The Mets have made plenty of their own messes in the last couple of years, but a decision made by others could well wind up playing a major role in how the 2010 season unfolds. ESPN hired Bobby Valentine to be a studio analyst, a move that could wind up hastening Jerry Manuel's departure or exacerbate fan disgust for the team.
As Bob Klapisch writes for FoxSports.com, Valentine is likely to be a big hit on television. He's a candid observer of the game with keen insights into personnel that he won't be afraid to share on a nightly basis. Regardless of how their season plays out, some of those insights are sure to be about the Mets. A rough opening for the Flushing nine will surely have those insights serving as nightly reminders of how Valentine took over a team coming off six straight losing seasons and immediately turned them into a winner.
That's a problem for Jerry Manuel. His contract doesn't run beyond the 2010 season, he's got little support from the fanbase and another bad start will make the need for a change in franchise identity imperative for a team struggling with an agitated audience. However bad things are or however bad they get this spring and summer, the Mets will get a fresh start from their fans with Valentine getting back in the saddle.
So, should we all buy our glasses and fake moustaches? Maybe not just yet. The whole storyline of the former hero returning to his old stomping grounds plays a little too perfectly for an organization that seems like it would have problems figuring out which sandwiches to order for a lunch meeting in the conference room. Going for Valentine would change everything that's now in place with the franchise, and it's tough to see them making that kind of decision in anything resembling a timely fashion.
If things fall apart again, though, they really should. One or two bold moves would do a lot to repair what's gone wrong for the Mets over the last couple of years and there's nothing bolder on the radar than the return of Bobby V.
Well, there is, actually, but how big a bet do you really want to make on post sex-rehab Steve Phillips?