SAN DIEGO – They were hired with a lot of noise during the off-season and received high reviews around Major League Baseball for their early work with their new team. Both have won the Manager of the Year award three times, and if things continue, they will be strong candidates in this year’s voting.
Mets manager Buck Showalter and his San Diego Padres colleague Bob Melvin shared a moment in a different setting before they had sheltering peers and fast friends. He came to Yankee Stadium in 1994, when he was a third-year Yankee manager under 37-year-old Schoalter owner George Steinbrenner. Melvin, then 32, was an aging player last season.
“Bobby saved my job,” Scholer said, adding that he had three catchers on the list at the time and was looking for an extra right-handed bat to face a difficult left-handed in May. He came up with the unusual idea of using the lighted Melvin as a designated fighter. “Mr. Steinbrenner was ready to kill me.”
In response to an unusual task, Melvin stopped the three-run home run at the bottom of the first shot of his first game at the Stadium that year against Arthur Rhodes of Baltimore, securing a 5-4 victory.
“When he got that hit, I said thank you, Bobby,” Scholer said.
Standing here at Petco Park on Monday before the opening of the Mets-Padres series – a meeting of the teams with the first and third best records in the National League, where the Mets won 11-5 – Melvin laughed in hyperbole. and 35 big leagues said he didn’t think the end of the home run was over. He remembers it for another reason.
Scholer, Melvin said, “explained to me why I was playing against some kids; This is the first time the manager has done this. ”
In addition, Melvin added, Showalter initially approached him with the idea of playing in the first base. But Melvin’s eyes told the manager that the reserve hunter wasn’t comfortable with that – Showalter still uses what he calls “eye-talking” today – and that’s why Schoalter used him as a designated fighter.
“It was probably harder for a DH like me, the front office, or anyone who had to answer,” Melvin said.
However, their conversation boosted Melvin’s self-confidence, allowed her to fully prepare, and Homer was partly rewarded for Schoalter.
Such moments have always been part of Scholter’s methodology. And for more than 19 seasons, Seattle, Arizona, Oakland, and now San Diego, have never forgotten the lesson that Melvin taught. These days it is carried out regularly.
“He was with us despite being a manager and there was a clear difference,” said Mark Canha, a Mets player who played for Melvin for seven years in Auckland before signing a two-year free agent contract. with the Mets this winter. “It simply came to our notice then. We are together, we are all behind the same thing. There is no motivation for him other than how we won today. ”
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“Relax, okay? Don’t try to put everyone aside. The blows are boring! In addition, they are fascists. Throw some ground balls, it’s more democratic. ”
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Schoelter’s attention to detail is overwhelming, and some of the descendants of the old Yankees are clearly visible with Met’s first-year general manager Billy Eppler. Although the 66-year-old Showalter is 20 years older than Apple, their baseball base is based on the same curriculum in many ways. During Showalter’s Yankees years, Gen Michael was general manager and Bill Livesey was the intelligence director. Brian Cashman was assistant director general. Eppler later worked in the Yankee intelligence department and eventually rose to the position of Cashman’s assistant director general.
According to Apple, Shawalter’s fixation of even the smallest details is familiar.
I know, ‘How much does it cost to go to the playground by bus? What water is on the plane? “It’s just coming to our attention. It’s like, wow. I’m getting a kick out of it. Someone else’s thinking in that direction!”
The showalter said he knew he would work with Eppler because he was a student of Michael and “takes the phone in the first type of call.
“We share the same passion,” Showalter said.
Part of that passion led Scholerter to call the Mets this summer evening on his way home from the Florida complex. At the parking lot in front of the Subway sandwich shop, he said he sat in his car for about an hour in the dark, using the time zone difference to catch up with Melvin in Arizona. Three Mets players – Canha, pitcher Chris Bassitt and outsider Starling Marte – played for Melvin in Auckland and Schoalter had questions.
Melvin, 60, said of slugger Manny Machado, who plays for Showalter in Baltimore, “The time was perfect because I would also call and ask him about Manny.” “It was a long conversation. I think we probably talked a few more times this spring.
Information is the key to building relationships. With an abbreviated spring training with a lockout, Showalter and Melvin tried to get information from as many different sources as possible.
“Mark Canha is a left or left hippie,” Showalter said. “Chris Bassitt is right. Not true, to be honest. However, they are best friends. It’s a great story. Bob said they sit on the plane and talk about politics and other things. I told Bob that if our country was like this – you think so, I think so, let’s talk about it in a civilized way. Takes a picture. You try to hit the kids. “
Melvin, Showalter, said, “He looks at the players and things very similar to what I did.
“We don’t have all the answers,” he said. “We must always remember the end of the game. You may not be able to put your best foot forward tonight to win the next three games.
Last October, the Padres were able to hunt down Oakland’s career leader in management victories, and it was the first signal that the A’s were about to embark on another restructuring project. Melvin is a native of the Gulf Region, a graduate of Cal and wears No. 1 dress. 6 In honor of Sal Bando in Oakland. His separation was more emotional than many thought. But with coaches Ryan Christenson, Matt Williams and Bryan Price, San Diego is quickly recovering. The only blow was missing six games for prostate surgery last month, but Melvin is now back and healthy.
“His communication is the best communication, like telling us where we are and what our expectations are, even coming to us and explaining why he did some of his actions,” he said. Musgrove, the basis of the rotation of the Padres.
In other words, it’s very similar to what Melvin’s old captain once did for him – and he still does today with the Mets.
“I consider him a true friend,” Melvin said of the Showalter. “There are acquaintances in baseball, there are baseball friends. But he’s a guy who talks off the field during the off-season, calls each other, and even calls me when he’s at ESPN. We never went to dinner together, but I consider him a friend. In a baseball game, it’s more than just someone you admire on the field.
Not that there are no differences. Schoalter recently said that his younger sister, Melanie, scolded him: “The organization and the details are great, but you know, sometimes I love spontaneity. Sometimes it’s good to be spontaneous and then. ”
The showalter told the story at the Dodger Stadium’s guest manager’s office over the weekend, knowingly smiling and shrugging. What are you going to do? Tiger can’t change stripes.
Melvin was able to change his position. He has long been a connoisseur of hard candy during games, but only in the first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth shots. In Oakland, the ninth confectionery in 11 years was supposed to be green.
Now? These are just Padres brown barrel beer barrels in the ninth shot.
“And we had two or three trips,” he said. “So it worked.”
Padres actually has four awards, but as the season goes on, like the old Manager of the Year Awards, who counts?