Former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson took the axe along with Willy Randolph and first base coach Tom Nieto midway through the Metropolitan's 2008 campaign.
The accredited psychologist, commonly referred to as "the jacket" due to his constant donning of the team's official jacket, was known for his unusual methods of coaching. He preached a "triangular theory," which emphasizes three themes: mental and emotional toughness, fundamental skills, and physical conditioning.
This man was very unorthodox and would give the players analogies to real life scenarios. He would often use golf to get a point across to former met Tom Glavine.
He even gave John Maine a lesson on ice cream and ketchup. They both taste very good, but are horrible if put together. He used this strange combination as way to help John Maine improve his pitch selection.
This guy even wore long-johns under his baseball pants if the weather got chilly in the spring or fall.
For the most part a lot of his ideas worked, but Peterson failed in three areas which cost him his job and here they are:
Fans began to despise the jacket once he promised he could fix Victor Zambrano in "ten minutes." He also contributed to the shipping out of Kazmir to Tampa Bay, not liking his delivery.
Peterson also had disagreements with Heath Bell, who the Mets could have definitely used in 07' and 08', forcing the Mets to trade him away.
The horrid bullpen of 07' and 08'.
A lot of fans wanted Peterson out after the 07' collapse for the bullpens disgusting performance, but when they were also blowing away winnable games for the team in 08', fans had enough.
But the third and most important factor of Peterson's firing was the inconsistent performance of eccentric lefty Oliver Perez.
Perez and Peterson are both very strange men, but they did not mesh well together. Despite having a good end to 2006 and a decent 2007 campaign when he won 15 games, Ollie struggled to find consistency in 2008 and none of Peterson's ideas seemed to click with him.
Simply put, the jacket's philosophies were too complex for the talented lefty to handle.
So midway through 08' out went the jacket and in came Dan Warthen, who received a lot of praise from all of the SNY announcers, but I never bought into it.
Warthen got all the credit when Mets prospect Mike Pelfrey developed into a dominating pitcher right before our eyes, but if you watched all 162 games like me, you'd remember that big Pelf began to pitch great in starting in the last three outings he had BEFORE the jacket was thrown out!
Warthen also simplified Perez's delivery and helped him have a better second half, but what did he do to help the bullpen?
The bullpen imploded once again, costing the Mets the division for the second year in a row.
Now I'm not putting the blame on Dan, but it wasn't Peterson's fault either. If I had to point the finger I'd point to Omar for putting this macabre bullpen together.
I believe that the New York Mets pitching staff will get the flu in 2009 without their "jacket" to keep them warm, and I have a lot of facts to back it up.
Peterson's specialty was in health, and during his tenure with the Mets we had very few injuries to our pitching staff, with the exception being Pedro Martinez.
What happened right after Peterson was fired? Billy Wagner and John Maine went down.
Speaking about John Maine, anyone realize that he sucked miserably once Peterson was fired? Did you wonder why?
Number 33 happened to be very close with the jacket and they worked well together. John Maine fit into Peterson's work regimen perfectly, and became lost once he was gone.
It's going to be interesting to see how Maine does in 2009, as I believe he is one of the keys to the Mets inaugural season at Citi Field.
If we don't add another pitcher John Maine will be our third starter, and that kind of scares me for the reasons I've stated above.
This is why I feel the Mets MUST re-sign Oliver Perez, especially since he had added success with Dan Warthen.
Now that the mets will begin a full season without their unorthodox pitching coach, I have a bad feeling that Mets pitchers will get sick without "the jacket" in the dugout.