Every now and then there's a piece of breaking news that rocks the entire world and everyone who hears it forever remembers where they were at the moment when they first found out.
Friday's report that Mets manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya will not be returning in the same roles next season is not one of those pieces of news. Who could be bothered to remember the actual moment when the news hit the wires when the demise of both men has been set in stone for so long? The only surprising part is that both guys actually made it through an entire second season of tortured losing, crippling injuries and embarrassing off-field incidents before finally getting the axe.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the team will make the announcement before the playoffs start on Wednesday and says that Minaya will have the choice to become the Mets' version of Isiah Thomas. The architect of one disaster after another will be offered the chance to remain in a different role within the organization, at least in part because the team owes him more than a million dollars in each of the two years left on his deal. Manuel has no such safety net, but there may be an opening in the organization soon.
Wally Backman is getting a lot of buzz as the potential replacement for Manuel in the dugout. Should he get the job, Brooklyn would need a new manager next season and a big league skipper dropping all the way down to Low-A ball is as plausible as Backman making the same leap the other direction. The biggest driving factor for Backman seems to be that buzz, especially if it might translate to more fans in the seats at Citi Field -- which has resembled the surface of the moon in recent weeks -- next season.
That's a dangerous route to travel. Fans will turn out for some big offseason personnel acquisitions but the thought that they will fill the stadium simply because of a new manager seems like a bit of a stretch. It would be better for the Mets to hire a new general manager, they are believed to be looking outside the organization, and let him make the choice than simply trying to spark memories of better days in Queens because it might sell a few hundred tickets.
All of that is for the future. The present will be about a merciful end to the 2010 season with three completely meaningless games against the Nationals. You can expect lots of tearful video tributes to the two departing icons, a few standing ovations and memories thick enough that you can cut them with a knife at Citi Field.
You won't get them, but feel free to expect them.