New York City. The Big Apple. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. New York celebrates spirit. New York celebrates toughness. Whether it's a ticker tape parade or a glass of water for a fireman at Ground Zero, New York has long served as America's backbone. We love guys like Billy Martin, Mark Messier, Willis Reed, Lawrence Taylor. Guys who were tough , who won, and even when they lost went down swinging and then got back up again.
Jerry Manuel has shown hiimself to be none of the above. He's probably a nice guy. He'd probably really like to win a World Series in New York. But it's not going to happen. Jerry Manuel doesn't have that fire, that drive, that win-at-all-costs mentality that is needed to succeed, particularly in New York.
He obviously has some baseball acumen, as he did manage the Chicago White Sox to an American League Central Division title in 2000 (they were promptly swept in the Division Series by the Seattle Mariners). But whatever magic crystal ball Jerry used to maneuver that Chicago squad into the playoffs has gone completely dark in recent years, forcing him to rely on his nonexistent personality management and motivational skills to keep the Mets in contention.I will focus on that, and leave the "X's and O's" second-guessing (and believe me, there's quite a bit of it!) for another time.
Example A: His consistent and disastrous handling of immensly talented but underachieving shortstop Jose Reyes. Beginning with his "I'm a gangster" explanation for pulling Reyes from a game in 2008. Fast forward to 2010, Jerry has continued to mishandle Reyes and his consistently fragile body and even more fragile ego.
Example B: His offense is nonexistent, yet Manuel insists on plugging free agent disaster Jason Bay into the lineup every night. You can almost hear Jerry in the dugout trying to convince himself Bay will come around. "It'll be aaaaany day now.....aaaaany day"
Example C: His concern for player "feelings" before his concern for winning. Playing Bay and Carlos Beltran instead of lesser-priced guys like Jeff Francoeur, who can actually give a spark to the team, is just ridiculous. I understand the Mets overpaid badly for Beltran and Bay. Too bad. Put the team on the field that gives you the best chance to win every night.
Last but certainly not least, Jerry Manuel doesn't seem to think before he speaks, which can be a dangerous thing to your job security in New York. He says things that make people in the media and public scratch their heads and wonder. Informing the media casually that your team can rebound from a bad road trip after the All Star break and then going out and having a disastrous 2-9 trip make sit appear as if you're prepared, or even OK with, losing.
If you win in New York, eccentricities like Jerry appears to have make you a "character." If you lose, especially in New York, it just makes you a loser.