Sandy Alderson’s disappearing act on Sunday was brilliant.
The New York Mets made a miraculous comeback to avoid being swept by the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, capped off by a walk-off single by Ruben Tejada, who has been struggling for, well, all of 2013 and the first six weeks of the 2014 season. The team has lost 8 of 10 games and have fallen from second place to last place.
Fans are calling for Terry Collins‘ head. Mets fans on Twitter are begging the Wilpon family to sell the team. Marketing strategies are blowing up in the organizations face. The bullpen is imploding nightly. Even Don Draper threw away his Mets pennant during a recent episode of Mad Men.
Confidence and winning are at a premium these days and Alderson knows that; he also knows the power of New York’s media. They had the potential of turning Sunday’s come-from-behind win from confidence builder to question marks. So, after Sunday’s uplifting win, Alderson spoke with his manager Terry Collins and promptly exited stage left.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York suggested Sandy Alderson “ducked” interviews; the New York Post reported, Alderson “declined multiple media requests Sunday to explain what is going on with his team.” Call it what you will, it’s great psychology.
While the media and fans have questions — What will become of Jenrry Mejia? Will Dice-K be in the rotation? Does Ruben Tejada get another chance to win back his job at shortstop? Will the Mets promote Rafael Montero? Will Jeurys Familia be the closer? — Alderson has other priorities: the New York Yankees.
Without Alderson, those questions had to wait. The media had no choice but to focus their stories on the Mets uplifting win. In the meantime, the Subway Series began on Monday night: two in the Bronx, followed by two in Queens.
That’s exactly what happened. When the Mets beat couldn’t get answers they moved to Plan B — the Subway Series — and Collins followed the script:
“The energy in the Subway Series is an animal of its own. But to go in on a positive note is big, especially to get us off what’s happened here in the last six days. We were a ground ball or a base hit away of winning four of those six, so to get us going again was big. Our guys relish the challenge in front of them.”
Alderson rolled into Yankee Stadium, boldly answered all the questions with a flurry of surprising moves, the Mets go onto delivering another dramatic win and the Subway Series stole today’s New York sports headlines. You can thank Sandy Alderson for that.