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Mets should bring back Curtis Granderson in an off-the-field role

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 14: Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets watches the flight of his third inning home run against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 14, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 14: Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets watches the flight of his third inning home run against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 14, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Curtis Granderson would be a great fit for the New York Mets in a role behind the scenes.

When Curtis Granderson spoke in his introductory press conference as a member of the New York Mets, he uttered the following phrase that endeared him to Mets fans everywhere: “A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans. So I’m excited to get a chance to see them all out there.”

Given that the Mets often hire alumni for non-playing roles, I see no reason why the recently retired Granderson can’t continue his baseball career with the Mets in some capacity, either on SNY or in the front office.

Granderson signed a four-year deal with the Mets as soon as his prior contract with the Yankees was up. Though Mets fans are sometimes hesitant to embrace former Yankees when they come to Queens, the Flushing faithful quickly warmed up to Granderson and his big-hearted approach to playing baseball. Granderson enjoyed three-and-a-half solid years with the Mets, particularly in 2015 when he was a Gold Glove finalist (the most recent one for the Mets) and finished 18th in NL MVP voting.

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He raised his off-the-field status from “nice guy” to “social media guru” when he launched the Instagram account “We Follow Lucas Duda” in 2015.

This account was dedicated to sharing highlights of the reserved Duda with the public, and was a huge success with fans of the Amazins.

Granderson also provided public service in other ways as a Met. In 2016, he won the prestigious Roberto Clemente award, given annually to one MLB player who “best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.”

Granderson has donated to numerous charities throughout his career, runs his own non-profit called the Grand Kids Foundation, and donated $5 million to the construction of a new baseball stadium at his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago.

If the Mets are looking to re-hire a former player who has represented their team wonderfully with both on-field play and off-the-field work, Granderson is that guy.

In January 2020, Granderson announced that he was retiring from playing baseball after 16 major league seasons. He didn’t stay away from the game for long, joining the TBS studio crew for this year’s postseason. His pre- and post-game analysis for the American League playoffs was insightful and entertaining in every game, and he had a friendly rapport with fellow players-turned-studio analysts Pedro Martinez and Jimmy Rollins.

Granderson’s natural presence in front of the camera would make him a perfect fit in the SNY studio, alongside former teammates Anthony Recker and Jerry Blevins. He would also provide SNY with yet another link to the glory days of the 2015 playoff run. Until the Mets make a new run at the postseason, SNY may as well load up on ties to the last truly great season that the Amazins had.

If anyone is wondering where else Granderson may fit within the organization, he has stated publicly that he has no desire to be a manager or coach. He noted this on WFAN last fall when the Mets were still in the midst of their first managerial search of the 2019/2020 offseason.

Granderson cited both the lack of job security (“Watching how the turnover continues to happen, even when you win, you’re still not safe”) and lack of autonomy (“If we’re going to let the general manager have so much say in the lineup, then pre and post-game have them also do the interviews with the manager”) as reasons why he would never manage.

Even if he does not want to manage or coach, I still believe Granderson should have some role in the future with this franchise. David Wright has settled nicely into a front office role since retiring from playing after the 2018 season. Though Wright’s Mets tenure was much longer than Granderson’s, both had long, successful MLB careers and would be a valuable asset to any MLB front office. If Steve Cohen does end up getting approved as the Mets’ new owner, he would immediately endear himself to Mets fans by keeping Granderson on in a front office-related position.

Both on the field and off, Granderson has been an outstanding MLB ambassador for the better part of two decades. He knows baseball inside and out, easily connects with fans, and is highly respected by his fellow players. I sincerely hope that he wants to stay involved in baseball in some capacity for years to come. I also hope he knows that Mets fans would love it if he returned to Queens to hang around the roster and inject some postseason gravitas into the hungry young core of this Mets team.

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Granderson has the charitable reputation, respected playing career, and engaging personality to stay a “beloved former Met” for a long time. The Amazins are trending towards better days ahead with their current roster and ownership prospects. Whether it is on TV or in the front office, Granderson would be the perfect Mets alum to bridge past success with hope for the future.

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