Wednesday, April 14, 2010
It's not Funny, Jerry
While listening to Jerry Manuel give his interview to Mike Francesa this afternoon, I started to forget that the Mets were 2-5 (which would become 2-6 within hours). As Jerry kept tripping over his own words, cackling like he was high, and saying "you right, haha, you right" at least 20 times, the team on the field was all of a sudden not my biggest worry.
Before today's interview, I knew Jerry was a sub-par Manager. I knew he would often laugh stuff off, either as a defense mechanism or in an attempt to endear himself to the tough New York scribes. Today, he finally lost it. And in turn, the Mets fans who listened to his babbling mess late this afternoon have lost it as well...they've lost any last shred of patience they had for Jerry Manuel.
Mets fans are passionate, knowledgeable, and let losses interfere with their mood - often to the detriment of their daily responsibilities. We almost care too much, and having a Manager who lacks any tactical skill laughing his ass off about the state of a 2-5 team is unacceptable. And this determination was made before Jerry Manuel made himself look like a complete imbecile during the 10th inning of tonight's loss to the Rockies in Colorado.
This isn't about the team anymore. The Mets are 2-6, and that hurts. What hurts more, is the fact that they had a chance to win the game tonight, and it was sabotaged over and over again by their own Manager.
With one out in the 10th and Mike Jacobs representing the go-ahead run on 2nd base, Manuel pinch ran for him...after the count to Rod Barajas was 2-2. Instead of pinch running with Alex Cora, he pinch ran with Fernando Tatis - taking the bat out of the hands of the best pinch hitter he had left on the bench. After Barajas made out, the Rockies brought in a lefty to face Cora. Instead of countering that move and using Henry Blanco (since he had already needlessly used Tatis to run), Manuel let Cora hit. And Cora hit it to 2nd base for the 3rd out. Incredible.
In the bottom of the 10th, Manuel turned to Jenrry Mejia, who was pitching on back to back nights. It was the perfect spot for Francisco Rodriguez, who didn't pitch last night, and has the stamina to pitch two innings. Manuel went with Jenrry, though, and the kid served up the game winning homer.
There's nothing to be mad at Mejia for. He's a 20 year old kid who grooved a fastball in the thin air of Colorado and paid for it. There's nothing to be mad at Cora for. He's a backup infielder, and shouldn't have been the go to guy with the go ahead runs on base in the 10th. The anger all goes to Jerry. On a night when the team fought for a win, he put them in position to lose.
If most of the fan base had a choice, Manuel would've been fired after 2008. He wasn't. 2009 and the injuries weren't Manuel's fault, but that doesn't excuse the fact that he's a terrible Manager. The first 8 games of this year prove nothing about the Mets and where they'll end up. But if this team ever managed to get hot and fight their way to the Playoffs, Manuel would be there, ready to sabotage them with his incompetence.
It's time for ownership to step up and fire Jerry. He's a perfectly nice man, but a painfully bad Manager. Wally Backman would be a great replacement, but the Mets probably want him to prove himself in Brooklyn first. Bobby Valentine would be a phenomenal choice, and Ken Oberkfell would be a wise choice as well. A name the fans and media don't seem to be mentioning much is Tim Teufel, who's been quietly moving up the ranks in the Mets' Minor League system. Any one of those four would do.
What won't do, and what will slowly drive the rest of the fans away, is ownership forcing the fan base to watch a team that's run by a Manager who doesn't seem to know what he's doing - who laughs off his problems and the team's issues instead of doing something about them.