baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What if Mark Messier ran the Mets?

Joel Sherman's Hardball blog entry for January 14, 2010 was headlined Beltran Issue Gets Messier for Mets. And for one brief, shining moment I actually thought the Mets had somehow hired Mark Messier to fix their management problem.

No such luck. Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon are still running the team. The only thing that has changed since the end of last season is the calendar. No one is healthier, communication challenges still abound, and we are once again looking at Angel Pagan to open the season in the outfield.

My little misreading of Sherman's headline prompted me to think about the baseball equivalent of Mark Messier. Great leader, fearless player, single-minded determination to win, willing to put his team on his back. Two names that came to me are Derek Jeter and Keith Hernandez. Neither is quite up to the level of Messier, though, because Jeter often shies away from the media responsibilities of leading his team. Hernandez doesn't cut it for giving up on the Mets in game six of the 1986 World Series.

For pure leadership ability, the best in baseball that I know of was Gil Hodges. He wasn't brash and willing to put himself on the line the way Messier did in guaranteeing the Rangers would win in 1994, but he would sure look good in the dugout right now. If the team can't fix its top management, having a great field manager like Hodges would certainly help a lot.

So if it's not Jeter, Hernandez, or Hodges, I'm stuck. Maybe baseball has never had someone with Messier's qualities, and maybe baseball is a different enough game from hockey that there will never be someone quite like him. All I am saying is that the Mets need to rebuild their management from the top down, hiring a team president that will change the way things are done around here.

I am willing to give the team one more year, and then starting from the top, rebuild with the best baseball minds there are. Actually, I just thought of the perfect guy, but he's already doing this exact thing for the Rangers. The Texas Rangers. His name is Nolan Ryan. And the Mets traded him away.

© Judy Kamilhor 2010


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