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The first Mets manager interviews, Derek Jeter, Clyde King and Sparky Anderson

I don't think many people expected Dave Jauss to get an interview for the Mets' managerial opening; both Jauss and Bob Melvin will meet today with Sandy Alderson. Jauss worked for the Mets for just this past season, and he doesn't have any big-league managing experience.

Jauss is, however, widely respected throughout the game. I remember late this past season, at a Mets game, I ran into a scout who was praising the Mets for their defensive positioning, and he credited Jauss for executing the game plan. In this process, you can learn something from even the long-shot candidates, and at the least, Sandy Alderson can use Jauss to get a better feel for what the Mets' culture was like this past season.

Melvin has to be considered a stronger candidate. Said one official from another NL club of Melvin, "I think he fits what they are looking for." Back when Jerry Manuel was in trouble, last April, I advocated turning to Melvin (a Mets scout) because of his competence. I don't think Melvin is a particularly inspirational figure, but I think he knows what he's doing.

Derek Jeter's agent, Casey Close, responded to Hal Steinbrenner's and Brian Cashman's comments about the upcoming Jeter negotiations. Actually, the comments were pretty tame. Here's how I would respond to Close's response:

1) Close: "Clearly, baseball is a business, and Derek's impact on the sport's most valuable franchise cannot be overstated."

Me: "Yes, it can."

2) Close: "Moreover, no athlete embodies the spirit of a champion more than Derek Jeter."

Me: Wouldn't the true "spirit of a champion" not toot his own horn and implicitly diss other athletes, or even have his agent do so?

After all, what's the difference between that statement and this one: "I know there are 650 or 700 other players who are sleeping this morning. Either that, or they're taking their kids to school. But there's no way they're going to be up running the stairs or doing what I'm doing."

OK, so Alex Rodriguez's statement, back in 2005, was more obnoxious. But not dramatically so.

--Rest in peace, Clyde King. I didn't know Mr. King very well, aside from one or two introductions during spring training. What he represented, though, was the chaos of the George Steinbrenner era. Manager, general manager, pitching coach - the parts were all pretty much interchangeable during The Boss' peak of craziness. King could ride that roller coaster with the best of them.

--And very sad news about Sparky Anderson, who has been placed in hospice care at the way-too-young age of 76. The unfortunate irony is that Sparky, with that white hair, always looked older than his actual age.

What a character of the game he was. He spoke to the national media before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 2 of the 2006 World Series, in Detroit, and you could tell how much he reveled in the spotlight. Best wishes to him and his family.

--Have a great day.

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