Melvin and Jauss Begin the Proceedings
According to the REAL Sandy Alderson on Twitter, the first two candidates to be interviewed for manager of the 2011 Mets are Bob Melvin and Dave Jauss.
Excuse me if my heart rate drops rather than races at the hearing of this news; I’m human, after all.
Remarkably, I have not been invited to participate in the evaluation proceedings — so I won’t have the benefit of the interview process. But, I’ll provide my analysis as best I can with the facts available to me.
Melvin, of course, is the former Arizona Diamondbacks manager who led the team to an NL West title in 2007. As MetsBlog astutely points out,
… he hits on all notes connected to Sandy Alderson’s ideal candidate in that he’s smart, a good soldier, a good communicator, he knows New York, he has experience and a track record of a success, and he’s called ‘the mad scientist.’ Melvin “knows New York
Yes, Melvin is smart, he is purported to be a good communicator (though I have no evidence to prove nor disprove that point), and his track record of “success” is based on a .493 winning percentage. Though, he did once lead the D’Backs to a 90-win season and postseason appearance; he also led the Mariners to a 93-win, second-place finish in 2003. I like him because he is a former catcher, and therefore must be both intelligent and tough.
As for “knowing” New York? Well, he played 9 games as a backup catcher for the Yankees at the tail end of his career and he has made NYC his home during the offseason; he’s a frequent customer at my favorite bar in America, Shaun Clancy’s Foley’s Pub (if you haven’t been there, you MUST get there at some point in your lifetime — it is a mini version of Cooperstown’s HOF).
Oh crap, I hope that frequenting a bar didn’t give you the wrong idea — it’s not like he’s a boozer, not by any stretch of the imagination. Alcohol sales and consumption have been legal in the USA since 1934 so I assume taking a drink on occasion and acting responsibly when imbibing has no negative effect on his candidacy. Though, I state this with some selfish motivation — my day job is working in marketing / PR for a wine company.
Dave Jauss is an intriguing candidate, considering that he is one of the only MLB coaches with zero professional experience as a player (maybe THE only). Before you get the idea that I think this is a negative, remember that I myself never played pro ball yet believe I know more than some “professionals”. Hey, how many NFL or NBA head coaches have pro playing experience?
Jauss was a standout at Amherst College, then was a head baseball coach at two nondescript college programs. However, while at Amherst he was a teammate of Dan Duquette, and when Duquette became Director of Player Develpment for the Montreal Expos, Jauss was hired as a minor league manager by Field Coordinator Jerry Manuel. Whether it was really Manuel or Duquette who hired Jauss is moot; the point is, Jauss and Manuel developed a close relationship that led him to Manuel’s dugout in Flushing. Jauss eventually followed Duquette to Boston, where he built a firm relationship with Grady Little.
How would Jauss perform as an MLB manager? I have no idea, since we don’t have much to go on. He spent three years as a minor league manager in the mid-1990s and then served as either a first-base coach or bench coach at the MLB level in 9 different seasons from 1997-2010. His most recent experience is under Manuel, which isn’t exactly a positive point. Before that he spent two years as bench coach with the Orioles (again, not glaringly positive) and was a bench coach under Little with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007 and with the Red Sox in 2001. Basically, he is a trustworthy guy who has made the most of his friendships. People say he is smart and I don’t doubt it. Considering that he has gotten as far as he has without pro playing experience (it is an incredible feat to coach in the pro ranks w/o pro playing experience), he must be loyal and easy to get along with. Those attributes can go far in managing men toward a championship. Whether it’s enough to make him a great manager, nobody knows, but if nothing else it would be a great story.