Mets Hire Old-Timey Prizefighter Mickey Callaway As Manager

Reports indicate that the Mets have officially hired Mickey Callaway as the 21st manager in franchise history. Mickey Callaway sounds like the name of a light-heavyweight boxer from New Jersey who fought during the 1920s, temporarily retired after breaking his hand before the crash of ’29, and then triumphantly returned to the ring in 1935 taking down a heavy favorite to become a champion who inspired the American public during the Depression era.

In reality Mickey Callaway served as the Cleveland Indians pitching coach from 2013-2017 and was a prized managerial prospect. I’m actually shocked that the Mets came through and made a smart choice. This doesn’t appear to be the Wilpon choice (Manny Acta). It doesn’t represent the easy internal promotion option (Kevin Long).

The Mets actually made a decision that is being lauded by experts across the sport. Color me surprised. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the offseason. First a smart managerial signing that doesn’t have the Wilpon stink all over it. Perhaps we’ll be able to say the same thing about some future free agent signings? Pray.

In my blog last week I talked about my one concern around a potential Callaway hiring:

My only reservation with Callaway is that I assume he’ll represent a change in overall pitching philosophy for the organization. Given that the organizational pitching philosophy was supposedly a strength of our stupid franchise as recently as 6 months ago, I’m not sure if that type of change will sit well with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and the other young pitchers currently in the majors. We’ve already heard Noah Syndergaard complain about the firing of Dan Warthen and basically call the organization out for scapegoating him. I wonder how receptive these guys will be to a totally new voice that directly challenges the way they go about their business. Maybe that’s what they need.

After reading more about the guy, it sounds like he’s well respected and has a great personality. He supposedly has great communication skills and stresses “throwing strikes” which 1) wouldn’t represent a change to the organizational pitching philosophy and 2) isn’t exactly rocket science.

Former players seem to indicate that he’s more of an approachable advisor and not the kind of coach that shoves his ideas down your throat. Here’s some video of the guy speaking about the 2017 Indians.

The bottom line is I’m excited that the Mets are bringing in new blood with fresh ideas, and it makes sense that they’d bring in someone focused on pitching. The Mets are built around pitching. Let’s see if a new voice can help revive Matt Harvey’s career in his final season in Flushing. Maybe he can get something more out of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Maybe his routines and methods will lead to healthier seasons from guys like Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler.

Or maybe Callaway will crash and burn. After all, he has no major league managerial experience. I do like that he has spent time working under Terry Francona. It can’t hurt that he had Tito as a mentor.

The Mets offseason is off to a good start. The Mets are finally moving their Triple-A team out of Vegas to Syracuse. The Mets fired Ray Ramirez. The Yankees aren’t winning the World Series (at least not this year). We hired a popular young coaching candidate in Mickey Callaway. It’s rare that we see one positive headline connected to this team let alone multiple positive stories in a row. Let’s keep the good news coming.

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Manager Update: Kevin Long Vs. The Really Crappy Field


I fully expected the Mets managerial search to be a farce. I assumed it would play out like everything does during the offseason in Flushing. The media will report that the Mets are “expected to speak to” or “interested in” [insert coveted coach] but they won’t land any of those candidates. Instead they’ll hire the first internal candidate to raise his hand and work for nothing. At the moment that’s Kevin Long.

And before I give an update on all the “progress” that has been made in the Mets managerial search, I want to make something clear. I don’t have a problem with Kevin Long as a candidate. He’s a respected hitting coach. He told Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy to hit the ball in the air and ideally out of the stadium, and they both became really good at that. I guess that makes him a genius.

I’m pissed because: 1) It’s bananas that the Mets would consider promoting an internal candidate after the horrendous season they just had. 2) We all assumed before Terry Collins was fired that the Wilpons would probably replace him with a loyal internal candidate. They’d promote a loyal potted plant from the clubhouse before they’d consider an external candidate who might question the way they run things in Flushing.

Anyway, here’s how the Mets managerial search has progressed thus far:

  • The Mets told the mainstream media that they were interested in former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, former Met Robin Ventura, highly coveted Astros bench coach/former Met Alex Cora, and former Mets bench coach Bob Geren.
  • Bob Geren recently said he’s not interviewing until the Dodgers playoff run has concluded, and he originally took the job out west to be near family. It seems unlikely that he’d come back east.
  • Jon Heyman reported Ausmus turned down an interview with the Mets and Ventura has no interest in the job. Double veto.
  • Now sources in Puerto Rico are reporting the most desirable candidate Alex Cora is a “99% chance” lock to be the Red Sox manager. Cora is supposedly meeting the Mets today for a sham interview. Ausmus and Ventura wouldn’t even bother going through the motions for our “highly coveted” job (LOL).

With all those initial candidates dropping out, here is the rumored list of confirmed interviews:

  • Super Joe McEwing apparently doesn’t believe in defensive shifts and possibly evolution and vaccinations (both unconfirmed).
  • Manny Acta has a horrendous 372-518 career managerial record and flopped in stints in Washington and Cleveland. He was also a former coach on Willie Randolph’s Mets staff so he’s basically an internal candidate. Pass.
  • Mickey Callaway is seemingly the only desirable external candidate (other than Cora) coming in for an interview. Mickey is the Indians pitching coach and a respected managerial prospect. My only reservation with Callaway is that I assume he’ll represent a change in overall pitching philosophy for the organization. Given that the organizational pitching philosophy was supposedly a strength of our stupid franchise as recently as 6 months ago, I’m not sure if that type of change will sit well with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and the other young pitchers currently in the majors. We’ve already heard Noah Syndergaard complain about the firing of Dan Warthen and basically call the organization out for scapegoating him. I wonder how receptive these guys will be to a totally new voice that directly challenges the way they go about their business. Maybe that’s what they need.

Just in case you lost track, that leaves Kevin Long as the only candidate to actually interview so far in this “extensive” managerial search. I see the Long promotion as inevitable. That being said, it’s almost pointless to debate the next manager since all managers suck eventually. Joe Girardi won a World Series in 2009 and Yankees fans seemingly don’t like him. Joe Maddon won last year and everyone is complaining about his decision making in the playoffs this year.

These managers are all replaceable. Ten years from now in this age of big data and automatization, one robot baseball manager will be able to do the job of four humans anyway. And even the robot skipper will still screw up challenges and bullpen decisions in big spots and be hated by the fans. As long as the Mets don’t re-hire Ray Ramirez as the next manager I’ll be fine with the decision. Let’s just focus on adding talent to the roster.

The One Where The Yankees Win It All


People have been asking me since late September if I’m excited for the MLB playoffs. I’ve basically been telling everyone the same thing. I ain’t excited for the playoffs because I’ve seen this damn movie before. This is a goddamn re-run. This is the one where the Yankees win it all. I’ve sensed the impending doom for a while now. It’s like when Yoda senses a disturbance in the Force. Last night’s upset victory for the Yanks confirmed that my pessimistic baseball Jedi sense is on point. Dark times are coming for Mets fans.

I have no doubt that God was watching last night’s game on his soft ass sofa with his stupid Derek Jeter jersey on meddling in every way possible. We all know the man upstairs is a die hard Yankees fan. He’s proven that 27 times. Things like that don’t happen by chance. I was hoping he might miss the game because perhaps he’s preoccupied with the impending threat of nuclear war or one of the other horrible things going on in the world right now. Nope. He clearly tuned in.

I honestly should have bet all my money on a Yankees 2017 World Series win when the odds were better. I saw this coming long before the bookies in Vegas had a clue. The warning signs for this run were there all season. We blinked and the Yankees went from “rebuilding” to immediate World Series contenders. MLB decided to usher in the new juiced ball home run era, and the Yankees conveniently called up Babe Ruth reincarnate (Aaron Judge) and one of the best hitting catchers the league has seen in years (Gary Sanchez).

I wrote the following on July 3rd:

If Daniel Murphy winds up hoisting a World Series Championship trophy in a Nationals uniform or Aaron Judge propels the Yankees to a championship in the first year of their stupid rebuild I may lose faith in baseball forever. Those two specific scenarios would wound me so deeply that it’d take years for me to fully recover.

The truth is I should have replaced “if” with “when” because I was having nightmare prophetic visions of Judge hoisting the World Series trophy back then.

The most obvious sign of this inevitable run was when the Yankees played a three game set against the Rays at Citi Field in September and that random Mets fan gave the thumbs down that went viral. The Yankees won that game, adopted that thumbs down as their rally symbol, and basically locked up the World Series all while cuckolding the Mets in Flushing.

I’ve survived the Yankees winning before, and I can do it again. Still, it would be nice if their World Series win happened in a new and exciting way. But we’ve all seen this movie before. I’ve seen the episode where the Yankees take a dump on the mediocre Twins in the first round (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010).

I’ve seen the episode where the Yankees upset the heavily favored Cleveland Indians (1996 ALDS) and go on to win it all. I was sitting around rolling my eyes a week ago as people questioned the decision to start Trevor Bauer in game 1 and Corey Kluber in game 2. They actually debated it like this choice mattered and these games weren’t already predetermined.

The 102 win, 22 game win streak, 2016 AL pennant winning Indians did not show up for this series and the Yankees took advantage. They rocked the future 2017 Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber in both of his ALDS starts. There’s not much else to say about it.

 

The highlight of the series for a loser Mets fan like me was when the Yankees blew game 2 in extra innings and Joe Girardi failed to challenge that stupid controversial foul tip/hit by pitch. I knew it was pointless for me to even get excited about the loss, but it was still entertaining to see Yankees fans lose their shit over one bad managerial decision and an umpire missing a call. They reacted like they had never experienced adversity and a devastating loss before. Uncharted territory for Yankees fans. Par for the course in Flushing.

If you want to know what to expect next here’s a hint. Everyone will pick the Astros to win because they are a better team. But they won’t win. Then it’ll probably be Yankees vs. Dodgers for the whole enchilada. Talk about a historical re-run.

What’s my gameplan now that the Yanks are in the ALCS? Watch the games, keep a precise tally of all the game altering breaks that go in the Yankees favor so I can complain about them to anyone that will listen, and continue to poke my Derek Jeter voodoo doll. Happy October Mets fans!

Mets Finally Give Fans Ramirez’s Head

RamirezWilpon

My earliest memories of watching the Mets start in the mid-90s. I can honestly say that today’s firing of Ray Ramirez is one of the most significant moments for the Mets franchise in my lifetime and that is a depressing reality as a sports fan folks. When you find yourself celebrating the firing of the head athletic trainer of your favorite baseball team in your cube at work like your team just won game 7 of the World Series, you may need to consider finding a new team or sport to spend all of your time watching.

I mean sweet Jesus Christ I’m not even kidding about the Ramirez firing being a franchise history highlight. Off the top of my head and in no particular order I can think of the following notable highlights in my lifetime:

  • The 1998 trade for Mike Piazza.
  • The Robin Ventura 1999 NLCS Grand Single (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • The 2000 Subway World Series (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • The 2001 Piazza post 9/11 home run.
  • The 2006 Endy Chavez NLCS catch (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • The 2015 World Series game I attended where Noah Syndergaard threw at Alcides Escobar (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • Mr. Met flipping off the fans in 2017 (and the demoralizing season to follow).
  • And now the firing of Ray Ramirez (and the demoralizing offseason to follow).

What else is there? I’m actually a little disappointed in the Ramirez firing because the Ray Ramirez Opening Day boo tradition is one of three annual certainties for this franchise: The Ray Ramirez Opening Day boo, the Mets win on Opening Day, and then the demoralizing season to follow. Three certainties. Without the joy that comes from the Ramirez boo all we really have is an Opening Day victory and six months of pure misery.

And we all know that this is being orchestrated by the Wilpons as a distraction. They will do anything to distract the fans and scapegoat their employees. Now the fans will move on to Mike Barwis. Terry Collins is just another scapegoat.

In the span of one week we saw a tell-all article published in the media revealing that the front office and Jeff Wilpon have wanted to fire Terry for years due to his incompetence and the only person saving him has been Fred Wilpon. Then after the public smear job Terry was fake fired. And today the Mets announced Terry will be a special assistant to the GM. Soooo our incompetent manager was promoted to assistant GM. Makes sense.

The Terry Collins fake firing/reassignment is a classic move for teams with inept ownership. It’s the signature move of James Dolan and the Knicks. It just gives fans a new frontman to blame.

Now I see fans and the media actively debating who the next manager will be like it matters.

The Mets need a manager to excite the fans? Who the hell cares about the manager? Joel Sherman in the Post already reported that the Mets are cutting payroll and will be dumpster diving for talent yet again this offseason:

“The payroll is not going up. The expectation is it is going down. One person familiar with the team’s thinking believes it could drop as much as $20 million to, say, the $135 million range.”

If the Mets don’t raise the payroll they might as well name their Gatorade cooler as the next manager. At least an inanimate Gatorade cooler has a championship pedigree given that it’s involved in almost every championship celebration. Coolers also have nerves of steel. Players smash water coolers with baseball bats in a fit of rage almost every season and the cooler is back the next day ready to rock. Terry Collins, Ray Ramirez and the rest of the staff couldn’t even manage to keep Yoenis Cespedes hydrated this season. That’s the job the water cooler was born to do. Then we can have the Mets manage the bullpen based on Twitter polls, and we should be all set. Can’t be any worse than Terry’s bullpen management.

In all seriousness though, I feel like the Mets will just turn over the manager gig to Kevin Long or something. They’ve already announced that Dan Warthen has been fired and that Kevin Long and Glenn Sherlock will return. Who the hell decides the makeup of the MLB staff before actually hiring the new manager? That’s the most ass backwards approach that I’ve ever heard. No matter who we end up hiring, I’m sure the process will conveniently last the entire offseason and prevent Sandy from adding any meaningful free agents.

P.S.

Jacob deGrom got a new haircut. The long locks are gone. I hope you like it because it’s going to be the most significant change to the Mets pitching staff this offseason.

P.P.S.

The Mets went from “five aces” to “worst in team history” in two years. We were in the World Series in 2015 and now we’re picking 6th in the 2018 draft. That is as Mets as it gets. Meanwhile the Yankees play in the Wild Card Game tonight and have Aaron Judge (aka Babe Ruth 2.0) ready to lead them on a deep playoff run. In case you haven’t seen this movie before, it plays out something like this: The Yankees go on to win 3-5 World Series rings over the next 10 years and the next time the Mets make the playoffs 1 in 5 people will own a self driving car.