Mickey Callaway did not need to be a fly on the wall during the Mets search for a new GM. Like us, he must have noted the parade that refused to even interview for the job. Don’t be surprised if he leaves before they leave him.
Mickey Callaway has been given the okay to manage the New York Mets in 2019 by the new regime headed by General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen. Callaway will manage the 25 players presented to him on Opening Day and after that and is not likely to mutter a word of despair no matter what happens to the Mets.
Nevertheless, Mickey Callaway is a man who spent years preparing himself to be a major league manager. When he interviewed for the job, he brought with him not one, but two black binders filled with his ideas on how to better the Mets. None of what was contained in those binders had anything to do with analytics as far as I’ve been able to learn.
Rather, Mickey Callaway drew on his experience as a pitching coach for the very successful Cleveland Indians, outlining his plans for a revamped approach to Spring Training and holding players accountable in every facet of their game.
In short, Mickey Callaway appears to be a thinking man’s manager, prompting the question – is he a good fit for the New York Mets? The Mets seem to think he is, but that’s not the real question, which is, does Callaway think he is a good fit with the Mets (organization)?
We know the Mets are ruled from the top down, which is not an unusual way for a business to be run. Except in the case of the Mets, the Wilpons rule with an iron hand, and there appears to be little or no room (Van Wagenen will find out) for dissent or a – Hey, why don’t we try it this way?
Mickey Callaway may or may not be destined for a long life in New York City. We’ll see. But he hasn’t gotten off to a good start given his performance in the up and (mostly) down season the Mets had in 2018. Not once did he challenge the front office to make his team better, and not once did he test his players to make themselves better. The season rode itself out, and what we saw is what we got.
Terry Collins took the same ride until he no longer was able to pretend what was not “pretendable.” He made it work until it was clear it wouldn’t work, and then he stepped down before he suffered the indignity of being fired.
Mickey Callaway has a job that is coveted by any number of men in the game, a position in the baseball capital of the world. He has a family, and he has an ego, or at least he did before he met the Mets. But something tells me Mickey Callaway is not long for the stagnation he is doomed to meet, even with the arrival of Van Wagenen, who has his own set of issues that are yet to be confronted and resolved in this same area.
It could also be that Callaway has already found his niche in baseball as a pitching coach. Video)
So, ultimately he could decide to not fight the tide, returning to the position where he commands the attention of 13 pitchers instead of a full roster of 25 players, an intercepting front office, and daily encounters with the media.
Fred Wilpon has declared there will be no rebuild for the Mets this season. They are in it to win it. A last-gasp try with the same pitchers and players who have failed before.
It just might be that Mickey Callaway is quietly taking the same approach regarding his future with the Mets, and he’ll be keeping as close an eye on the front office as they’ll be keeping on him.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor
Reflections On Baseball