The Mets began their managerial search a few weeks ago with a list in excess of 35 candidates that "fit into a variety of different categories," GM Sandy Alderson said on Monday at Citi Field before introducing Mickey Callaway as the 21st manager in team history.
Alderson said the list was whittled down to six candidates who interviewed. The team planned on having a second round of interviews, but "decided there was really only one man for the job," Alderson added.
"More emotionally, all of us in that meeting came out excited about the possibility that Mickey would be our manager," Alderson said. "That's a visceral reaction" that set everything in motion.
Stressing their desire for a leader who had "professional competence" and "personal excellence," Alderson said Callaway accepted the job after a three-hour lunch with Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
Callaway, who was the pitching coach for the Indians from 2013 to 2017, talked about his interview with Alderson, noting "it became clear that we were on the same page and that we wanted the same thing."
Alderson chuckled while suggesting that the Mets had to convince Callaway to come to the Mets, but Callaway said he called his wife and daughters immediately after his interview, was excited, and didn't need to be sold on the job.
"I am excited to be the 21st manager of the New York Mets," Callaway said. "What a great history this organiztion has."
On a personal note, Callaway said he is named after Mickey Mantle, while his brother is named after Casey Stengel -- the first manager in Mets history.
Callaway said he'll start reaching out to the players Monday night and that a couple -- including David Wright -- have already reached out to him. Wright will be someone he leans on to help the process along, Callaway added.
On how he'll deal with the clubhouse and team culture, Callaway stressed a few things.
"We're going to care more about the players than anyone ever has before. This is going to be a group that feels that every day we come to the clubhouse. ... We're going to value their dedication to the culture we're trying to build. ... We will also ask them to do more than ever before."
Callaway added that the Mets' "pitching is something that can be some of the greatest on the planet" and that he sees "a team that can contend and compete with anybody."
Regarding Callaway's coaching staff, Alderson said the team will begin putting together a list of pitching coach candidates in the coming days, with Callaway having input.
"Mickey will be focused entirely on the 25-man roster," Alderson said, "so the pitching coach will be very important."
The three-year contract Callaway signed has a team option for 2021, reports Mike Puma of the NY Post.