Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lee Mazzilli as the new Mets manager? Even Flushing doesn't deserve that!

Squawker Jon, now that your Mets have a new GM in Sandy Alderson, I saw that tabloid columnist Bill Madden is championing Lee Mazzilli for Mets manager. What's that all about?

Madden writes this today in the New York Daily News:
Now the big question is: Who will Alderson hire as his manager? Originally, it was believed the Wilpons wanted a manager who will excite their fan base, but this being Alderson's call and his alone, the primary criteria will probably be a manager with whom he's comfortable and who will not buck him. In that respect, he'll likely want a manager with major league experience because this is New York - no place to experiment with someone untested. I would expect Lee Mazzilli, who has a Met pedigree and had a modicum of success managing in Baltimore under impossible conditions, and Bob Melvin, who had 90-win seasons in both Seattle and Arizona before his teams went quickly south on him, will be on Alderson's list.
Now, I've heard Melvin's name bandied about as a Mets' managerial choice for a while now. But who would want Lee Mazzilli as manager of the Mets? He was fired from Baltimore for going 9-28, after being in first place for the first 2 1/2 months of 2005. He was a terrible bench coach for the Yankees, known mostly for being one of Joe Torre's guys than for any good decision-making skills. Mazzilli couldn't even hack it as an SNY analyst, showing zero personality. Is he somebody who can really turn the Mets around? I don't think so.

This isn't the first time Madden has written about Mazz for manager. Back in September, the columnist wrote this, pushing Mazzilli for the job:
So, if not [Wally] Backman, there is only one other candidate who fills at least two of the three primary criteria the Wilpons are looking for - difference-maker, experience, Met pedigree - and that's Lee Mazzilli, who, coincidentally, is also employed by the Yankees in a behind-the-scenes capacity. Mazzilli, one of the most popular Mets ever, managed the Baltimore Orioles for a year and a half in 2004-05 and might have been a difference-maker there if not constrained by the manic, deterrent ownership of Peter Angelos. Mazzilli's 78-84 third-place finish In 2004, is the O's best record since 1999. The following year, he had them a half-game out of first place as late as July 18 - only to be fired by Angelos two weeks later in the wake of Rafael Palmeiro's positive steroids test.

Mazzilli became the organization's unwitting scapegoat because he wouldn't give Palmeiro a public declaration of support.
Madden calls Mazzilli a "scapegoat" for the Palmeiro issue, but he fails to mention that not only did the Orioles, after being in first place for much of the first half of 2005, go 9-28, but they had also lost eight in a row, and 16 of their last 18 games, when Mazzilli was fired. No matter how much of a micromanager Angelos is, it's hard to justify keeping a manager around whose team collapsed like that, no matter how many injuries and issues the team faced.

Madden also writes that Mazzilli "is also employed by the Yankees in a behind-the-scenes capacity." It's so behind-the-scenes, that I didn't even know about it until now! And that's another reason why he would be a bad candidate for Flushing. I can't tell you how many times I heard Met fans gripe about Willie Randolph being a Yankee. We'd hear the same thing if Mazzilli became Mets manager. Surely the Mets can find somebody with a better pedigree than Mazz to run the team.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Mets Fan said...

You know nothing about the Mets and mazzilli. He is a true hero from a rookie to 1986 Champs. Every Met fan knows he a a true Met. not like Willie. Shame on you to say Maz is not a true Met. He would be perfect as manager. In Balt he was a winner with a losing owner. You must be a yankee fan frontrunner.. GO METS AND MAZ

Uncle Mike said...

"A true hero"? A .259 lifetime batting average. Only played 4 full seasons in the majors, only enough total games to add up to 10 full seasons. Never topped 16 homers or 79 RBIs. Even in a pitcher's park like Shea Stadium, that's not exactly heroic. And in that 1986 World Series run, he had exactly 10 plate appearances, 3 hits. If he had not been on the roster, it would have made no difference.

Face it, if his name had been Lee Mack -- white or black -- he'd have been forgotten years ago.

On the other hand, most really good managers were mediocre players -- including Bruce Bochy, Joe Girardi, Charlie Manuel, Terry Francona, Tony LaRussa, Jack McKeon, who between them won 7 of the last 8 World Series. (Ozzie Guillen was a pretty good player.) So maybe, given an owner and a general manager who both have a clue, Mazzilli could win.

But don't blame Willie Randolph. The failures of 2006 and '07 were not his fault. Jeff Gordon wouldn't win any NASCAR races if the car he was supplied with was an AMC Pacer.

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