There is, under no circumstances, a conceivable way that Omar Minaya can hire a small name like Rudy Jaramillo or Joey Cora to take the helm of the New York Mets. He needs the big name, not only the name that fans recognize and would approve of, but also the name that gives the organization the best chance to win. He needs to select the name that has proven himself a winner during intense scrutiny under baseball's brightest lights.
Truthfully, that name is Bobby Valentine.
You can mention all that went wrong during his final years in Queens, from him acting out a player batting while under the influence to accusations that he was trying to get fired. Add that to an underachieving 75-86, last-place finish and it was time for him to go at the time. Those are all valid points, but none valid enough.
The true story here is how he won 1003 games as the field general of the Mets and directed the team to playoff births in back-to-back seasons (1999 & 2000) for the first time in franchise history. The true story is that he sits as the second most victorious manager in club history, fifty-nine wins short of Davey Johnson's 595.
|“||[Omar] needs to select the name that has proven himself a winner during intense scrutiny under baseball's brightest lights. Truthfully, that name is Bobby Valentine.”|
Most of all, Bobby proved he could win in New York and handle the media, even if the media couldn't handle him and strongly disliked his personality. He was honest and fiery, offering this opinion on the Mets woeful play toward the end of his tenure:
"It's killing me. What do you want to do, test my blood pressure or something? It's killing me. It's killing my folks. It's killing my family. It's killing my dogs. This is terrible. Fans are upset. I can understand that."
Mets.com's latest fan poll asks the question of who Minaya should pursue as the next leader of the Mets. As of 10:45PM Eastern last night, of those 13554 people who weighed in, an overwhelming 54% selected Valentine.
Now I'll be first to admit that one of the keys to turning this organization around and lifting it back to respectability is not always considering what the fans are interested in. Go look at when Steve Phillips brought in a collection of Cedeno, Alomar, Burnitz, Vaughn, etc. Everyone loved those moves, but it just doesn't always happen as expected.
However, the fans are accurate with this situation. Valentine is the man who should be highlighted on all the lists and pinned at the top of the bulletin boards up in the offices on 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue.
Several current Mets, including Cliff Floyd, Tom Glavine, and Mike Stanton, have been very public in the past, stating that if Valentine was still managing the team that the chances of them signing were slim. Their opinions, after their performances over the past few seasons, shouldn't mean much.
Soon after his firing, Valentine fired back saying he thought all were asked to shoot down the former New York manager on purpose.
"It looked very orchestrated to me, because I don't think that people who don't know me would say something like that," Valentine said to the New York Daily News in January of 2002. "Tom Glavine has met me once, and I respect him too much to think that he would think that without ever meeting me. I wouldn't respect him very much ever again if he could make a decision without ever meeting someone."
If the hiring of Valentine meant the departure of those three, it certainly might be a blessing in disguise.
"I think the world of Bobby," Minaya said at his introductory press conference last week. "I have a good relationship with Bobby. Me and him were together in Texas. If he would be available, I would consider it."
He's available and Omar needs to call him. Bobby's quite familiar on how to get to Shea.
And to the playoffs too.
You can reach Christopher Guy at CGGuy86@Yahoo.com