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Wally Backman and Derek Jeter are lightning rods. Just sayin'.

There are days when, as I near a certain age, I marvel at how the world has changed.

Yesterday, before lunch, I got a tip that the Yankees had expressed interest in Mets LOOGY Pedro Feliciano. I immediately put it on Twitter, and I and the two men with whom I was talking saw it emerge on our respective Blackberries. Within minutes, it would be on MLBTradeRumors.com, which has become an authoritative clearing house on these sorts of stories.

"When we were just starting," I said to the two men, "that nugget of information wouldn't have seen the light of day until the next day's newspaper came out."

In conjunction with these changes has come a radical evolution in the way I communicate with the customers, if you will. Thanks to this blog, e-mails and Twitter, I have at least a small sample size of how fans feel about certain issues. Sure, it requires an extra passion to reach out to a sportswriter, but that's not a bad thing by any stretch.

To get to the point already, it never ceases to amaze me how certain figures generate such strong reactions. And right now, in the New York baseball universe, two figures dominate: As the headline said, they are Wally Backman and Derek Jeter.

Goodness me, is there a segment of Mets fans that wants Backman to be the manager. I'm surprised, although maybe I shouldn't be. To me, the general manager hiring was much more important than the manager hiring, and the Mets already aced that test with the Sandy Alderson hiring.

And let me put it this way: If Alderson actually chooses Backman to be the Mets' manager in 2011 - we know now that Backman is a finalist - it would blow me away, and it would change my entire outlook of Alderson. For it would mean that Alderson kowtowed to the Wilpons, after coming in with the notion that there was a new sheriff in town.

I just don't think it's going to happen. And I think that's a good thing. If Backman continues to be the good soldier and rises through the Mets' minor-league chain? Then let's talk in two or three years? Not now, though, at this critical juncture for the Mets.

It seems there's a segment of Mets fans that absolutely don't want Backman, yet they're more likely to show up here on the blog, or on Amazin' Avenue, than fire off an angry e-mail to me.

As for Jeter, my inbox has been more mixed. I've gotten a fair balance of the "Don't you understand this man is an icon?!" dispatches and the "Three years and $57 million? Are you out of your mind?!" arguments. At least from my small sample, there appears to be a contingent of Yankees fans that fears a post-1964 meltdown redux.

I don't think that's a valid fear; the Yankees' farm system is pretty good. But I do think there needs to be a level of pragmatism with these Jeter negotiations, and as I wrote in today's story, the talks figure to take a good amount of time still before they're done. Joel Sherman wrote a very good column today about the entire Jeter dynamic

Are more Yankees fans less emotional toward their beloved player because of the club's recent success? Or because, in Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, they see the dangers of committing too long to players past their prime?

Or, am I drawing unfair conclusions?

I don't know. All I know for sure is that any opinion on Backman or Jeter will not go unchecked, not for a moment. Which is awesome. Progress is good.

--The tradition of GMs' meetings, since they're so early in the calendar, is to complain about the lack of activity. This year, though, people have to stop themselves, thanks to the Dan Uggla trade and John Buck signing.

Even agents are amazed that Buck got so much money from Florida. 

--Live chat Friday at noon. We'll go over what transpired here at the meetings. We'll also give out a "Live Chat MVP" award for the person who asks the best questions. It's something we like to do here.

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