Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pumping my own stuff

So I had a whopping two articles in today's paper, including my first sports story on new Mets manager, Jerry Manuel. I also had this story about God-forsaken IKEA.

But while I'm on the Mets, I felt like I should criticize the always quick-to-call-for someone's-head media of New York. Yes, Willie Randolph hadn't done a good job so far this season (and for that matter since about June of last season). But I think firing him was clearly just a rebuttal to the mounting pressure on Omar Minaya and the Mets ownership. Is Jerry Manuel (basically a career .500 manager who has one good season and no playoff wins under his belt) really going to help? I don't think so.

It's just shocking to me that the Mets are going to desperate measures when they are just 6.5 games out of first place in the NL East (with 11 games remaining against NL East leader Philadelphia). If I were to fire Randolph, it would have been a few weeks ago when the Mets were really floundering.

Tim Marchman of the New York Sun was the first New York columnist to openly call for Slick Willie's axing back on May 2nd:

For a full year now, nearly no one on the Mets has done that. Wednesday's shameful 13-1 loss to the wretched Pittsburgh Pirates was the pitch-perfect demonstration of the depths to which this team, which a year ago was so vibrant and so promising, has managed to sink. When Oliver Perez walks five in 1.2 innings; when Jose Reyes fails to cover a base on a routine play, and when a strong lineup manages two hits against one pitcher who came into the game with a 13/22 K/BB ratio and another who was a hitter coming out of college and whose two shutout innings lowered his career ERA to 8.74, something is terribly, desperately wrong. These are not random failures of talent, but unforgivable errors of concentration and execution.

At the time, I agreed wholehearted with Marchman, but as of late the Mets had shown signs of turning this thing around. Reyes started hitting, Pedro was working his way back from injury, Johan is beginning to look like his dominant self, and they were only 6.5 games out!

To be fair, maybe the players had grown accustomed to Willie and a change was needed. And there is the precedent of the 2003 World Series champion Florida Marlins, who had midseason replacement manager, Jack McKeon, lead them to a remarkable resurgence. A lot of media types are applauding the actual move, while deriding the way it was executed (I kind of wish I was awake and on the Mets' press release list because that would have been an awesome e mail to get. Nothing will ever pass the "Brent Petway was the second overall selection in the Harlem Globetrotters' draft email I got last summer, though).

I really don't know what to think about this move, except that it's pretty lateral. I'm fairly certain Jerry Manuel will do no better than Willie Randolph did this year. I think the players, if they perform up to their capabilities, have enough talent to turn this season around.

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