One of the main points Jerry Manuel stressed in his conference call with us this afternoon is that the offensive philosophy here has to change, that guys have to stop worrying about their stats and start thinking more about situational hitting. He said this is going to be a big emphasis in his first spring training in charge, that it will be a chance for him and the staff to teach. He thinks the players here can grasp the concept, and that the criticism over the Mets not making it again will help “escalate the seriousness of what we’re talking about.”
Daniel Murphy on third, nobody out, last of the ninth, tie game with the Cubs, Mets don’t score and then lose. Does this ring a bell? Manuel said the Angels “are a good model for what needs to be done.”
Manuel didn’t seem upset over getting just two guaranteed years to go from interim manager to manager, saying he feels good about the commitment, said it still gives him time to prove himself. That “commitment” could really put the pressure on him to get to the playoffs this year. But he said he always thinks being the manager is an “interim” thing, which is usually true. He said if the team is struggling, he wants the emphasis on him and not the players. “If we go through this thing and have no significant setbacks and underperform, then that’s just part of the job,” he said. Manuel said the delay in coming to an agreement was just part of the negotiating process. Omar Minaya said the Jewish holiday and the need to run things by ownership slowed the process as well.
Manuel said he thinks the leadership is here in the clubhouse, praising Carlos Delgado for his work in that regard, and he said Delgado’s presence wasn’t inhibiting the leadership of David Wright and others. Manuel said he will begin talking with the GM about the coaching staff in the next day or so. He said he hasn’t been watching the playoffs. But he’s looking forward to trying to help the Mets get there.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for me,” Manuel said. “Hopefully I can take full advantage of it.”
OK, those were the highlights. He has a good idea about what he’s doing. Now he needs a few reinforcements, too.