This morning the local papers are filled with stories about the Mets new manager Jerry Manuel and the changes afoot at Shea Stadium. During last night’s SNY broadcast the announcers Gary, Ron, and Keith praised the new Mets’ attitude.
There really isn’t all that much that a new manager can do with a team. It’s essentially up to the players to perform better, we know that. But there have been a few things that I’ve liked from the team in the first week of Jerry Manuel’s tenure with the Mets:
- Pitchers staying on the mound during a change to encourage the incoming pitcher
- More “life” or energy, or whatever you want to call it. It’s hard to quantify this but I’m seeing it in this team.
- New tactics to improve performance. For example, I liked that Ramon Castro stayed in the middle of the plate for Mike Pelfrey’s start in Colorado. I thought that was a great way to try to keep him in the strike zone. You don’t really see anyone doing that.
- Players taking a game off here and there. Willie Randolph ran these guys into the ground and it showed at the end of ’06 and ’07.
- Carlos Beltran stealing more bases. This has been talked about forever, but it looks like it’s actually being implemented now.
- His press conferences aren’t filled with apologies and unfounded knowledge of better days coming in the future. Manuel talks about concrete changes that need to made to create a winning team.
All of these changes are great to talk about but they need to translate into wins and that isn’t happening yet. Manuel is 3-3 as the Mets manager, a small sample, but .500 isn’t going to get it done. Manuel can’t speed up Carlos Delgado’s slow bat and severely declined skills. He can’t fix Luis Castillo’s brittle knees. But maybe he can create a positive atmosphere and energetic brand of baseball that the fans can enjoy.
Stories in the news:
Dan Graziano of the Star-Ledger writes about Manuel having a chance to succeed here
George Vecsey of the Times writes about the “new dawn of the Mets”
Mike Fitzpatrick of the AP writes about Manuel having the power of the lineup card
Bill Eichenberger of Sporting News writes about Manuel’s touch with the players
Bob Raissman of the Daily News writes about Manuel’s media skills
Vic Ziegel of the Daily News writes about the lighter atmosphere