE METS once upon a time. Man! I thought he was going to play with Seaver, Koos, Millan, Milner and...(why do I do that to myself). He has coaching experience and many years sitting next to Joe Torre. He did a remarkable job under horrific circumstances in Baltimore. However I may feel about Lee Mazzilli, who comes my neighborhood, I think there are better candidates available. I don't think Mazzilli's resume fits in with what we need right now.
Clint Hurdle and Terry Collins are very average, un-impactful candidates. There's too much at stake here to hand the controls over to the milkman. The Angels' players darted Terry Collins with a vote of no confidence when he managed there. We don't need to touch that. Clint Hurdle ~ Remember how the Rockies won 1150 games out of their last 25 +/- games of the season to make the 2007 playoffs? After you remember that, forget Clint Hurdle.
Chip Hale has my attention because the players seem real responsive to him. When people have that nature and way about them; a personality that attracts, people usually listen attentively to them. I'd give him an interview.
I'm not saying this is my choice but Tim Teufel would be a logical choice. Teufel had a lot of our new young players in Brooklyn and Binghampton. No one knows these players better than he does, in much the same way Davey Johnson managed many of the prospects of the early 80's and was promoted by Frank Cashen to manage them on the Major League level. Tim Teufel is a logical choice, and you can't disregard what I just said. He's been putting in his dues with this organization for several years now. Like I said though, he's not necessarily my choice. I'd be agreeable to him though.
I'm open to Wally Backman. I like him for all the reasons you do. I wouldn't mind seeing him get the job at all. He'd be a tremendous hit! He'd get a standing ovation on Opening Day; without a doubt! The Wilpons like him and the fans like him. The question is does Sandy Alderson like him? He might.
Backman recently took the Brooklyn Cyclones to the NYPL Championship Round. That, and his experience with the Peanuts is all there is though. Is that enough? I think there's a (again...) Billy Martin motif about him; maybe even John McGraw'ish attribute Met fans are dying to identify with and apply to Wally Backman. I do think he has great instinctual baseball intellect. He knows the game. He knows what works. Little stout guys always make great managers!
And now try this name out and see how it sits with you; John Stearns ~ The Dude! - Yes! - The former fiery Met player, catcher, all*star, former Met coach? He managed last at Harrisburg in the National's system 2 years ago and I think he's currently employed as a scout for the Mariners. John Stearns...Anyone feeling The Dude? He's tough minded and he has that 'catcher gene' going for him. I know John Stearns isn't even on any-body's radar much less Sandy Alderson's. I'm on an island of one with this pick. I get that. But if you're thinking about hiring Lee Mazzilli, John Stearns should be considered also. I'd hire him ahead of many other names.
Joey Cora? Forget Milwaukee. Picture it Met Fans ~ The Little Yankee Killer (think '95); Flushing's Little General leading his troops? Think of the possibilities ~ Close your eyes and imagine it for a moment. I guarantee you he's feisty and has a tremendous Baseball acumen. In the earliest days of his coaching career, Ozzie Guillen, who is a very close friend of his, got his hands on him and made him go to Venezuela to start managing there. He came back with some experience and managed the Mets' Kingsport Team. Joey has been with Ozzie Guillen ever since serving first as his third base coach and currently as his bench coach. As a player he was an all*star selection and has playoff experience with the Chicago White Sox and the Seattle Mariners. As a coach he earned a World Series ring with the ChiSox in 2005. If you're looking for the "Little Guy with a Big Bite" angle, this is your guy. He is smaller than Wally Backman but not as stout. They are both feisty.
My two honorable mentions are Larry Bowa and Tony Pena. Simply, I think they are two good, Baseball lifers. There's something to be said for those kinda guys. Heck, Jack McKeon won a championship didn't he?
Who knows what's going on with Lou Piniella and Joe Torre said he's out of the picture (don't believe it). But I don't want them either.
Don Wakamatsu? I'm lukewarm at best.
Does anyone think Dave Righetti is ready to take a manager's job? ~ Roger Craig anyone?
The fact that John Gibbons acted preemptively with regards to the Mets' available managerial position speaks loud and clear to me. He told us to beat it....And now I want him more. He's such a bitch!
You'd have to examine all the third base coaches and bench coaches around MLB to keep yourself from dealing in retreads. None need apply. The Mets have embarked on a whole new dynamic in their history. Let's continue forward. The old thinking is done.