Notice that we've entitled today's essay SUCCEEDING SANDY not the other way around.
The Sandy is obviously Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson who turned 66 years old this past November. This is an age (and I should know it since I'm almost there myself) when most people are winding down their careers. But if you're running for Pope or are Giants' football coach Tom Coughlin you're going strong and still enthused with your job.
Alderson is now entering his fourth year as the GM of the Amazins. His glossy three year plan has taken a team capable of winning about 75 games a season to a team capable of winning about 75 games in the upcoming 2014 season. How's that for consistency?
At the end of the season the Mets' ownership group and Sandy will likely decide together what happens. They could renew his contract or let him go. He might opt out since clearly every time we see or hear him in public he acts like a fellow with an uncomfortable intestinal issue.
And Major League Baseball in searching for a successor to Allan Huber "Bud" Selig may just be interested in his services as the next Commissioner. After all what can be better on a resume than being the GM of a team that has been returned to greatness in just three short years?
So this presents to us the question of who should succeed Sandy and take on the general managership of the New York Mets. I thought I'd review some of the logical candidates and introduce a few wild card possibilities.
J.P. RICCIARDI/PAUL DePODESTA - Given the monumental success of the Alderson administration (I exaggerate for effect) it is only logical to promote from within. I'm not totally convinced that Ricciardi and DePodesta are actually two different people. It seems you never see or hear them together - or at least not in the three years he/they have been with the Mets. It might be a Clark Kent/Superman situation here. My pet theory is that one of them killed the other - don't ask me who did unto whom - and assumed his identity.
I believe they were separate people once and both have important baseball resumes. Ricciardi was GM of the Blue Jays from 2002-2009 while DePodesta had a prominent role in MONEYBALL, the book, and in the movie repackaged as Peter Brand. DePo was the GM of the Dodgers for about 18 minutes around 2004.
There is a good chance that the Mets will name one of them the post-Sandy GM and I believe you'll see the other one disappear to never be heard from again.
JAY HORWITZ - Now this name might surprise you but give it some thought. Jay has been the PR director of the Mets since 1980. No one can name anything he has ever done except showing up for games. The team has horrible PR with most of the fans totally turned off by their deep-in-debt ownership group. He's kept his job while ownership changed, GM's changed, managers came and were dismissed, and a bazillion players have come and gone. If one believes in the Peter Principle (head to WIKIPEDIA if you have never heard of that) then Jay's just the man for the GM job.
WALLY BACKMAN - Yes, I am suggesting that Wally leapfrog the manager's position and jump right into Sandy's chair. Actually I have no idea what qualifications Backman might have for the job but would just love to hear him on the phone with Bob Melvin, the GM of the Milwaukee Brewers:
"Bob - if you don't trade me Tyler Thornburg for Ike Davis right now I'm going to come out there right now and beat the living $#$%*^ out of you and your $$%^&#' staff."
JEFF WILPON - Why not? We all think that he is the brains behind the operation as it is. It's not like the fans and bloggers could like him any less. He'd be the next in a line of incompetent owners turned GM's like football's Al Davis, Dan Snyder, and Jerry Jones.
RALPH KINER - This one is another longshot candidate. Most people don't know that Ralph was a GM once. For a short time in the early 1950s Ralph was the GM of the then minor league San Diego team. Legend has it that he rode his dinosaur to work each day. But general managing is like riding a bike so if you've done it once.... The reason I don't think this will work is that Ralph would probably like the job to work like his broadcasting job at SNY. Every two weeks or so he'd fly in and do about 20 minutes of general managing and then fly back to California. The Mets may want someone just a bit more hands-on than that.
and finally my outlier off-the-wall pick.....
MIKE BLOOMBERG- Right, the outgoing mayor of the Big Apple. No one thought he could run a city even though he seemed to know everything about making money. Now the Mets seem to know nothing about making money and Mayor Mike is out of a job.
Sure you could point out that Bloomberg is older than Alderson and that it might just be better for him (and certainly for us) if he were to buy the team outright rather than work for it. But when I learned recently that during his mayoralty he gave over $650 million to the city I started figuring that that's the kind of GM we need. If he donated even half of that to the Mets' coffers the team might have a chance to break even some years. And then it might not have to be seen as a debt-ridden small market team playing in a huge city with its own TV network.
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at @dr4sight There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.