The Team Concept
Over the past two weeks, I’ve read, heard, and watched a multitude of journalists, radio jocks, bloggers, and TV personalities tell me that THIS YEAR, the Mets are really, really focused on establishing the “team concept” — thanks to the remarkable leadership of manager Jerry Manuel.
Manuel presented the “team-first” mentality on the first day in spring training, and has been relentless in making sure that everyone understands that the 2009 Mets will abide by this philosophy. Further, Manuel has put into effect a number of drills emphasizing fundamentals — such as hitting to the opposite field, placing bunts, taking the extra base, and fielding the ball with two hands — and is encouraging his players to be more aggressive on the bases.
This is great news, and a stark contrast to previous years, when previous manager Willie Randolph was always pushing his players to be individuals, poo-pooed fundamentals as “inconsequential details”, rewarded batters for pulling the ball, and insisted that baserunners anchor to the bag and only advance one base at a time.
Wait …. that’s not true … not true at all …
Amazingly, the honeymoon continues for Jerry Manuel, the manager who led the New York Mets to their second consecutive collapse yet is being given the benefit of the doubt in his first spring training as skipper of the team.
Yeah, yeah, I’m Mr. Negative. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been jaded by the rose-colored optimism of springs past. Though, I really believe I would have an easier time being upbeat and positive about this team if I wasn’t constantly reminded that everything good about it is the direct result of Jerry Manuel’s Ghandi-like wisdom, and everything bad is the fault of players who don’t embrace zen-Buddhism.
Truth is, I’m not that negative, just annoyed — I’d like to watch, judge, and enjoy the team on my own, without every idiotic talking head telling me what I should think. I’m actually quite happy about baseball returning to my TV screen, and looking forward to a fun season.