Buck Showalter the ‘right guy’ for Mets job: Bobby Valentine

One of the most successful managers in Mets history says the organization got it right in hiring Buck Showalter.

“He’s a quality baseball guy and manager,” Bobby Valentine told The Post on Wednesday. “I like his baseball acumen. I like his passion. I think he was the right guy for the job.”

The 65-year-old Showalter was hired by the Mets this week, ending the search for Luis Rojas’ replacement. Showalter’s selection came over two finalists without managerial experience in Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro and Astros bench coach Joe Espada.

Valentine, who managed the Mets to the 2000 World Series, has a deep respect for Showalter from their days competing from opposing dugouts. Showalter in the late 1990s had departed the Yankees and was guiding the expansion Diamondbacks. Valentine, meanwhile, was helping orchestrate a Mets resurgence that included beating Showalter’s team in the 1999 NLDS — highlighted by Todd Pratt’s walk-off homer to win the series.

After Showalter was fired in Arizona, following the 2000 season, Valentine gauged Showalter’s interest in joining his staff as the Mets’ bench coach. Showalter instead headed to ESPN for his first of two stops with the network. During the latter stint one of his broadcast teammates was Valentine, who in 2010 wasn’t shy about telling the Orioles they should hire Showalter for their managerial vacancy.

Ex-Mets manager Bobby Valentine has a deep respect for the newest one, Buck Showalter, hired this week.
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“I worked with Buck in TV and I recommended him to the owners of the Orioles before he got the job, so I think he’s a quality baseball guy and manager — no doubt about that,” Valentine said.

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The two last managed against each other during Valentine’s ill-fated comeback with the Red Sox in 2012. Valentine was fired after only one season. But from a tactical standpoint, Valentine and Showalter are regarded among the best to have managed in the last 25 years.

“We both have the same passion,” Valentine said. “I think we go about things a little differently and that’s just personal style. But our core beliefs are pretty similar. How you get to where you are going, you can get there in a Ferrari or get there in a SUV or you can take a Greyhound bus, as long as you get going to the same place I think it’s OK.”
Showalter’s previous New York experience figures to serve him well with the Mets, but Valentine also cautioned that times have changed.

“The New York experience is different from when he was here, so there is a lot of adjusting and the core to anyone’s success today, and the COVID world is teaching us that by the minute, is you have to be able to adjust,” Valentine said. “How he adjusts his everything to make things work will determine the degree of success he has, but I think he is smart enough to adjust.”

Valentine was asked to clarify how the New York experience has changed since Showalter’s tenure with the Yankees.

“The whole thing is different,” Valentine said. “There is really nothing off the record anymore. You never get to put the genie back in the bottle with any slips or thoughts or looks. Your body language today is scrutinized. It’s not only words, it’s tones and feelings and correctness and it’s just different and you have to continue to adjust.”

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