In the words of the high school choir led by Miss Lauryn Hill in "Sister Act 2" ... oh, happy day.
Mickey Callaway was finally fired Thursday, and every Mets fan on the planet rejoiced. I no longer have to mention his name in a column again and complain about the illogical decisions made in games and senseless statements made after games. Firing the second-year manager was the only decision this franchise could make. You could not sell to the fan base bringing him back for another year and thinking that you could make the playoffs and win a World Series. It just would not have a chance to happen.
Going with a pitching coach turned manager did not work out. It fell flat on its face for then-general manager Sandy Alderson and the front office. Callaway was not Brodie Van Wagenen’s guy. Now, we will find out which direction the GM will go and if the Wilpons agree.
They cannot have a puppet.
There cannot be any situation in which the front office is making a lineup or the GM is calling into the dugout during games or any ridiculous, nonsensical situation like that. They need someone leading that clubhouse who has won in the past and will win again in the future. This window isn’t going to stay open forever. The time to capitalize and go for a championship is 2020. You have the youth in the lineup in Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, J.D. Davis and Dom Smith. You have the pitching in Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo. That is a strong nucleus to win a championship with if they have the right pieces and most importantly bullpen around them. There’s no more waiting.
Firing Callaway was the perfect start to the offseason after the team fell just four wins short of the National League wild-card game. The next step is bringing a real leader to Flushing. The top two options are simple.
It’s Joe Girardi and Buck Showalter.
It sure seems as though Joe Maddon will go west to the Angels. Hiring a celebrity manager like Maddon also just seems totally unrealistic if you know the Wilpons.
We know Van Wagenen is a fan of Showalter. How could you not be? He is a three-time Manager of the Year, is a baseball lifer and has been known to make bad teams play much better than they actually are. The knock on Showalter is he has never won a World Series or even been to one. The guy, however, is incredibly knowledgeable, and no fan would have any beef with this hire.
Girardi won a World Series as a manager in 2009, and he won three championships as a player with the Yankees. He’s got a winning pedigree, and he's done it in New York. Hiring Girardi seems like a no-brainer, but he is from Illinois. If it is down to the Cubs and Mets, Girardi could end up going to Chicago, where he had two separate stints as a player.
These guys aren’t puppets, though. They’ll bring a brash style and hold guys accountable. They have an old-school demeanor to them. That’s the toughness, attitude and grit this franchise has so desperately needed since Bobby Valentine was fired after the 2002 season. It’s been almost two decades since those days. It would be quite refreshing if this organization went with the obvious, correct route, instead of looking for an outside-the-box yes man.
The fans want to win. They want a manager who isn’t going to make a fool out of himself and say a pitcher battled when he gave up 10 runs or yell at a reporter for saying “see you tomorrow.”
Bring in a professional. Bring in a winner. Bring in a champion. Give the passionate Mets fan base someone they can have the utmost respect for. It’s what they deserve. It’s what the greatest city in the world deserves. It’s about time the Mets get it right. They got canning Callaway right. Now go get the replacement who can guide the Mets back to the promised land.