Raining on the Parade
Interesting article over at Gotham Baseball called “Party Pooper”, which questions all the media fawning over the “creative Houdini” known as Jerry Manuel, and Carlos Delgado’s role in the Mets’ failures and successes over the last two years.
More than any player, it has been Delgado that has taken advantage of the change in the clubhouse. Whatever the reason for his dramatic turnaround, one thing is clear, the passion he’s mashed the baseball with since June 27 has been evident.
No longer is it, “We’re so good, we get bored”, or “They don’t pay me to think”, from the veteran first baseman, who hit two more home runs in Tuesday’s big win. Rather, reporters who used to flock to his locker after games, only to be ignored, now are seeing a player who has finally embraced his role as the unofficial captain of the team.
Should Manuel get the credit for this metamorphosis? Perhaps. Should Delgado take some sort of responsibility for his inability to perform for his former manager?
Absolutely. Yet, it seems that his early-season struggles have all been placed at the feet of Randolph, who only asked his first baseman to play hard, produce and lead. Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson had that kind of relationship,too. Only difference is that Reggie already had three rings and a World Series MVP at the time. The two made it through the 1977 season despite the bitter feud, found a way to get past their problems,and won a title together. Even more admirable, when given the opportunity to get his skipper canned, Reggie said no, it wouldn’t be good for the team.
Gotham also calls out William Rhoden of the New York Times for being inconsistent. If you missed it, Rhoden is the one who identifies Jerry Manuel as a “Houdini” — but is the same writer who in June placed blame on Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Billy Wagner for not displaying mental toughness under Willie Randolph.
As I’ve stated before, I like Jerry Manuel and think he is the right manager for this team right now. I simply don’t see the “genius” everyone else does, and don’t believe Manuel has had nearly the impact on the Mets’ success that the media extols. From what I’ve seen, Manuel is a good guy, in the right place at the right time, who has been given the freedom to manage like there is no tomorrow. But “creative Houdini”? That’s a little over the top.
The Mets’ success is not all about Jerry, it’s about Delgado hitting like crazy, Beltran following his lead, Pelfrey coming into his own, Santana having his typical second half, Tatis having the July of his life, Wright and Reyes doing what they always do, and the Mets getting really lucky with some players performing above their heads.