Sounds pretty good right about now, doesn't it? No, it's not the Mets' record at the All-Star Break this season. But it certainly could have been if not for all the injuries.
It was the Mets' record in 2008 after they fired Willie Randolph on June 17 of that year and replaced him with Jerry Manuel. And keep in mind, that was with the terrible bullpen the Mets had to put out there in the late innings for much of the second half.
I understand the theory of rating your manager on what the team's record is. The Mets are 56-64, 13.5 games behind the Phillies. That doesn't look good. If the team had Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, and Wright playing everyday, there would be a strong point that Manuel should be long gone. At that rate, a team's just being mismanaged.
But this team is 56-64 with Anderson Hernandez as the starting shortstop. This team is 56-64 with .250 hitter Daniel Murphy as the cleanup hitter. They're 56-64 with Angel Pagan in center field.
Props to Manuel. He's been squeezing all the juice he can out of this disgustingly rotten Big Apple known as the 2009 season.
If anyone listened to Mike Francesa yesterday, he made a very good point about this team. They could've easily packed it in and gone on a 2-18 streak a hundred times since things started getting really bad back in early June. The 56-64 record is actually remarkable considering everything that's gone wrong with this team.
It seems a big reason why everyone wants Manuel gone is because apparently it's a foregone conclusion Bobby Valentine would be his successor. Can anyone show me any half-respectable source claiming Valentine and the Mets have even flirted with each other? If anything, I've read the Mets have no interest in Bobby V coming back.
And while we're at it, I'd love to see a half, no, make it a quarter-respectable source claiming Reyes and Wright don't like Jerry Manuel. I read this once and couldn't find anything from anyone to back it up. It's one thing to back up facts if you don't like someone and you want them fired. It's a completely different thing to fabricate facts and lobby to get someone fired with lies made up in one's head.
Is Jerry Manuel the perfect manager? Hell no. I hate how he mixes and matches with his relievers too early. I often questioned his constant rotation of the starting lineup when the injuries started to build up. I think sometimes his leash is way too short on his starting pitchers. But every manager has his thorn (yes, even Bobby V).
He turned around 2008 and brought us within a game of the playoffs with that putrid bullpen. He took a team that could easily be 45-75 right now and completely unwatchable, and turned them into a 56-64 team that can be exciting at times and has a little bite and fight in them.
Jerry Manuel deserves another season, at least.