As had been the recent trend in New York sports, new managers or coaches at their introductory press conferences often took time trying to prove that they were worthy of the job and ultimately, the right hire.
Such is commonplace when giving candidates their first-ever coaching job, which has been the trend around New York City.
Aaron Boone’s first managerial gig was with the Yankees. Joe Judge’s first time as a head coach is with the New York Giants. The same goes for New York Jets boss Robert Saleh and Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash.
The Mets fell into the same rut, too. Each of their previous three managerial hires — Mickey Callaway, Carlos Beltran, and Luis Rojas — had never managed in the majors before.
But that is where the Buck stops.
The Mets introduced veteran skipper Buck Showalter as their new manager on Tuesday afternoon where the 65-year-old with 20 years and over 3,000 games of experience didn’t have to waste time trying to convince us that he was the right man for the job. It was a no-brainer.
“It has the potential to continue to be the great place that it is and was,” Showalter said. “Not a lot of lip service, this is kind of a show-me situation. I just want everybody to know that the Mets are going to be precious to the people that we bring in. It’s a great responsibility that I and we will take very seriously every day.”
One of the more distinguished managers of the last 30 years, Showalter has an opportunity, after a three-year coaching hiatus, to mount another pursuit toward the elusive World Series championship he has yet to win despite managing playoff teams with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers.
“That’s always going to be the end game,” Showalter said. “It’s not something that’s going to define my life, but I’ll tell you this: It wakes me up every day now.
“I understand the job description. It’s not to be competitive… or just win more games than you lose. It’s to be the last team standing.”
He’ll try to do so with a Mets team that was as disappointing as it was filled with drama last season, going 77-85 with one of the more talented-looking rosters on paper. And with the resources that owner Steve Cohen has — including the most expansive analytics department Showalter has ever worked with — the excuses are running out for the Mets not to meet expectations.
That was the overarching theme of Showalter’s first comments as Mets manager while banishing any notion that he would be unwilling to adjust his managerial style.
“I’ve always been very spongeful with information, to a fault,” Showalter said, adding that he’ll blend previous tactics with the new school of thought. “If somebody thinks I’m going to go back to the hotel or the house and think that maybe we got beat because somebody used information better than we did or analytics, whatever you want to call it, you don’t know me very well, OK?”
While there was speculation during the team’s search that Showalter would be too old-school of a manager to connect with this new generation of players, the three-time AL Manager of the Year didn’t seem too concerned about that.
“It’s trying to bring what a player needs and trying to evaluate what they need and their ego is not as such where you have that vulnerability to deliver it,” he said. “The game is about the players and creating the environment to make their skills come to the top… To have your finger on the pulse… And who the players want to be.
“Shame on us if we’ve got some stubborn ‘this is my way’ [mindset]. Adapt to the talent you have and welcome the feedback from the players.”
All that needs to happen now is for the lockout to end so Showalter can get his show on the road.
“If you’re wearing Mets blue and orange, bring it. Let’s go.”