Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Maelstrom of Discontent

"Well,  I still have my uniform on?"

That's what Jerry Manuel does.  He makes the "beat guys" feel like they're all his buddies.  Every QandA with Jerry is a Bud-Lite moment.  Jerry embraces them and makes em all feel good about their jobs because he makes jokes and feeds them just the right blend of corn-meal and grass-mix by-product to satiate their sensationalized article writing their editors demand.  Effective?  It's especially effective for Jerry Manuel.  If it weren't for Jerry holding the Media close to his bosom with humor, jocularity and random acts of gangsta sarcasm, the maelstrom to have Jerry Manuel would have gotten him fired long ago.  That maelstrom is usually whipped up by the Media first; not the fans.  The only reason Jerry Manuel is still manager of the New York Mets is because Jerry outsmarted the media this long.

Keep your friends close; but keep your enemies closer.

The media never created a maelstrom to have Jerry Manuel fired.  Sure they've had the burner on simmer and it even got HOT for Jerry once in a while; - as is the current situation after a 90 minute meeting with Met Brass in Atlanta of all places.  When Jerry Manuel emerged from that meeting his Maenad's were there to greet him.  When the Chorus asked of their Bacchus what happened in the meeting, their deity squeezed a grape into this goblet of wine:  "I still have my uniform on?!"  ...And because they're all buddies, the on-site Media nod their heads in a collective, "yea...we got your back dog!"...and then go write their spin.  Take care to understand I'm talking about the beat writers here.  Through wittiness and with an acknowledgment by the writers Omar assembled these players, Manuel gets a nice slice of slack in the daily(s).  When a guy like Mike Lupica decides to chime in about sports these days it's only when the fishing is good.  Today he served up this big plate of obvious  ...- I say be gone with you and go continue chasing your political aspirations.  I used to read his articles all the time but he's slowly turning himself into a writer's Howard Cosell of his later angrier years.

Allow me to digress.  For two years Manuel has floated the idea of batting Reyes third in the order.  Jerry thought it was part of Jose Reyes' natural progression as a hitter.  This year, due to circumstances that dictated alternative measures, Jerry got his way and Reyes was inserted into the third slot (he has recently been returned to batting lead-off again).  Before I go on a tangent, here's my question.  If Jerry felt so strongly about batting Reyes third, why does he ask Reyes, his three hitter, to bunt in two consecutive games?  These are just moves to ponder.

The 90 minute meeting between Jerry Manuel, Omar Minaya, Asst. GM John Ricco and Jeff Wilpon was as Jeff puts it, "...just Baseball talk."  He stated he didn't come to Atlanta to fire anyone.  He admitted if he was happy with the current situation he wouldn't be having this meeting.  When pressed, Jeff offered he would have made a change last year regarding a manger and or a General Manager, but he did not act.  So today he explains they are assembled together in an effort to "work this out".  Jeff Wilpon reminded the assembled media about his expectations of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel and about his lack of satisfaction so far.  But it appears the Wilpons are more committed to keeping Omar under contract than entertaining issues of being penny foolish-dollar wise.  Jerry Manuel is a lame duck manager which ever way you look at this.

I have been through all this before.  I've been doing it since December.  My displeasure with the way this organization is run is pretty well known by now.  But here we go again anyway.

If the Mets fire Manuel and replace him with Bob Melvin, I will be highly upset.  I'd rather let Manuel finish the season.  I am not in favor of Omar Minaya specifically, hiring Bobby Valentine.  I do not believe that relationship will work.  Omar Minaya was a Steve Phillips front office import.  Bobby Valentine and Steve Phillips could not get along.  Valentine wanted more say in personnel matters.  Phillips was strongly opposed.  Valentine will want as much input now as he wanted then.  Valentine has a very strong character and his baseball intellect is of superior quality.  But Valentine will exercise every bit a savvy and cunning intellect against Omar Minaya who has himself been looking over his shoulder at John Ricco.  To also put a very dead-spin on that relationship, Valentine will out think and counter Omar at every turn.  Valentine will spin circles around Omar.  A Valentine/Minaya duo will not work in my opinion.  And I'm not even so sure Omar deserves to hire a third manager.

There is only one situation I am agreeable with regarding the hiring of Bobby Valentine.  If Omar is allowed to hire him, the Wilpons must turn and fire Omar outright and do one of two things; promote Bobby Valentine to General Manager and let him hire his own manager; OR seek permission from the Tampa Rays for the services of Jerry Hunsicker to be GM with Valentine managing under him.  The two are very familiar with each other dating back to more stable and successful days in the Mets' organization.

That is my Bobby Valentine scenario; a path which I am not inclined to follow but I would be agreeable to.  The Wilpons have been there and done that with Bobby Valentine.  Valentine was critical of the Wilpons and they have memories like elephants.  They do not take criticism too well.

Of course my ultimate pipe-dream is for the Wilpons to do what it takes to get Larry Beinfest in the Mets' fold.  He is the guy I want.  I said it before.  I say it here again now.

I believe Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya should be joined at the hip.  Another terribly kept secret of mine is my total vote of no confidence in Asst. GM John Ricco.  If he is indeed named the next GM of the Mets, like the Bob Melvin situation, I will be highly upset!  No John Ricco!  No Bob Melvin!  If those are my choices for change I will stick with Omar and Jerry!  Thank you but no thanks Mr. Wilpon.

I have stated my support for Omar Minaya in the past.  I cling to him because he is the last resource Frank Cashen directly or indirectly left behind (Cashen brought in many executives the Wilpons have exhausted and through Steve Phillips, a Frank Cashen import, we arrived at our last two GM's in Duquette and Omar.)  Omar is the last executive familiar to the Wilpons and vice-versa over the course of 30 years.

The next General Manager of the New York Mets must be an off-campus hire.  Period!  The cycle of inbred thought and a watered down if not diluted executive staff must be infused with new blood if not now, when Omar is relieved of his duties.  Anything other than what I posted here will not make me happy.

Met fans need to give me more names other than Bob Melvin and Bobby Valentine (for reasons I stated above) before I say fire Jerry Manuel.  Who are the replacements Met fans are contemplating?  All I hear is fire Manuel.  I'm cool with that, but who's the replacement folks?

Here's another old line of mine.  The S.S. Wilpon just turned into the iceberg!  I dropped the life boats a long time ago.  I'm not about to raise them back up.

Mike  BTB

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