But a few sentences later I grew concerned when he said that ticket sales had to be taken into consideration in picking a manager. Why, because Mets fans are feverish over Backman, it's as if someone piped in the 1986 WildBoys video (source You Tube) into their SNY feeds with the subliminal message; IF HE'S THE MANAGER WE WILL WIN IT ALL.
Many fans act as if he's the only fiery type of manager available and that he's won everywhere he's gone despite never managing above AA. They are willing to dismiss his well documented incidents because they feel he's such a great manager and most believe it's been nine years since there was any trouble.
It's true Backman has kept his nose clean for one short season in Brooklyn and got them to the finals, but that was also with a carrot dangled in front of him. The year before he was let go by an independent league team, midway through the season for under preforming. The year before with the Peanuts, I'm sorry that tirade in front of young entry level kids was ridiculous (source Yahoo) and he quit in protest in August because two of his players tested positive and he questioned the testing process. The same year he won with the White Sox as AA manager he was let go, reportedly for under mining Jerry Manuel. But all anyone wants to remember is that he omitted incidents from 2001 in a 2004 interview.
Outside of being an 86er, which by the way so was Hojo and we've seen how that worked out, I just don't see why he's leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else in Mets fans eyes. There are definitely other candidates with equal or better resumes, he's not the only manager with a fiery personality and I don't see how you can dismiss all his incidents.
It's as if some ( a large number) Mets fans are blinded by this concept package of Backman, that's he's the only one who could successfully manage this team and they've closed their minds to anyone else. I thought I made a good case for Chip Hale and Matt at Metsblog even ran a link to it but I still hear fans saying who is he, what has he done, he's not the personality we need, we need a clean break and he didn't impress me his first year here.
Mets fans Hale is basically Backman without the issues, winning experience at a higher level and with direct knowledge along with a positive working relationships with the players on the major league level. Since so many fans still say they have no idea about Hale and/or aren't impressed by him I thought that maybe enough about him wasn't out there. Even if he doesn't become the next Mets manager he shouldn't be so easily dismiss as he currently is....
Since Backman seems to be many fans gold standard let me quickly compare their resumes;
Backman won his first league championship in 1999 in the independent league, in 2002 he won a AA league championship with the White Sox, 2003 with that same team lost in the finals, 2004 with Arizona's advanced A team he lost in the finals but won minor league manager of the year, 2007 with the Peanuts in the independent league he lost in the finals and this past season he lost in the finals in short season advanced A. source Bio Here.
Chip Hale in 2000 lead Missoula in rookie ball to league best record, then 2001 took that same team to the finals where he lost, but was honored by both by the Pioneer league and Baseball America as the Rookie league manager of the year. Second half of 2001 his rookie team won the Northern Division's second half championship. 2002 El Paso AA team had the league best record. In 2006 he won the triple crown with the D-Backs AAA affiliate; Manager of the year, Minor league team of the year and league champions. The next year he became the D-Backs third base coach and during his three years experience the 2007 team making it to the NLCS. He's been a finalist for the Arizona, Seattle and Washington managerial position. Last year he came to us as a 3rd base coach when many were surprised that he didn't become the D-Backs manager but at the time that club was completely unraveling. Source two bios Here and Here. Here's a Baseball America article with quotes from A.J. Hinch on Hale after winning the rare minor league triple crown ( Minor league team of the year, Manger of the year and PCL Champions).
"Chip and his staff did an exceptional job to keep that club grinding along while making everyone on that roster better players. This team never gave up—with everything they accomplished, they also led the PCL in come-from-behind wins, and that's no accident." source BA
Now one of the biggest points of contention is that Mets fans weren't impressed by him as the 3rd base coach and that he's part of the old system. First of all, how often are first year coaches working with a lame duck GM, manager and the manager's best friend/coach ( Shines) able to distinguish themselves. Most of the time the rule on third base coaches is the less they are talked about the better, we talked about Shines for all of 2009, why; because of all his bone headed decisions. It would have been inappropriate for Hale to have attempted to establish himself in that clubhouse, he's wasn't by design Joe Torre's bad guy as Larry Bowa was.
This season, Hale has drawn virtually no attention, which, fairly or not, is the ultimate measure of success for a third-base coach. source Nj.comBut every report out of the organization was that they were happy with his performance from the players to upper management. In case you missed it, MUST READ by Zoe of Pick Me Up Some Mets on the preparation Hale made before each game.
Hale was in charge of the infielders and base running, I thought the base running was markedly better ( especially Pagan) and Hale was aggressive without being careless with his 3rd base decisions. Infield had mixed results I hate the Ole fielding of grounders but everybody is teaching that these days. Second base was a revolving door, Reyes was in and out, Wright improved his throwing and Davis was already a top fielder so it's hard to gauge how he did there. Here's Reyes speaking about working with Hale after a horrible road trip in which he admitted to lapses in focus, that's a good rapport to have as a first year coach only half way through the season.
Asked if he was mad, Reyes said, "No, I'm OK. Chip always talks to me about that during the game and I try doing it. I made those errors in Atlanta and Philadelphia, that's not me. I can't do that. Just another thing happened. So nobody's perfect. Everybody makes a mistake." source Daily newsI also think Hale is in a better position then most managerial candidates, he has a positive working relationship with most of the players on the major league roster but hasn't been here long enough to be indoctrinated into the dysfunctional system. After the impressive coaching/managerial career he has had you can't convince me that after one year with this club he is now part of the broke system and should be immediately ruled out.
The 45-year-old Hale made an instant positive impression in his first year as third base coach because of his preparation and work ethic. source ESPN NY
Many fans will reference comments by Dan Uggla saying players would run through walls for Backman which is ironic because Hale is the batter in that famous blooper where the minor league outfielder ( Rodney McCray) goes through the wall trying to make a catch. But Hale has his supporters as well, here's Bill Murphy's comments on Hale who he played under in Tuscan, when Hale was a finalist for the Mariners job in 2008.
I asked Murphy if Hale can handle a difficult clubhouse -- the 2008 Mariners were described as "dysfunctional" -- and he just smiled. Hale won't be intimidated by a cantankerous veteran and he also won't stand for anyone who doesn't do the little things right. Want to see players on the field early doing baserunning drills? Go to Safeco Field next year if Hale gets the job. source HeraldnetD-Backs fans were surprised when Hale wasn't promoted to either bench coach or manager and questioned the direction of the team.
Hopefully they will take this opportunity to bring in a couple of hungry and aggressive coaches that will instill a sense of urgency into this team. This past year the team has played lethargic at times without the desire to get mean. I would suggest someone with a fiery attitude who has a chip on his shoulder. But then that was kind of how Chip Hale coached in Tucson so I have no idea what they are looking for. Maybe they need someone who possesses more “organizational advocacy”. I don’t think we have enough of that yet. source Diary of a die hardHere are a few different quotes from Hale himself; one is an interview with a blogger, another was when he was up for the mariners job on who influenced him and the other was on being promoted from AAA manager to D-Backs 3rd base coach.
Describe yourself in under five words.
Energetic, active, impulsive, and a little bit anal. source Ink waste
"My biggest thing is play the game the right way," Hale said. "I played under Tom Kelly in Minnesota, and the one thing he preached from day one was 'respect the game.' We just did things the right way, whether it was working on bunt defenses, taking infield, outfield. If we didn't do it the right way, we'd keep on doing it again." source Seattle Times
“It was fun. When you’re winning, it’s always fun,” Hale said. “That’s the way it is in any sport. When people talk about player development, I have found it’s much easier to develop in a winning atmosphere. Players are more likely to buy into what you’re teaching when they’re winning ballgames.” source Tucson CitizenWhen Hale was up for the Nationals job last year here was what was said about him, while being compared to none other then Bobby Valentine.
Hale may actually be the most attractive candidate of them all. He is a former PCL manager of the year and won the league championship in 2002. In fact, he’s won as a manager at every level in the minor leagues. He also has the benefit of being 14 years younger than Valentine. source NBC.sportsOf course these are fan opinions in forums so I didn't include them but if you need more proof that Hale's managerial style was fiery, all you need to do is read through 100s of posts at this D-Backs forum which describe him in just that manner. Arizona Sports Fan
I trust Sandy to make the right selection but I am concerned that fan support/ticket sales could play to big a role in this selection.