PORT ST. LUCIE – The consensus among the Mets is that Buck Showalter deserves Dusty Baker’s moment as a sexagenarian World Series champion.
“It would be incredible. It would be a dream come true for me and the Bucks and the city of New York,” Pete Alonso said through a club spokesman before leaving for the WBC.
Astros players were ecstatic for Baker after beating the Phillies and giving their 73-year-old manager his first championship.
Now, the Mets’ Showalter, 67 years young, 46 years in professional baseball, is the most active MLB manager never to win a World Series.
“When you play with a guy who cares about you more as a person than a baseball player, that’s hard to find these days,” said Daniel Vogelbach in the Mets’ clubhouse. “It’s hard to find someone who cares about you as a human being the way Buck does, and how much time he spends on this game and how much time he spends on us as people.
“So I think everyone here would say it would be pretty special to see him being the manager of the last team he was.”
Mookie Wilson was the guest lecturer Wednesday, symbolizing the Mets’ last championship in 1986.
Buck Showalter of the Mets is still looking for his first World Series as a manager.Corey Sipkin for the NY Post
Steve Cohen-led ownership has emptied the marquee of stars, but arguably the best hire ahead of the 2022 season was the manager.
Who said Dusty Baker about finally winning it all: “Glad. If it couldn’t be us, that’s what I would want. It didn’t have to happen to secure his career.”
Andy Reid was 61 when he finally won the first of two Super Bowls with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Showalter doesn’t need a ring to validate a 1,652-1,578-1 career.
“It’s about the players,” Showalter always says. “I want it for them. I’m not going to validate that in my life…but I am because of the relationships you’re trying to have with them and wanting them not to make the same mistakes you did. You do it with a pure heart, without an agenda…everyone is someone’s son. Treat them as you would want your children to be treated.”
Forever Young is like Uncle Buck to its players.
“A guy who’s been around for a long time, and has all these accomplishments,” said Luis Guillorme, “not winning a World Series, it doesn’t seem right.
Buck Showalter talks with Pete Alonso before a spring training game.Corey Sipkin for the NY Post
“That would be really cool for us to be the team that makes it happen.”
Showalter does what great managers and coaches can do: create an environment where excellence is demanded and won. His beautiful baseball mind never stops working. His attention to detail is legendary.
“He has so much passion for the game, he puts so much spin on the game, I know every guy out here would love to win one,” Brandon Nimmo said.
Showalter can be asking his players about their families one minute, and the next sitting as the smartest man in baseball.
Buck Showalter talks with Mets great David Wright during spring training.Corey Sipkin for the NY Post
“It’s hard to imagine a person who puts as much into his work as Buck does, puts as much thought into it…to be able to return the favor to a guy like that would be amazing,” Mark Canha said.
Asked how many wins Showalter is worth in one season, Canha mused, “You’re wondering what his manager WAR is? Immeasurable, we’d say.”
Nimmo: “You should talk to our analytics department about it to find out what their management WAR is.”
Showalter has a unique New York temperament.
“He’s honest, and I think that’s the one thing every player wants in a coach, to be honest with you and tell you exactly what’s going on,” Guillorm said.
And showing up every day as Everyman.
“It never goes by without asking how you’re doing,” Vogelbach said. “He cares about your feelings. He realizes that this game is very hard. It’s nice to have someone who has your back and you can feel Buck’s back every day.”
And they have theirs.