The New York Mets introduced Buck Showalter as the team’s manager.
“This is a significant day for the organization,” said Mets general manager Billy Eppler. “Buck is one of the most experienced and accomplished managers in the game. He is the perfect baseball mind to lead this team and usher in the next era of Mets baseball. I look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.”
Mets owner Steve Cohen announced the hiring last Saturday on Twitter:
I’m pleased to announce Buck Showalter as the new manager of the New York Mets
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) December 18, 2021
Showalter has managed the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles, compiling a career record 1,551-1,517. His body of work includes five postseason appearances and winning Manager of the Year three times (1994, 2004, 2014).
You can watch the full press conference below, followed by a transcript of excerpts.
Question: This is a team that over the last few years has had a lot of talents and has just for one reason or another, been unable to get over that hump and kind of transition that talent into wins. Here’s someone who’s been known over your years to take on teams and very quickly, create winning cultures and winning teams. What is it specifically that you think you bring that?
Buck Showalter: Every situation is different and you try to bring what the players need. You try to decide and figure out what the needs are to reach their potential … It’s not about someone adjusting to me, it’s adjusting to the needs of the team and leaning on Sandy and Billy and a lot of people that are here. I think one of the mistakes people make is when they come into a situation to think everything. Isn’t good or it has to be changed. That’s a mistake. There’s quality people here that can be part of it. So, I think slow down and not knee jerk. I’m purposely try to have a real clear mind about every player and trying to make up my own mind about things, but at the same time, lean on people that, that know more than I do.
There’s no magic sprinkled dust. It’s about winning baseball games. Everybody wants to use the word “culture,” but that’s a multifaceted word in my mind and there’s a lot of dynamics that go into that … it’s gotta be a team … what I miss the most is being part of the team and having everybody pulling in the same direction.
Question: You mention the analytics department and you’ve seen the game change a whole lot in your decades in it as a manager. What is your general philosophy on the best way to blend the analytics?
Buck Showalter: There’s a lot of common denominators. The biggest thing that I’m drawn to is teams and situations and organizations that can win consistently. It’s so hard to do, especially winning when you’re expected to win, but the adaption of different methodology. I do look at certain guys without mentioning names and their abilities to do that. I’ll just say this: If somebody thinks that I’m going to go back to the hotel or the house and think that maybe we got beat because someone else used information better than we did or analytics, you don’t know me very well. I’ve always been very spongeable with information to a fault and just like everybody else, I don’t have a corner on it. There’s a lot of smart people in this game, but if you think that I’m going to let somebody beat us by having better analytical information … Well, we’ll show you. I think one of the things a manager has to do is create avenues where every department feels comfortable, and everybody can bring what they bring.
Question: You had success in Baltimore, took the team to the playoffs three times. The last two seasons didn’t end on a great note. What happened at the end?
Buck Showalter: It’s painful when you start seeing something that come together and because of our situation in Baltimore and the way that we had to do it, we knew that there was going to be an end at some point … when we had to start moving players … It was painful. It’s like when you put something together — the whole organization did — and you start seeing it coming to an end, it’s painful, you have to take some bullets along the way in order to get to the end game …
Question: In your decades of experience, how has the job changed in collaboration with the front office? What are your expectations for that here?
Buck Showalter: I think collaboration is a great word. It’s not a new word. The great organizations in any sport have a real connectivity between the general manager, the field staff and the ownership and it’s something that I know is not going to be a challenge here because I know from being around Billy and Sandy. The passion that Steve has for the Mets and the city and the fans was very apparent to me early on within the conversation is the love and passion that Steve and Alex and the things that they’re willing to do to, that’s exciting, but I think the whole relationship. Just about everywhere I’ve been that relationship with the general manager in front of the office has been fun because there’s nothing like being a part of and you get that feeling that everybody’s pulling in the same direction.
Question: Winning a World Series is obviously missing from your resume. Is that the biggest motivator in wanting to get back in the dugout here?
Buck Showalter: You’d like that always to be the end game. It’s not something that is going to define my life, but I can tell you this: It does wake me up every day now, because I think impacting people’s lives … Obviously one of the World Series is what Billy and Sandy and Steve want, or why would I want to do this again? That’s the quick answer. Be the last team standing. You know, it sounds selfish to say that that’s the only reason, and this is an avenue to it. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it as the end game, if you can stay involved in the day-to-day operation and the end game is something that everybody’s successful as a result of it. I understand the job description. The job description isn’t the competitive, or try to win 80 more games than you lose is to be the last team standing. That’s the focus. How do we get better every day? Describe each day and see where it takes you.