Is Sandy Alderson the right man for the Mets' GM job?

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Now that it appears as though Sandy Alderson is the front runner for the Mets’ GM job, Andy Martino of the Daily News has some questions for the guy.  He couches them in “hey, Alderson may be the best man for the job, I’m just askin'” language, but you can tell that he’s a bit concerned about these things. Let’s take them one at a time:

Question: After noting that Alderson’s Oakland Athletics teams were at the vanguard of steroidly goodness, he wants Alderson to talk about the degree to which he thinks owners and GMs were responsible for PEDs in baseball.

Answer: I think anyone in baseball over the past 20 years, including other candidates like John Hart, should have an opinion on that, as they were all a part of the problem in one way or another.  If that’s as far as Martino wants to take it, fine, but if the question is aimed specifically at Alderson for his connection to the A’s it seems a bit unfair. Really, it’s a question he probably could have and should have asked of any Mets GM or GM candidate for the past decade.

Question: Is Alderson, at age 62, too old to be a GM?

Answer: I think chronological age is a bit narrow here. In terms of energy for the job and how in-touch he is with the latest developments in the game. Alderson has long been ahead of his contemporaries.  At the same time, Omar Minaya and many others younger than Alderson have shown a distinct lack of energy and open mindedness for the job, wouldn’t you agree?

Question: Given that Alderson would be leaving his job overseeing operations in the Dominican Republic — a job which he said he’d “see through to the end,” — might Alderson leave the Mets before seeing the job through?

Answer: While the DR job may be important in many respects, let’s not fool ourselves here: that’s a time-biding job for most people who would fill it. If Alderson passed up the Mets job to stick with his duties in the Dominican, he’d probably forever be considered a non-candidate for other GM positions.  And commentators would likely label him not ready for prime time.  Beyond all that, there aren’t many general managers who leave their job of their own volition.  When Alderson leaves the Mets, it will be because he got fired or because there are no more worlds left to conquer. That’s usually just how it goes.

Question: Given that Alderson does not have a scouting background, he’d need to bring more talent evaluators with him. Would the Mets spring for such talent?

Answer: This is either not a question for Alderson, or else it’s a backhanded way of saying that Alderson is not qualified for this particular job based on his lack of a scouting background.  Ultimately, however, I think his track record speaks for itself. He has done the job on teams where resources were nowhere near abundant.  There is no reason to think that he couldn’t do it with the Mets. At least, assuming he’s allowed to do it without interfercene from above.

In some ways maybe I’m an Alderson fanboy. But really, if these are the worst criticisms/questions that anyone can raise about his candidacy, I think he’s pretty well suited for the job, don’t you?

Yasiel Puig visits the Statue of Liberty, meets a Yasiel Puig fan

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig reacts in dugout after hitting a RBI sacrifice fly against the San Francisco Giants during fifth inning of a spring baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz., Sunday, March 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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Yasiel Puig is in New York to face the Mets this weekend. Yesterday was a day off so he got to explore New York. You can tell he’s not a New Yorker because he actually went to visit the Statue of Liberty.

I likewise assume that Puig made it to where the boat leaves for Liberty Island with plenty of time to spare, because God knows he’s had a week in which him hustling to make it just in time wasn’t gonna happen.

In other news, Puig made a friend on the boat:

Wade Boggs did not wear his Yankees ring to his number retiring ceremony last night

BOSTON, MA - MAY 26:  Wade Boggs acknowledges the crowd during the retirement of his jersey #26 prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park on May 26, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The other day we had the non-controversy of Wade Boggs wearing his 1996 World Series ring, which he won with the Yankees, to a ceremony honoring the 1986 Red Sox. Last night, however, Boggs was feted as an individual, with his number 26 being retired at Fenway Park.

It was an emotional night for him. He was visibly choked up and said all sorts of things which clearly showed how much more, at heart, he is a Boston Red Sox legend than he is a legend of either of the other teams for which he played. And he made a comment about the Yankees ring thing too:

He wore his Hall of Fame ring on Thursday.

“I’m proud of it,” Boggs said of the ’96 Yankees’ ring. “But I didn’t feel like it was appropriate today being that it’s my day, it’s my number and everything like that. So I left it off.”

The dude hit .328 for his career and had 3,010 hits despite not even playing a full season until he was 25. He could wear a Little Orphan Annie decoder ring out there and no one would have the right to say boo to him.

Must-Click Link: Big Brother is Watching Ballplayers

Big Brother
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Over at Vice Rian Watt has a great story about how technology is changing baseball. No, it’s not about sabermetrics or statistical analysis. At least not as you all know and understand those things. It’s about how the players themselves are now becoming the data. About how wearables — little devices which monitor everything about an athlete’s behavior — and analysis of that behavior is changing clubs’ understanding of what makes baseball players excel.

Which is fine if you approach it solely from a technological standpoint and do that usual “gee, what a world we live in” stuff that such articles typically inspire. Watt, however, talks about the larger implications of turning players into data: the blurring of their professional and personal lives:

Welcome to the next frontier in baseball’s analytic revolution. Many of this revolution’s tenets will be familiar to anyone who works for a living—the ever-growing digitization and quantification of things never-before measured and tracked, for instance, or the ever-expanding workplace, the blurring distinction between the professional and the personal, and the cult of self-improvement for self-improvement’s sake. These broader trends are colliding with baseball tradition on backfields and in training facilities around the major leagues, and those collisions have raised questions about privacy, security, and what employees owe their employers.

Players already accept drug testing and rules about personal behavior. But can a club, armed with knowledge about how it affects a player’s performance, make rules about how he sleeps? What kind of shoes he wears off the field? Everything he eats?

I’m the last person to fall for slippery slope fallacies. In most instances there are lines that can be drawn when it comes to regulating the behavior of others and making new rules. But in order to draw those lines you have to ask questions about what is and what is not acceptable. You also have to acknowledge that it’s really easy for technology to get ahead of our ability to comprehend its ethical implications.

Vin Scully recites the “People will come” speech from “Field of Dreams”

James
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You all probably know my thing about “Field of Dreams.” Specifically, that I hate it. Maybe my least favorite baseball movie ever. And I have sat through “The Slugger’s Wife” at least twice. That’s really saying something. At some point I’ll watch it again and liveblog the experience to explain my position on this — I know all of you think I’m nuts for not liking it — but just accept that I don’t like it for now, OK?

But just because a movie stinks doesn’t mean every aspect of it is bad. I loved Burt Lancaster in everything he did and he did an excellent job in “Field of Dreams.” Same with James Earl Jones for the most part. I thought he did a great job playing a character which, at times, didn’t have as much to work with as he could’ve had. No, there are good elements of “Field of Dreams.” If there weren’t — if it were just a total turkey — it wouldn’t inspire the feelings I have about it. If it were an unmitigated disaster, I’d occasionally re-watch it on a so-bad-it’s-good theory.

The “People will come” speech is good. Not necessarily for its content — there’s some hokeyness to it — but because James Earl Jones does a great job delivering it. He could read the dang phone book and make it compelling

Yesterday Major League Baseball launched a partnership thingie with the Field of Dreams site in Iowa. Part of that effort involved having Vin Scully recite the “People will come” speech over some baseball footage. Watch and listen:

Personally, I’d prefer Vin to tell some kooky story about an opposing player actually being a part time flautist or what have you. He’s had many monumental moments, but Scully is Scully for the way he makes the workaday and the mundane sound poetic, not because he takes the already poetic and elevates it further.

Still, this is good. Even to a hater like me. And I’m sure a lot of you will love it.