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Nolan Ryan, Hal Steinbrenner, Wally Backman, the AL Cy Young Award and expanded playoffs

Very busy day here, with everyone headed home. As I type, the Mets are interviewing Terry Collins. Wally Backman already departed.

Ah, let's start with Backman: His interview was quick. About an hour. I think bringing Backman back was as much about introducing him to Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi as actually considering him for the Mets' manager job.

Of course, Backman understandably didn't see it that way. When I asked him whether the Mets brought up the idea of working in the minor leagues again, Backman said, "I’m not even looking at that right now. I was in there for one reason. That’s to manage the Mets."

He described it as "a good meeting. A very good meeting." Of course, we're still waiting for the day when someone says, "Man, that meeting sucked. What a waste of time!"

--Here's my story on Rangers president Nolan Ryan, who conceded that his team can't outbid the Yankees for Cliff Lee if the Yankees are determined enough to get him. And the Yankees are determined enough to get him.

--Hal Steinbrenner was a good sport as he dealt with a pack of media following him, the sort of occurrence that his dad would've referred to as "Thursday." The Yankees' head man said he was pleased with the tenor of negotiations with Derek Jeter, but look: This is tense. We knew it was going to be tense. And it will be resolved, eventually.

Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees will make their initial offer to Jeter shortly, for three years and about $45 million.

--Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award. Good. We're learning over at the BBWAA.

--Bud Selig said that his special committee for on-field matters will meet in December at the winter meetings, held here in Orlando, to discuss expanded playoffs. I think it's a slam-dunk that the second wild-card format will be in place for the 2012 season.

What remains unclear is what the format will for that "wild-card round." Either one and done, or best of three? I'd go with one and done so that the division champions aren't sitting around for a week.

--UPDATE, 4:35 p.m.: The Mets have completed their interview process. Sandy Alderson reiterated that the team officials will take a few days to mull it over, and Alderson has his father's memorial Saturday.

I had never met Terry Collins before, but he stopped to speak with reporters for a few minutes. Man, he is intense. To the point of being off-putting.

He wound up taking questions about various chapters in his past - the 1999 Angels, his time managing in Japan (the Orix Buffaloes for 2007 and part of 2008) and his DUI. He didn't really want to delve on any of them, however.

I'd personally vote for Melvin, with Chip Hale staying on staff. But I think Collins, backed by Paul DePodesta and liked by the Wilpons, still ranks as a very strong candidate.

 

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