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Showalter dismissal mirrors life
New Mets hire a reminder how baseball has changed
Good morning, all. I hope your week is off to a terrific start.
As we speculated in a previous newsletter, Buck Showalter is out as manager of the New York Mets. You knew Showalter was in trouble the moment stories circulated in mid summer that Mets owner Steve Cohen was interested in hiring David Stearns, whose contract with the Milwaukee Brewers was about to expire. Stearns, a New Yorker who once interned for the Mets, was cited as the main reason the Brewers’ franchise has turned around. He headed baseball ops for years with Milwaukee, before stepping down to be an advisor in the final year of his deal. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family and that’s why he walked away from the time-consuming job of running the whole show. Understandable.
After the Mets Saturday night doubleheader sweep of the playoff-bound Phillies, Mets GM Billy Eppler informed Showalter he would be out as Mets manager in 2024, even though he had a year to go on his contract. By accounts I have read, the Mets will pay off Showalter. He is free to seek employment elsewhere.
As owner, especially one who has billions of dollars, Cohen is free to do what he wants with the manager, and a strong case can be made Showalter had to go off of the club’s dismissal 2023 performance. Remember, the Mets entered the season with a record-high payroll and favored in some quarters to win the World Series. Now Showalter’s association with the organization is kaput.
At a Monday news conference both Cohen and Stearns said the correct things about Showalter, but do not kid yourself, Showalter’s firing is a reminder of how baseball mirrors life and how the game has changed.
How does the sport mirror life? Think about it. Stearns, 38, was in diapers, when Billy Martin was teaching Showalter how to manage. Showalter was managing the most storied franchise in baseball, the Yankees, when Stearns was playing with Tonka trunks. Now, as a condition for heading the Mets baseball operations, he wanted Showalter out as manager, before he took over the job.
Keep that in mind, particularly if you are a hot-shot 40-year-old executive, running the entire show, regardless of your occupation. More than likely, there is someone running around in diapers, who someday may be making the decision to send you packing. It does not matter that you may have forgotten more than the decision-maker knows, it does not matter if you learned at the knee of an icon. There is some kid out there, who has not learned to walk, who some day will be deciding it is time for you to walk- out the door. And many of you will not receive the golden handshake Showalter was given.
Secondly, and I will link to the news conference here, in so many words Stearns admitted what we all know about MLB; managers rarely call the shots anymore. It does not matter if you never played the game professionally, it does not matter if you have never been in the trenches, it is now the people with the algorithms deciding who is playing in right field or who should bat third that day. Ask the Yankees how that approach is working out, by the way?
Again, this is not a criticism of how the game has changed, just an observation. It does not matter how much you participated on the field of competition, batting against pitchers throwing a 100 MPH fastball, if you want to manage today, be prepared to have someone with a PhD, who never played the game, to tell you how to play it. And remember, someone running around in diapers today, may be the one who someday gives you the pink slip. Welcome to baseball and life in 2023.
Robinson and Wakefield
Baseball lost two icons in the last week with the passing of Brooks Robinson, 86, and Tim Wakefield, 57. Robinson led a full life, while Wakefield’s life was cut too short. May they both R.I.P. Enjoy every moment you have and try not to let the small things get you down.
As a public service, I leave you - courtesy of MLB - with the post season brackets. It may be October, but for many people the baseball season is just getting underway. Enjoy!
That is going to do it for this week’s newsletter. As always, thank you for your support and have a terrific week.