Mets Can Learn from the Jets

During the NFL offseason, the Jets made the somewhat surprising move of hiring Rex Ryan as their head coach. The hiring was met with mixed opinions from the pundits, and there were much eye rolling going on when Ryan addressed the media on several occasions with big talk about the Jets — and that he EXPECTED to win immediately:

Similarly, Wally Backman said in this interview that he believes a team’s goal should ALWAYS be to win, and has a major issue with managers who talk about “reaching .500″. He says the only number that should matter “is winning the fourth game of the World Series” :

I may be in the minority here, but I fully believe that there are some leaders — in every sport — who can have a significant, positive impact on a team’s success as a direct result of their attitude and the development of a “winning culture”. Bill Parcells is one of those guys, so is Bill Belichick, and so was Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi. In baseball, you can point to Bobby Cox, Tom Lasorda, Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa. Yes, those managers often had talent, and they didn’t win a championship every single year, but they also fostered a winning culture and taught winning habits that can’t be measured on a stat sheet (though it can be seen through championship trophies and career won-lost records). There aren’t many “impact” leaders in MLB these days — but Wally might be one of those rare figures.

It can’t hurt to send him to Binghamton to find out, can it?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Ceetar September 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm
    That the Mets ever make decisions for non-baseball reasons is one of their biggest problems, and one of the reasons cited for not hiring Backman.

    While I’d love to see him at Binghamton, I don’t believe there is any requisite ‘training’ required to lead a baseball team well, especially a team with veterans like the Mets. But I could be wrong. Maybe that seasoning is what kept the Mets from getting their in ’07 and ’08. (To me, the seasoning from ’07 may have gotten them there if they’d kept Willie)

    Manuel is quite the opposite, one of the managers that has a detrimental effect. I feel correcting this is more important than finding a Bobby Cox type leader to replace him, but it couldn’t hurt to look.

  2. joejanish September 29, 2009 at 12:33 pm
    I believe that winning habits must be taught and ingrained at the minor league level. This is one of the reasons the Braves won for 14 years straight — they had an organization-wide theme of teaching and executing fundamentals, at every level.

    Getting teachers like Wally Backman into the farm system will help send fundamentally sound ballplayers to the big league club — and make it easier for the MLB manager to execute a winning strategy.

  3. Ceetar September 29, 2009 at 1:19 pm
    I couldn’t care less about whether Ike Davis++ has good fundamentals at this point. I care about who can lead/manage this 2010 Mets team. A lot of these guys making mistakes are good guys. It’s the attitude and approached preached by Manuel and his coaches that are causing them to be sloppy, unprepared, and play stressed. Anybody that watches Murphy can see that he needs someone that can get him to relax, because 95% of his mistakes are due to rushing, and pressure on himself.
  4. joejanish September 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm
    Ceetar – I agree with you 1000000% that the lack of fundies, mental lapses, etc., directly correspond to Manuel’s “management” style.

    In addition it would be nice to see the Mets at least develop fundamentally sound ballplayers down on the farm. They certainly have a hard time finding and developing talent, but talent can’t necessarily be taught — while fundamentals CAN.

    You may not give a hoot about Ike Davis right now but do you want to see him running the bases like Angel Pagan in 2011? Fundamentals and “instincts” can’t be learned overnight, and both good and bad habits are formed in the minors.

  5. Ceetar September 29, 2009 at 1:40 pm
    Definitely, but the first priority is the Mets manager.

    Evans and Murphy aren’t the greatest fundamental guys(not that we’ve seen them at their minor league position that much), but I wouldn’t classify Wright or Reyes that way. Is Pagan’s poor base running a result of the Mets minor league system 4+ years ago, his time with the Cubs afterwards, or a result of injury and lack of playing time?

    Thole is supposedly still learning the position, and I don’t think Fernando Martinez looked bad out there. Young and inexperienced, but his fundamentals and instincts seemed okay.

    it does seem like the Mets are revamping the minor league coaching situation anyway and I do hope the Mets consider someone like Backman.

  6. Walnutz15 September 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm
    I think that you both have very valid viewpoints; and I’ll touch on both of them.

    The Mets will NEVER develop fundamentally-sound ballplayers as long as they:

    A) Rush incomplete players through the system; due to pressing needs at the Major League-level -

    and

    B) Heap tremendous amounts of expectation-level onto said players, as they aren’t-at-all eased into their (in most cases, brand new) roles with the team.

    Not only do the Mets NOT let these kids get adjusted to new levels of ball…..Murphy rushed through Double-A — making a ridiculous quick-stop at Triple-A…before being thrown into Big League life with no semblance of defensive position whatsoever.

    Same goes for the likes of Nick Evans, etc. — players with natural positions; who have little to no shot of playing anywhere near it on the Big League team.

    What exactly are they rushing certain kids for….to sit on the bench?

    They don’t develop at all; and all the while – rob these kids of bonding at the lower ranks. That’s why their Minor League teams are god-awful…..no one progresses at all; let alone together on the same squad!

    We’ll see what happens going forward, but typically it’s “hype-hype-hype” until the kid either: underwhelms, or is moved in another deal.

    I’m well aware that this is “how it goes” — but the Mets rarely have anything to show for the amount of time they put into selling these prospects as the “next big thing” to the fanbase.

    It’s all relative.

  7. kenny September 29, 2009 at 5:39 pm
    NUTZ AIN’T NUTS! YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD, BRO! METS HAVE BEEN OVERHYPING SINCE DAVID WEST AND GREGG JEFFRIES!!
  8. Walnutz15 September 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm
    Gregg Jefferies is the poster-child for overhyping a prospect; and few Met fans under the age of 30 will even know who David West is……I’m sick of having to put up with “Blue and Orange Blinder” vision — whether it’s certain blogs online; or certain broadcasters talking b.s. through their teeth.

    Minaya and Co. are bumbling fools — and The Wilpons are always going to be around (a’la the Dolans)………so somethin’s gotta give.

    PK

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