Friday, June 20, 2008

Welcome, Jerry! (MissMet's Positive Outlook for the Beginning of Summer)

Hey there, Sports fans. Today is officially the first day of Summer Vacation, unfortunately also known to me as Unemployment. Even though I now have to face the scary job market, I will be looking at the positives:

1. Wimbledon starts on Monday and I will be able to watch the early rounds without that pesky thing known as 'work' getting in the way. Go Rafa!
2. The Mets are (FINALLY) done with their games on the West Coast this season. I hope the fact that the team did all of their traveling out west in the first half of the season will help them out after the All-Star Break, when every other NL East team has to travel more. We all know that the Mets haven't exactly benefited from all of their travel, suffering from Met Lag after an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game in New York and a Sunday doubleheader in New York before their last two trips.
3. With a Braves loss yesterday, the Mets have moved into 3rd place in the division. The team also had a real off-day yesterday that didn't involve a rainout or a Charity Event.
4. With the media firestorm mostly behind them, new Manager Jerry Manuel can finally focus on baseball and turning the team around. Let's take a look at Jerry and two of his new coaches, Dan Warthen and Ken Oberkfell.
Jerry Manuel
The 2000 AL Manager of the Year for the Chicago White Sox led his team to a 95 win season. Manuel was fired by the Sox because the team became complacent with him and his chill demeanor. Personally, I have always liked Manuel, especially when he, not Willie, got thrown out of the game against the Yankees while he argued Delgado's non-homerun call. That, I said to myself, is the kind of passion we need here for the Mets. Jerry faced his first on-field challenge when he took a foot-stomping, whiny Jose Reyes out of the game for precautionary measures. Manuel then followed the child to the clubhouse to kick his ass, I mean, knock some sense into him with a stern chat. Reyes turned out to be fine, but how can you blame the man? This was his first game and he was already under a crazy amount of scrutiny. There's no way he's going to take a chance with his team's igniter. Also, in his first game, Wright was the DH, which meant that he finally got some rest. I really don't know why Willie was so intent on having David play every inning of every game. Didn't Reyes stop playing so well last August/September because he was so tired (or addicted to some drug or another)? It just seems wise to rest players a little more and then have them available to pinch-hit late in the games. If the season continues the way it has been, how important have the late-innings been? Manuel also said that he plans to rest his starters on the road, so that the fans get to see the stars and once again, the team is rested. Sounds good to me, man.

Dan Warthen
This man is described as the anti-Rick Peterson. Peterson was a zen master, who I thought was kinda cool. I mean, you have to be pretty comfortable with yourself to give a statement to baseball reporters about the Eastern language symbol of crisis and how the symbol is the same for opportunity. He also said that the team was renovating its house and he was a hardwood floor, while they were looking for Tuscany tile. Apparently, Warthen is nothing like this. He's more simple: use your strengths as a pitcher to be the best pitcher you can be. He has been the pitching coach for the Tigers, Padres, Mariners and the bullpen coach for the Dodgers.

Ken Oberkfell
The new first base coach was a member of the Braves and Cardinals, amongst others. He was the manager of the New Orleans Zephyrs before moving up to the majors this week. Some say that he should have been named Mets manager because he is everything that Willie is not- fiery and aggressive. Plus, he has a ton of managerial experience in the Mets organization. He is in the know when it comes to the prospects. Maybe he'll prove himself to be worthy this year as 1st base coach and the Mets will decide to promote him once the season's over.

I really am not sure how much these guys are going to change things. I think that the team needs a kick in the ass, but that might not be enough. Maybe they are just too old or just don't mesh well together. The next chapter of the saga of 2008 starts tonight when the Mets take on Colorado, with Johnny Maine pitching against Aaron Cook.

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