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.

Terry’s Dog-Tired 

“I’m tired, boss. Dog tired. Tired of all the heartbreaking losses. Tired of all the media second guessing. Tired of the Wilpons “forgetting” to pay my salary. But mostly, I’m just tired of all the player injuries, day after day.” – Terry Collins to Sandy Alderson (probably)
I’ve been baffled by many of Terry’s managerial decisions over the years and confused by some of his postgame statements. But there was nothing confusing or shocking about the quotes from Terry that came out today. Today it was reported that Terry is tired and considering retirement after next season. Quite frankly, I feel the exact same way. This 2016 team sucked the life out of me. If I feel this way after next season I’m ready to move down to Florida and be Terry’s neighbor. We’ll just bask in the sun, and he can show me how he achieves his glorious tan. I’ll watch spring training baseball, and then when the teams head north I’ll go to the beach everyday and listen to the games on the radio. Combining the beach with the Mets might at least help keep my regular season blood pressure down.

So if Terry leaves who’s up next? Terry said he’s been struggling with all the travel. Considering Dan Warthen struggles to travel from the bench to the pitcher’s mound for the occasional conference, I can’t imagine he steps into the manager’s role.

Wally Backman just left the organization. Perfect timing Wally! The guy was waiting for an opportunity for eight years, decided it wasn’t going to happen, stormed off, and a month later Terry announces he’s running out of gas. Whoops!

Tim Teufel is out. He couldn’t even coach third base this year. Maybe David Wright? Bring back the player/manager? Do they have a DL for managers because I’m not even sure David can sit on the bench without tweaking that back of his. He’d probably have to lie down flat on the bench and watch the action from an iPad or something.

What about Bartolo Colon?!? I’d absolutely be in favor of appointing His Sexiness to the managerial throne as long as his translator is willing to work the extra hours.

Who’s left? Bench coach Dick Scott? I’m not even sure I know what he looks like. Did SNY show him on camera once this year? Apparently he’s number 23. The Mets’ media guide probably just has a photo of Mr. Met on Dick Scott’s page, and they just assigned him Michael Jordan’s number.

I can’t wait until Jeff Wilpon takes over the managerial reins in 2018 and has Noah Syndergaard throw 350 innings.

Rest up Terry. We all need this long winter vacation.