Mets Unprepared After Months Of Preparation
It’s hard to believe the euphoria of Opening Day took place but a week ago. Since the Mets won Game One they have lost 4 out of 5, and two consecutive home series against Florida and Washington. Not the Sterling start this team wanted-or more importantly, needed.
Then came yesterday’s revelation by Jerry Manuel that the team was not “prepared” for the slop served up by former Mets number five starter, Livan Hernandez (he must’ve felt vindicated a tad after being unceremoniously released last August).
(What, he throws slower than last year? I’m being brutal, most of this team only played 135 innings behind him last season and he has had more teammates than Madonna.)
Nevertheless, Manuel’s word’s are a dangerous self-indictment, to say the least.
While last season’s mantra of “patience” was uttered by GM Omar Minaya ad nauseam, this year’s battle cry has to be “impatience” (and Change).
That starts with Manuel and eventually will trickle down to Minaya. First of all, Jolly Jerry can’t wait for slumping players to round into form. He does not have the luxury of time, or a languid start on his side.
If Mike Jacobs continues to struggle (yesterday’s first blast, not withstanding) then sit him. If Gary Matthews can’t get a two-out hit insert Angel Pagan, etc, etc. However, there are only so many buttons Manuel can push.
That leads us to the other management type residing on this hot love seat-Omar. If the players he has hand-picked cannot deliver, but fast, he has to be impatient and dip into the minors, or feverishly work the horn, and get ones that can produce.
If that means giving Ike Davis a look-see, that may jump start a sputtering the offense, then do it-post haste. Minaya might have financial security courtesy of the Wilpons, but he’s not coated in Teflon either. Hey, he might as well go down guns’ a blazing, no?
Moreover, ownership cannot sit on their soft hands either.
You can bet the exorbitant parking at CitiField that a poor April will result in changes by the First Family. Losing four of six at home, with your ace bested by a disgruntled employee, is a fine start. Continue that act off Broadway this week, and the entire chartered flight back from St. Louis might be diverted to Upstate New York.
It’s a simple ownership ploy: Win and you live to fight another day, lose and you go to the morgue. That counts for everyone not signing paychecks.
So Jerry, make sure your players are prepared. Players, stop blaming everything but the Hot Tub Time Machine, for your woes-just perform, and Omar, make sure that you have exhausted every avenue to fast-tracking any available talent-home or abroad, to Flushing.
Finally, Jeff, get together with Dad, and constantly evaluate the product you have in the front office and on the field, and if need be pull the trigger on an overhaul before the season turns rancid.
Time is not on your side, or as Yogi once said, “it’s getting late early.”
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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