Bring me Bobby Valentine… I want him to manage the Mets.
His knowledge of the game, his connection to Mets fans, and the team’s history, and his brand of baseball, is exactly what this franchise needs, for a variety of reasons.
In July, 97 percent of people who voted on MetsBlog.com said they currently have a positive view of Valentine… who, by the way, lost to the Yankees in a World Series… yet, 97 percent of people still like him.
Valentine is a brilliant on-field strategist, which the Mets will need if they are serious about building a team around pitching, top-notch defense, and a hit-and-run, score-from-first-on-a-double type of offense.
He treats all of his players equally, he is notorious for working hard for 27 outs, and he demands that his players do the same. As such, I believe he would bring a more disciplined, more creative, energetic and entertaining brand of baseball to Citi Field, one in which Mets fans have seen from him before and value as much as any other era in team history… despite never winning a Championship.
He explained to reporters on Tuesday that his new contract with ESPN allows him to leave the network at any time to take a job managing in the major leagues… and, according to the New York Post, “Valentine sidestepped a direct question on whether he would be open to returning to the Mets if Manuel is fired.”
The problem is, though Ownership and Omar Minaya like him very much, I think Valentine may be too much for this administration. I sense the team feels his personality and his presence, and his vision, and the stamp with which he’d put on the organization, are more than they are ready to take on right now… which is a shame. From what I can gather, the Mets see Valentine as more of a short-term solution, a Billy Martin-type band-aide, who can come in to change the climate, but who is not someone a franchise can build a sustainable program around.
However, to me, Valentine is exactly the type of person you mold your team around, especially the Mets, as he embodies everything Mets fans are about. Yes, he is quirky, but he is also an underdog with local roots, he played for the Mets, he grew up rooting for them, he played hard, he manages hard, he is organized and different and constantly working to be the smartest person on the field, and, most important, he wants to win, but he also understands that baseball is a game and should be fun – these are all qualities I want the Mets to be.
In fact, I’d like to see Valentine’s approach to baseball being supported by people in the minor-league system, as well, like through his friend, Wally Backman, who would be the ideal candidate to manage their Double-A team.
In other words, “If you are going to play for Valentine and the Mets, you will play smart, old school, exciting National League baseball,” or else go to another team.
Frankly, I believe, if the Mets make no other change this off season, fans would be excited for Opening Day simply knowing Valentine was in the dugout. Instead, however, I see the Mets leaning towards giving Minaya and Manuel one more year together, ‘to finish what they started,’ so to speak, and, if the team falls short again next year, maybe they’ll look to re-shape the franchise the following off season.
The thing is, with so many holes on the roster, in the farm system, and in the stands, why wait for tomorrow when you can get started today.
Bring back Bobby Valentine, before he goes to another team.