Why have just one manager when you can have them all?
That seemed to be the Mets philosophy Wednesday evening, as they navigated the night without Buck Showalter, who announced that he was undergoing a medical procedure and intended to be back by Thursday. But with the natural successor — bench coach Glenn Sherlock — on baseball’s COVID-19 injured list, the Mets found themselves in the peculiar position of not having any one person in the dugout making all the decisions.
Hitting coach Eric Chavez was tagged with exchanging lineup cards with Giants manager Gabe Kapler before the game.
Manager by committee, the team called it (though everyone pretty much acknowledged there was no way Showalter would have left them without…let’s say detailed…directions).
“I’m sure he had those talks with other people, because he’s not just going to say, ‘see you later’ and just leave us all hanging,” Pete Alonso said before the game. “He just let us know, hey, I’m not going to be here tomorrow. I’ll be back on Thursday…He gave pretty much the marching orders, so everybody knows their job, so I think we’ll be alright today.”
Alonso said it’s actually not the first time he’s had this happen in his career. When he was in the minors, his manager had to leave to deal with a family issue and the rest of the coaching staff took over. Also, it’s not like Showalter manages in a vacuum — he still consults with his other coaches and the analytics department.
And though manager by committee is something of a peculiar strategy — no pregame press conference, no lineup until 40 minutes before the game — it’s also not completely foreign to major-league baseball. In the early 1960s, the Cubs went with a “College of Coaches,” an eight-man committee meant to counteract the fact that the team was objectively terrible (it didn’t work).
Regardless, don’t expect this to be any sort of regular occurrence. Showalter is too much of a gamer to miss games unless he absolutely has to, Alonso noted.
“He’s such an old-school baseball guy,” Alonso said. “He loves being at the yard and I know for him, it’s probably a little bit difficult, but I know he’s going to be right back at it again on Thursday, so it’ll be good and I just want to wish him well.”
Taijuan Walker (right shoulder bursitis) tossed 45 pitches in three innings in an extended spring training game in Jupiter, the Mets announced. Walker will travel to Arizona to be with the team at the end of the week as the Mets decide on the next steps in his rehab.
Mark Canha, who landed on the COVID-19 injured list ahead of Friday’s home opener, cleared baseball’s health & safety protocols, played left and batted sixth Wednesday. Of the team’s on-field personnel, only Sherlock remains on the list. To make room for Canha, infielder Matt Reynolds was designated for assignment. Additionally, righthander Jake Reed was reinstated from the 10-day IL and optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.