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Does the manager matter more in New York than in most places?

Oct 29, 2010, 1:00 PM EST

John Harper warns new Mets GM Sandy Alderson to be careful about his managerial pick. Why? Because things are totally different in New York:

In New York, the manager matters more than most places. The scrutiny on every decision demands a certain type of personality, as does the magnitude of dealing with the media – as well as creating the right clubhouse culture . . .  Joe Girardi has survived and even thrived to some extent despite being a control freak who gives the impression that he would be more comfortable undergoing a colonoscopy than he is dealing with the New York media on a daily basis.
I’d say there’s an argument that, in New York, a manager matters even less.  What other city has seen a team fire a successful manager only to have the team not miss a beat with his successor more often than New York?  Houk won after Stengel was let go. Lemon won after Martin. Girardi won after Torre. The guy in the dugout has probably mattered less in New York than anywhere.
Of course, all of those examples are the Yankees, not the Mets. But the Mets have been awful under a lot of different managers. Without fundamental changes in how the team does business, they’ll continue to be awful.  Which suggests to me that the manager is the least of the Mets’ concerns right now. It’s Alderson’s moves and his vision that will make the difference.
Is temperament irrelevant? Of course not. But whether Sandy Alderson hires a manager who can deal with the New York media is something that should concern the New York media more than it should concern Sandy Alderson.
  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 29, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    New Yorkers need to figure out that the NY media doesn’t matter. (Except when they say things that I agree with, of course)

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM

      Most of us already have, and did so years ago. For Yankee news I always read riveraveblues.com, theyankeeu.com, and itsaboutthemoney.net and occasionally the Fack Youk blog. I’m sure mets head to Amazing Avenue or whatever the blog is.

      Unfortunately all the ny rags (Post, Daily News, etc) continue to employ terrible writers who couldn’t hold a lick to the guys, who do what they do for free, mentioned above.

  2. Ryan Lansing - Oct 29, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Having never lived on the east coast, maybe I’m missing something here- What the heck is up with the NY sports media constantly writing/talking about how certain sports figures can/can’t handle the pressures of NY sports media?

    I’d like to hear some NY sports writers or talk-show hosts willing to say “You know, A-Rod would’ve led the Yankees to 3 or 4 championships by now if we hadn’t been so hard on him.” Because, to my way of thinking, when they say a guy can’t handle the media pressure they’re blaming themselves for his failure.

    • JBerardi - Oct 29, 2010 at 3:05 PM

      “What the heck is up with the NY sports media constantly writing/talking about how certain sports figures can/can’t handle the pressures of NY sports media?”

      It’s not complicated: they’re a bunch of self-important blowhards.

  3. Jonny 5 - Oct 29, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    Can’t we just blow up the bridges and tunnels connecting to NY And let Snake Plissken manage NY baseball, and media??

  4. Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 29, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Managers matter more in NY for one simple reason:

    The BEAT WRITERS NEED TO GET ALONG WITH HIM lest the manager incur the wrath of a hundred scored writers looking to pull every eyeball their direction.

    The beat writers have been at Girardi’s throat less about his in-game decision-making abilities and more about his persona with said beat writers. Remember the “paranoid” stuff, Craig? That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

    It’s not for the players or even for the fans. It’s for the ruthless beat writers who have no problem carving up a guy, any guy, who isn’t being forthcoming (at the very least).

  5. Professor Longnose - Oct 29, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Anderson’s also smart enough to know that it will take a couple of years to get the Mets back on track, especially considering the lack of roster flexibility he may have before 2011, and getting the fans to buy into the program is part of the deal.

    But he has enough experience with PR to do the job, and enough experience overall to pick a manager that will have the qualities he wants.

  6. JBerardi - Oct 29, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Shorter John Harper: “It takes a special kind of guy to manage in New York, because he’s going to have to deal with jerks like me all the time”.

  7. BC - Oct 29, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Have the Mets EVER had a manager that won after succeeding a winning manager? Only possibility I can think of is 1969 – 1973 (Hodges and Berra).

  8. seeingwhatsticks - Oct 29, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    I think you’re all missing the point: EVERYTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT IN NEW YORK.

  9. mvd513 - Oct 30, 2010 at 4:35 AM

    See, in a city with 20 times as many douchebags as normal cities, there’s 20 times as many douchebag reporters, that the manager has to deal with. In an ideal world, it would be ok for the manager to tell them to f*ck off, but unfortunately, its not.

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