PORT ST. LUCIE — It’s universal among the Mets that Buck Showalter deserves his Dusty Baker moment as the 60-year-old World Series champion.
“It would be amazing. It would be a dream come true for me and for Buck and for New York City,” Pete Alonso said through a club spokesperson before leaving for the WBC.
The Astros players were thrilled for Baker after beating the Phillies and giving their 73-year-old manager his first championship.
Now the Mets’ Showalter, 46 in pro baseball, 67, is MLB’s winningest active manager to never win a World Series.
“When you’re playing for a guy who cares more about you as a person than as a baseball player, that’s hard to find these days,” Daniel Vogelbach said in the Mets clubhouse. “It’s hard to find someone who cares about you as a human like Buck does, and the time he spends on this game and the time he spends on us as people.
“So I think everyone here would say that seeing him be the manager of the team that was the last team standing would be pretty special.”
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Who said this about Dusty Baker finally winning it all: “Ecstatic. If it couldn’t be us, that’s who I would want it to be. It didn’t need to happen to validate his career for sure.
Andy Reid was 61 when he finally won his first of two Super Bowls with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Showalter doesn’t need a ring to validate a 1,652-1,578-1 career.
“It’s about the players,” Showalter always says. “I want it for them. I’m not going to see my life validated by this…but I’m about to because of relationships and the impact you’re trying to have on them that you want them to not make the same mistakes you did . You do it with a pure heart, without an agenda… they’re all somebody’s son. Treat them as you would like your sons to be treated.
Forever Young, he looks more like Uncle Buck to his players.
“A guy who’s been around for so long and has all these accomplishments he’s got,” Luis Guillorme said, “not having won a World Series, that doesn’t seem fair.
“It would be pretty cool for us to be the team that makes that happen for him.”
Showalter does what great managers and coaches are capable of: demanding excellence and creating an environment conducive to victory. His beautiful baseball spirit never stops working. His attention to detail is legendary.
“He has such a passion for the game, he gives so much to the game that I know every guy here would love to win one for him,” Brandon Nimmo said.
Showalter can ask his players about their families one minute and sit in the dugout as the smartest man in baseball the next.
“It’s hard to imagine a person who puts so much into his job as Buck does, so much thought…to be able to reciprocate a guy like that would be amazing,” said Mark Canha.
Asked how many wins Showalter is worth in a season, Canha cracked up: “Are you asking me who is his WAR manager? Immeasurable, shall we say.
Nimmo: “You may need to talk to our analytics department to find out what his managerial WAR is.”
Showalter has the perfect balanced temperament for New York.
“He’s honest, and I think that’s the one thing every player wants in a manager, to be honest with you and tell you exactly what’s going on,” Guillorme said.
And show up every day as Everyman.
“He never passes without asking you how you are,” Vogelbach said. “He cares about how you feel. He realizes that this game is very hard. It’s nice to have someone supporting you at close range and you can feel Buck supporting you every day.
And they have his.