What I would like Jerry Manuel to say
I have been asked more than once if I agree with his verdict. Are the Mets hurt? Or course. Have they automatically rolled over and died? No! The question isn’t whether I agree with Jerry. It’s what should Jerry be saying to begin with? So here, Jerry, is my speech writing attempt, which I think you should print out, fold in your pocket, and bring with you to the next press conference. Here is what, as a manager, you should be saying about your team.
Press: Jerry, with all the injuries, do you just simply have a losing team?
Jerry: No, no, I can’t say that. But I know you’ll write that in your papers tomorrow, heh heh, shoot. But look, I will tell you–is this the team we thought we would have in July when we started on opening day? Well no, of course it isn’t. But even without a lot of our core guys, and even without a good number of our pitching staff, it’s still our job to win ballgames. And we have a professional group of guys who are going to give a hundred percent to try and get that done. Look, is it hard when we lose a game because of an error or two (or three even, shoot). Well yes, yes sure it is, I can’t lie about that. But the fact that we were close enough to win those games tells you that we’ve got the potential to pull out some wins that might not be expected of us. What we have to do is make sure we’re not careless. Playing short staffed, it doesn’t mean we’re a losing team, it just means we have to take advantage of the opportunities that come to us when we get the chance. So I will say we have less room for error.
But now, we still have some very good guys on our team. We’ve got David Wright, who’s been a lot more clutch than people give him credit for, even if he can get streaky sometimes. We have an Alex Cora, who’s been just phenomenal, not only as an everyday player, which we did not expect him to be–and an injured one at that, showing quite a bit of heart turning down surgery to play every day. But also as a leader, a veteran presence in the clubhouse. And Luis Castillo, I think once we find the right spot for him in the lineup, he’ll really step up and continue to perform like he did in the beginning of the season. And I plan to play Daniel Murphy more so he can get in the swing of things, get his rhythm going. I need to trust the guys I have, and I need to figure out the best way to use them.
You know, yes, it would be an easier job for us with more power in the lineup, but we can do what we need to do with the guys we have. I believe in them, that they’ll sharpen up their game, turn the double plays that need to be made, make the routine plays that they just have to do. And if we can score runs playing small ball, knocking out a few base hits or drawing walks instead of relying so much on the long ball, well then we can still win games.
So don’t count us out yet. I think our players will see this as an opportunity to prove a lot of you all wrong. I think they have the fire in them to start a winning streak and keep us going as a major player in the division. We might just surprise you all, and then what would you have to write in your papers? Heh, heh, heh.