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Jerry Manuel - Not Injuries - Is Responsible for the Unwatchability of the 2009 NY Mets

posted Jul 11, 2009, 1:19 PM by Steven Seagal   [ updated Jul 13, 2009, 2:57 PM ]
The commonly accepted narrative around the baseball world is that the devastating round of injuries suffered by the 2009 NY Mets is to blame for the team's dismal performance.  To a very large extent, this is true.  But poor performance is not what makes the NY Mets unwatchable - a complete lack of heart, fire, guts, grit and comraderie amongst the players is the culprit.  And that falls squarely on the manager's shoulders.

This team shows about as much heart as Donovan McNabb in a pre-season game.  It is reminiscent of the 2008 NY Yankees - similarly devastated by injuries, they gave up for a long stretch of the season.  That team found its balls at some point, and, despite ultimately falling short, at least made things interesting in September.  I can only hope that this Mets team can do the same.

Every game is the same.  I watch a triple A lineup parade to the plate one by one like lambs lead to the slaughter.  They have their heads down on the way TO the plate.  They sulk.  They don't run out balls.  I want to fucking smack them.  In the field, it's even worse.  Watching any of these outfielders go back on a ball is excrutiating.  They circle, stumble, trip, take terrible routes - a true circus act.  Then, they miss the cutoff man or throw to the wrong bases.  It's like a fundamentals nightmare.  The infield seems to boot more ground balls than they field.  If they do manage to come up cleanly with it, they throw the ball away or make poor decisions and throw to the wrong base.  They forget the cardinal rule to at least get one out, and often end up getting none.  I think the only phrase I hear more often than "...And David Wright goes down [swinging/looking]" is "...and everybody is safe."  When the Mets are in the field, that is, for the latter.

These are the expressions I'm used to.  And who IS that guy on the left?

I like Jerry Manuel.  I think he has the chops and the fire to turn this team around, but he inexplicably has gone soft on this team.  I want my manager demanding accountability - not just from players, but from his coaching staff.  How it is that heads haven't rolled in response to such a fundamentally unsound team, I simply don't understand.  Jerry needs to clean house.  And maybe Jerry should go, too, if he can't pull up his skirt, grab his nuts, and put a hurting on this team.  I'm not prepared to say that he can't - only that he hasn't.

Ideally, the Mets would fire the entire coaching staff, Jerry included, and go with a Manager-By-Committee of the 1986 Championship NY Mets Team.  Rumor has it that Ron Darling was so furious in the broadcast booth after Luis Castillo dropped the routine fly ball against the Yankees, costing us a win, that he threw his headset and went on something of a rampage - a feeling with which this columnist is familiar (yes - it's blood, and yes - it's a direct result of that same play.  And yes - it's still there.).  Bobby Ojeda is like a man on the edge during the postgame show on SNY, and looks like he's one second away from a murder-spree at all times.  Darryl Strawberry used to rip seats of out of airplanes on the Mets' charter flights.  Lenny Dykstra has just declared bankruptcy.  Ray Knight once started a bench clearing brawl by punching a guy in the face on the basepaths because he didn't like the way he slid into third.  Doc Gooden - well, everyone knows about the Doc.  Ho-Jo is already the batting coach.  Sid Fernandez refused to believe that the WWF was fake.  Keith has an awesome mustache.  I could go on, there are a wealth of personalities that would be ideal in a rotating manager position.

In any event, I'm just so demoralized because I can get behind a team and be excited watching them as long as they follow through with the basics and show some heart - regardless of whether they have a shot in hell of winning a game on any given night.  That's all I'm asking for, and I don't think that's too much to demand from a major league ballclub.  I have a sneaking suspicion that they may find out it's easier to win games if you practice fundamentals and are actually awake during the game.

I hate to say it, but I'm not optimistic.  Jerry shows no signs of holding this team accountable, and unless he starts sometime very soon, you're going to see that Countdown to the NFL spring up on the sidebar sooner rather than later.

UPDATE:  During my photo hunt (not erotic) for this story, I stumbled upon the headline "Cora Takes Out Frustration on Erin Andrews" carried by the NY Post blog, The Back Page (I'm not sure if I'm referring to this right - I don't know if it's a blog, a portion of the Post itself, or whatever, but who cares?) "Finally!" I thought, "just when I thought this team couldn't show any passion, Cora goes out and beats a woman!  A woman reporter, no less!  A hot woman reporter!  Incredible!  The team is saved!"  Alas, the story is about Cora hitting Andrews in the chin with a foul ball - inviting all sorts priceless of balls-on-Andrews'-chin references.  Still a terrific event.  And most terrific of all is the Post's coverage of it.  The only thing it's missing is the aforementioned balls on chin joke.  Check it out:

Cora takes out frustration on Erin Andrews

The Mets New York Mets haven't been winning and Alex Cora hasn't been hitting, but that is no reason for him to go after Erin Andrews this way.


ESPN's beauty was hit in the chin by a Cora foul line drive in the fourth inning of last night's Mets-Dodgers game. Andrews was taken to the hospital a few innings later and it turned out the ball only caused a bruise.

Andrew's chin is about the only thing the Cora has been making contact with lately. The Mets starting shortstop (sigh) is 9-for-54 (.167) since June 23.