There’s a new sheriff in town… and his name is Jerry Manuel. Maybe this current winning streak has more to do with Jerry Manuel than you think. After sweeping the San Francisco Giants, the Mets are now 14-9 since Jerry Manuel took over for Willie Randolph.
Apparently when Willie was in charge, he ran the clubhouse more like a military barracks than a normal baseball clubhouse. No card playing, no music, no facial hair, no…. well you get the picture. Today, Jayson Stark sheds a little more light on the matter in his article on ESPN.com.
If you get the impression the Mets are a more relaxed outfit under Jerry Manuel than they were under Willie Randolph, you’re catching on.
"I don’t want to bash Willie, because I liked him," Billy Wagner said. "But before, it was more of The Yankee Way. It wasn’t The Mets Way. There was no facial hair. You could never have music in the clubhouse. You couldn’t have kids around. Believe it or not, some of us in here actually like kids."
Manuel, on the other hand, has loosened all those reins and told his players to "play hard, play fearless and have fun," Wagner said, and to stop worrying about results.
"You know what?" Wagner said. "We’ve found out it’s pretty easy to play when you stop playing for stats and just go out and play hard and play to have fun."
It makes sense… Todays ballplayers are among the most competitive athletes in the world. They are under constant pressure to perform at their peak levels. Most of the young phenoms are forced to grow up rather quickly. Playing in this town only adds to their stress. I am shocked that so many little things that could have easily relieved some of that stress, were taken away from them. I think Jerry Manuel understands that.
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