In his recent “discussion” with Mike Francesca on WFAN, Jerry Manuel discussed his “predictions” for the upcoming season. He is always very candid and forthcoming in his interviews, this was no different. Among other things, Jerry admitted that Jon Niese and Daniel Murphy were the leaders to start the season at their respective starting roles. This kind of openness is not really the norm in professional sports, and it should be a breath of fresh air. The problem is….is he ever telling the truth?
No-one is accusing Mr. Manuel of lying; in fact I think that he definitely means what he says when he talks to the media. The issue, it seems, is that he changes his mind way too often. This kind of candidness is not the norm in professional sports. Most coaches and players would rather be clichéd, and then have to answer for being wrong about something. To me there’s nothing better than the occasional Ozzie Guillen who says it like it is, and isn’t afraid to say when he is wrong.
Jerry is a very personable guy, and I don’t think many Mets fans out there get the old “snake oil salesman” vibe that say, Jeff Torborg emitted (I’m being mean, that was a dark period). The problem is that I think he jumps the gun with his “predictions” way too often, and never gives an explanation for why his actions differ from his words.
This kind of behavior can often lead to mistrust by the fans and more importantly, the players on the field. Take for example 2009; no matter what they said on camera, we all knew that some players were concerned with Jerry saying one thing, and then doing the opposite. Wasn’t it just a year ago that he proclaimed Daniel Murphy to be a better hitter than Ryan Church?
I am not claiming that I am a better judge of talent than Jerry and his staff, but I do know that it is way too early to deem a 23 year old with 39 major league innings under his belt, coming off of a major hamstring injury the front runner for anything. What is Jerry’s conclusion based on? Bullpen sessions? Wind Sprints? Let’s at least face some live hitters who have something to lose before we throw this kid into the fire.
The bottom line is that Jerry gives a great interview, and an even better press conference, and I certainly feel that he means what he says, at the time he says it. I just feel that he is way too eager to please the media and the fans, and instead needs to focus more on his job. Maybe he should rein it in until this team starts to win again. He doesn’t strike anyone as the Ozzie Guillen type, and we wouldn’t want him losing some of the guys on this team like he did last year, do we?