Just the other day I was talking to a co-worker who doesn't watch baseball about my favorite managers in baseball. I do a lot of this type of thing in Greensboro. There are a few guys who watch the national pastime, but most folks are way more into college basketball. This doesn't stop me from talking baseball on and on as if people cared, of course. Such is teh life of a transplanted Mets fan in the South.
ANYWAY, I was talking about how my favorite manager of all time is Bobby Valentine. I think he's a genius in the dugout as far as strategy goes. Jon Heyman and I are Valentine disciples. With that being said, Bobby V really did deserve to be fired when he was let go. He had completely lost control of that clubhouse, and even though Keith Hernandez had to apologize for saying so, the team really did quit on Bobby. But Sheve Phillips should have been given the axe simultaneously.
I continued my one-sided conversation about Mets managers with my co-worker (it's kind of like posting to this blogsite now that I think of it), and told him that I really think Willie Randolph has turned out to be a terrific manager. Besides the fact that he handles the media nonsense well, he seems to truly get the respect from his players. You hear very little griping from his players. The occassional bitching you hear from guys like Trachsel or Billy Wagner quickly dissipate. Speaking of Billy Wagner, I think it's phenomonal the way Willie has used Sandman. He's not afraid to bring him in in a tie situation, and didn't feel the need to bring him in Monday night even though it was a "save situation," just for the sake of boosting Wags's stats. Awesome. The game was in hand, Bradford had things under control, and was given the chance to close out the win. Awesome. There should be a lot more of this in baseball if you ask me. The closer is supposedly the best pitcher in the bullpen. Shouldn't he be used for the toughest situations late in games, regardless of the potential for a save. Isn't the stat of team "WIN" the purpose, not player "Save"?
I didn't go into the whole save situation talk (my co-workers eyes would have completely glassed over), but then he asked me about Davey Johnson. Davey Johnson! Wow. My opinion on Davey is that he was a great player's manager - great for a veteran clubhouse because he knows how to keep guys loose (too loose), but he's not much a stratgist. I think even more than Mike Soscia, Davey Johnson is the reason the Mets faltered so poorly in the 1988 playoffs. If it weren't for the resiliance of the amped up players, they might not have won it all in 1986 either. Davey won division championships twice each with the Mets and Reds, and once with the Orioles, but 1986 was the only year he won an LCS (though he did win a divisional series in '97).
Well, Transplanted Ex-Met Manager Davey Johnson is back. The Washington Nationals hired him as a "special consultant" to general manager Jim Bowden. I don't know about you, but this sure sounds like the first step to the replacement of Frank Robinson. Very weird. Are they going to bring back those Rolaids commercials? Or maybe Pro-Activ can sign him up to an endorsement deal?