Fear of Racism in Queens?

Let’s speak bluntly, shall we? Everybody who has followed the columns and discussions on MMO this season knows I have wanted JMAN to be an ex-Mets manager since spring.

We have been a total disaster since the All-Star break, and in an at least must-tie road trip, we went 2-4. Okay, we haven’t won a road trip series all season against NL rivals (Has this ever happened in Mets history?). The team shows absolutely no hope of making the playoffs and simply plays baseball about on par–in these last three weeks–with the wretched second half of 2009. Tell me, where does the buck stop?

In the last couple of months, increasing calls have been heard from writers and discussants about selling this team to owners who care. The Fire Minaya crowd has remained stalwart for two years running, and most, I am confident, want to see the manager fired and the coaching staff gutted toute suite. And yet…

No fan in his right mind didn’t want Manuel to succeed when he took over in 2008. His record during that span was successful in terms of W-Ls, but his men choked again. I am of the school that says he never should have been brought back in 2009, but he was. Injuries plagued the team, bad baseballs fundamentals were on exhibit all season long and Manuel’s failure was substantial.

The 2010–a new attitude, some new blood, peaks and valleys through April and May, good Mets baseball played until just before the All-Star break. And now back to weeks of abject misery, continued flummoxing managerial decision-making, and now the seeming loss of anything coming close to a hearty esprit d’corps. Gone, goodbye!

Why the hell hasn’t this nice, decent, intelligent, and good baseball man, by the name of Jerry Manuel, not gotten his pink slip once and for all already!? Once again, you will read that he is quoted in the NY Times uttering the usual, redundant inanities about how “we looked pretty good there, but just couldn’t get it done.” He is also quoted as saying words to the effect that what his Mets really need to do is win about 80% of the remaining games. Yeah, that can happen you know. Sure, and New York could soon experience its first August snowstorm! We all know it will be a total surprise if we play even a few games over .500 from tomorrow on.

I will go ahead and say what I think is a likely reason as to why the Mets haven’t fired Manuel already, and why they are likely to just have him finish out the season in Queens. The FO is afraid of, among other issues, the taint of racism in light of the Randolph firing, the taint in light of Manuel being the second consecutive black manager hired and fired by the Mets ( I reckon only the Cubs have this distinction with Baylor and Baker), and the taint in light of the strongly themed air of CitiField–the tribute to Jackie Robinson. Of course, I suspect this is a huge issue, but it is shameful, too, in its own way. Manuel’s blackness shouldn’t have a thing to do with his hiring and firing. Baseball excellence and baseball failure are the only two criteria by which a man should be promoted or demoted. But this is America, and you all know the rest of the story. Bad management is as equal opportunity as winning a world series, but, obviously, few men succeed whereas many fail. Manuel is continuing to fail as our manager, and he should be fired as quickly as possible.

As Mets fan, I couldn’t care less if our next manager is a Kashmiri or a Samoan; I want a manager and a coaching staff that will bring the best out of every player and figure out exactly how to put men in situations that will give them the best chance to succeed individually and win as a team. Jerry Manuel has proved for long enough that he cannot make these factors happen for the NY Mets.