The knock on Jerry Manuel in Chicago when he managed the White Sox was that as soon as things got a little bit hairy for him, he started throwing players under the bus. He pointed fingers so fast in Chicago's SouthSide that he looked like Neo in the Matrix.
: D ...don't mind me.
Fast forward to 2009. I or anybody else never understood what Ryan Church did to Jerry Manuel to get himself in Jerry's doghouse, but Church was a permanent resident. He did have a game where he failed to touch third as he rounded the bag...etc etc. The real rub stemmed from Church's post concussion syndrome. Manuel interpreted the symptoms otherwise if at all and basically viewed Ryan Church as a malingerer. If you're asking me, Church was being scape-goated for the team's troubles. Ramon Castro, back-up catcher, was also being scape-goated by Manuel, if you're asking me. He was suffering nagging injuries and it rubbed Manuel the wrong way. But in a year lost to injury all around, Church and Castro were identified by Manuel as malcontents because they showed a backbone against Jerry, who instigated Omar to trade them. Regardless of opinions about the trades, that's the way it went down.
Just in this last week alone, there are three current Mets that if they're not finding themselves under a bus, are speaking in open defiance of their manager.
A leap off the side walk into an on coming bus ~ CASE ONE:
John "RAIN" Maine; - After John Maine's performance Tuesday night, among other things broached by reporters, and offered up by Manuel, was John Maine's status in the starting rotation needed to be re-evaluated. It warranted concern and perhaps a change may be needed is the way I summarize it. He said they needed to have a discussion. Things started going terribly wrong that same night with the "He said, She said". A Mets' beat reporter, kept Manuel's comments in mind and yesterday asked John Maine if he was feeling better about Jerry Manuel's decision to keep him in the rotation. (revised decision = Jerry decided Maine should pitch when his turn comes around again. He hinted maybe a change was warranted Tuesday night, then decided Maine would stay in turn yesterday, all before or ever saying anything to John Maine since Manuel made his comments the previous night.) John Maine was taken back by the reporter's question saying he didn't even know taking him out of the rotation was even an option!
Uh - OH! A short time later on the Wednesday afternoon, John Maine was seen making a B-line into the manager's office. The team said it was a scheduled meeting. So now guess what the latest plan is? After pitching coach Dan Warthen and Maine looked over tapes and "stuff" (yea STUFF - because these guys are ponderous!) John Maine insisted he was going back to his old way of pitching and reverting to his style and abandoning the team's edict of concentrating on throwing strikes to minimize the big inning. It's their thinking folks...Not Mine! He said his style is fastballs high in the zone. John Maine must know something we don't because he needs to make up about 4 to 5 mph on his fastball to be taken seriously. Does he think those 5 mph are just going to come because he's abandoning the old plan? The team's concept is low in the zone and strikes. For a change I don't think it's the club's fault this kid is coming in at 88mph, but the lack of communication is. But John Maine has stated he is done with the Met's plan and he practically said it in those words. Me? I like the attitude, but no one is going to like the results. His 88 mph fastball looks like a grapefruit right now.
And lastly....Dan Warthen? C'mon with this guy. I wouldn't trust him to mail a letter for me. Rick Peterson was arrogant and instigated the Scott Kazmir trade, but we replaced him with Dan Warthen? And he's still here? Someone...Please?
CASE TWO: Jose Reyes ~ has stated over and over his reluctance to hit third in the line-up. Jerry Manuel has flirted with that idea for two years now has said Jose Reyes will be batting third when they open the series with the Cardinals in St. Louis. These two still have not seemed to reach a middle ground and Reyes continues to verbalize his displeasure with the idea. It appears to be item number two where a player is in open defiance of the manager.
CASE NUMBER THREE: Johan Santana ~ Monday the 12th was an off-day/travel day. Jerry Manuel flipped the rotation for the upcoming St. Louis series choosing to start HAIL (aka Oliver Perez) Friday, thereby giving Johan an added day off and not having him pitch after his normal 4 days off. Manuel said the extra day off would serve Johan well. Johan Santana responded to this move by saying, "There are times when you feel a little beat up and need the time to rest. This is not one of those times." This isn't something I would classify as an incident. It's just a drifting scent in the air of something that is turning sour.
I'm not hinting at anything. Am I? I'm just bringing you up to date on what's been going on and the reputation that followed Jerry out of Chicago. That's all. This is not a Fire Manuel Rant....is it? I think not.
Buses? Dangerous. Trolleys? Safe.
****Elsewhere in METropolis****
Remember that Great January the Mets had? Yea! Neither do I. In January the Mets signed two pitchers; Kelvim Escobar and R.A. Dickey.
R.A. Dickey. *sigh*
****The very latest in METropolis****
Sleet (aka - Jon Niese) pitched unimpressively Wednesday night to a no decision after the Mets got him off the hook by tying the game in the 9th inning. They wound up loosing the game on a walk-off HR in the 10th but what the hey... Unfortunately he did separate himself from his name a little more with this outing and the Mets ensured they'd loose their third straight series to start the season. Sorry kid. It's the WeatherBoyz (starting rotation) that concern me, not blowing Wednesday's game in extra innings.
Here's the SLEET line:
5 innings pitched
5 runs, 5 earned
1 home run
He's a youngster and I'm taking it easy on him. Keep at it Rook.
Today! The Colorado mound was the EAST and MIKE PELFREY was the Sun!! He was marvelous. He threw 7 shut-out innings today salvaging one game for the Mets in the last game of this series. He struck out 6 and walked none, gave up 5 hits and earned his second victory in as many tries. Atta' boy Mike!
They head to St. Louis now sporting a 3-6 record for the season. If they want to finish this road trip at .500 they need to take two of three from the Cardinals. Let me see....Next in line are HAIL, Johan and another dose of RAIN. But Rain promised he's going to be new and improved this time. I'll get back to you on that. We may have to re-name him yet again to REBEL.
****Tonight's Final Words of METrospection****
Assistant General Manager John Ricco had more to say this week and has gotten more press and face time than I care to see. He dealt in minor issues but it shows the Wilpons are forcing this guy into the mix. I am terrified by the prospect the Wilpons might be grooming this guy to be our next GM. Please JOBU No! Please tell me it isn't so.
That is all. Go back to your homes. There's nothing more to see here.