backman walking on field

The Mets are giving Wally Backman a second interview for some reason

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That’s what Steve Popper and Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record are reporting. And good for Backman, because it would seem that wowing ’em in person is the only shot he has, what with his extraordinarily thin resume for the job.

No, I’m not one of the Backman haters. I like a manager who’s fun. Who has a little color. Who has a history with the team. I even like the fact that he apparently has skeletons in his closet that are so shocking that Adam Rubin can’t dare divulge them lest we all grow lightheaded and require a fainting couch.  That kind of stuff makes baseball interesting, and I want the Mets to be interesting because there’s noting sadder than boring baseball in New York.  But the thing about that: I also have no vested interest in the Mets winning ballgames, and I don’t see how Backman is the best choice to accomplish that goal.

He has never coached or managed in the big leagues. He has never coached or managed at AAA. He hasn’t even been in AA ball for the better part of a decade. While some point to his success managing the Brooklyn Cyclones, that’s the New York-Penn League for cryin’ out loud. Entry level for anyone, but apparently not Backman, according to his supporters.  Why? Because he played for the Mets. Goody, so did Kevin McReynolds, and I don’t see him on anyone’s short list. Because he had a big outburst caught on tape. Great, so did this guy.

Against that backdrop is the Mets new front office, full of guys who never ever valued “fire” in their managers. To the contrary, Alderson, Ricciardi and DePodesta are executives who — it has been painstakingly documented — prefer a manager whose primary skill is his ability to dutifully carry out the front office’s vision. A guy who doesn’t rock the boat. Who does not not believe that he and he alone has the secret to winning ballgames stored in his mustache or spleen.  Oh, and they don’t much care for small-ball, one-run strategies either, and there’s at least some evidence that Backman digs those sorts of things.

I can’t feature the new Mets regime seriously considering Backman, and I won’t believe he is being seriously considered unless and until he is actually given the job. My guess: this is kabuki theater being put on by the team in order to make it appear that they are actually taking a hard look at the man who, inexplicably, has become the darling of the talk radio wing of the Mets fan base. So that no one can later say that their first decision after taking over the team was an ill-considered one. Indeed, I bet the “we agonized over this decision” statement naming someone other than Backman as new manager has already been written.

Report: Blue Jays closing in on a deal with Jose Bautista

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 17:  Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during batting practice prior to game three of the American League Championship aagainst the Cleveland Indians Series at Rogers Centre on October 17, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the Blue Jays are closing in on a deal with free agent outfielder Jose Bautista. This is not particularly surprising, as Bautista’s market has been slow to develop despite recent reports having listed the Orioles, Twins, and Indians as other interested teams.

Bautista, 36, is coming off of a lackluster 2016 performance. Over 517 plate appearances, the six-time All-Star hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI.

The Blue Jays needed to provide some clarity in their outfield as Ezequiel Carrera was listed first on the depth chart. Bautista, of course, will supplant him if and when the deal is finalized.

Collin McHugh calls out Donald Trump for criticism of John Lewis

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 30:  Starting pitcher Collin McHugh #31 of the Houston Astros watches from the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 30, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Astros pitcher Collin McHugh was among those who took to social media on Saturday after Donald Trump disparaged Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis on Twitter.

During NBC News’ “Meet the Press” interview on Friday, Lewis called Trump’s presidency into question, casting doubt on its legitimacy after the alleged tampering of the election results by Russian hackers. In response, Trump posted a series of tweets that criticized Lewis for not spending enough time “fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested),” despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Trump also accused Lewis of being “all talk, talk, talk – no actions or results.” The Congressman, whose efforts to further civil rights span over 50 years, served as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1963-66 and is considered one of the six fundamental leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.

McHugh was one of many to call out Trump on Twitter, defending Lewis and speaking directly to his own experiences in Atlanta:

Last year, McHugh was also one of several players to speak out on social media when Trump dismissed his own crude, misogynistic comments as “locker room talk” after an Access Hollywood video was leaked prior to the election.

I don't like to comment on politics publicly. I never feel competent or knowledgeable enough to say something that a thousand more well-informed people haven't already said. However, I feel the need to comment on the language that Donald Trump classified the other day as "locker room talk", given my daily exposure to it. Have I heard comments like Trump's (i.e. sexist, disrespectful, crude, sexually aggressive, egotistical, etc.) in a clubhouse? Yes. But I've also heard some of those same comments other places. Cafes, planes, the subway, walking down the street and even at the dinner table. To generalize his hateful language as "locker room talk" is incredibly offensive to me and the men I share a locker room with every day for 8 months a year. Men of conscience and integrity, who would never be caught dead talking about women in that way. You want to know what "locker room talk" sounds like from my first hand perspective? Baseball talk. Swinging, pitching, home runs, double plays, shifts. The rush of victory and the frustration of defeat. Family talk. Nap schedules for our kids. Loneliness of being on the road so much. Off-season family vacations. And most importantly, coffee talk! The best places to find quality #coldbrew. What's currently brewing on the #aeropress in the empty locker between me and Doug, affectionately known as #CafeStros? How strong do you need it today? Kid wouldn't sleep last night? I'll make it a little stronger for ya. Maybe Mr. Trump does talk like that in his country club locker room. Perhaps he's simply not privy to the kind of conversations that take place in other locker rooms. But as for me and my @astros team, our "locker room talk" sounds absolutely nothing like his. And I couldn't be more proud of that.

A photo posted by Collin McHugh (@cmchugh) on

While some applauded McHugh for his strong words on Saturday, the pitcher was quick to state that he doesn’t consider himself “anti-Trump,” just “anti-bullying and pro-respect.”