Oct 29

Mets to introduce Alderson today; he’ll answer questions about the manager.

The Mets will introduce Sandy Alderson today as their new general manager, and he’ll answer a multitude of questions about his managerial preference.

This much we know already about Alderson: He’ll implement an organizational philosophy and the new manager must adhere to that way of thinking. Alderson is not as interested in the manager’s philosophy as he is the manager fitting into his.

We’ve already heard a lot of names and likely to hear a few more in the coming days. The following are some of the more popular candidates:

Bob Melvin: Melvin has managed in the major leagues, he’s smart, knows how to deal with players and carry through an organizational philosophy. He doesn’t have a dominant, fiery personality, but that’s not essential with Alderson. Slowly, his candidacy is gaining steam and could be emerging as a frontrunner. He’s already in the organization as the Mets’ AL scout.

Wally Backman: Fans and media have been clamoring for Backman even before Jerry Manuel was sacked. He’s a favorite of the Wilpons and Alderson has him on his list. He’ll likely get an interview, but is sliding in the polls. Alderson isn’t interested in a personality as much as he is getting somebody to follow through with his philosophy. Working against Backman is a lack of experience. It’s doubtful Alderson will tie his success to a candidate with a minimum of experience.

Terry Collins: Collins was hired to improve the farm system, and Alderson might find it best to leave him in that capacity. Collins managed Houston and the Angels, and is an organization man. I think he’ll stay in his current role, but he could draw an interview.

Clint Hurdle: Hurdle’s name popped up recently with Texas’ appearance in the World Series. The Ranger’s hitting coach had some success managing the Colorado Rockies. He has a Mets’ background, but I don’t know if he has enough to get over the top.

Chip Hale: Hale did a good job in his first season as Mets’ third base coach. He’s smart, well organized and has a strong work ethic. He’ll interview and could stay in the organization in some capacity, perhaps as a bench coach. He’s too good for the Mets to let him slide through their fingers.

Lee Mazzilli: If the Mets truly want somebody with organizational ties, there’s always the fan-favorite Mazzilli. Mazzilli didn’t get a fair shake managing Baltimore and has been waiting for the right opportunity. I’m not sure this will be it. Being a favorite of Fred Wilpon might not be enough.

Ken Oberkfell: Oberkfell has managed the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate and has logged more time in minor league dugouts than Backman. He obviously knows the Mets’ minor league system. As a second base man for St. Louis he learned under Whitey Herzog, so he learned from one of the best. He was a cerebral player and should mesh with Alderson.

Jul 28

Manuel goes to bat for coaching staff

MANUEL: It will all fall on him.

After several swirling days of finger-pointing, at the Mets’ listless offense and hitting coach Howard Johnson, manager Jerry Manuel did his own pointing.

And, fittingly, he directed it in the same direction Mets fans have for nearly two years – at himself.

Manuel looked in the mirror and went to bat for the beleaguered Johnson and his other restless coaches.

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Jul 26

Meeting to discuss the obvious — the Mets aren’t that good.

“When you have a trip like this, you have to sit down and assess how you’re going to get it right. We’re not going to sit back.’’ – Omar Minaya

MINAYA: Problems are wide spread.

Today is not a good day if you’re a Mets coach. After a 2-9 trip in which the general manager gave a vote of confidence to no coach, it is a day as a coach when you hope the phone doesn’t ring.

Word is Minaya, manager Jerry Manuel and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon are in meetings today assessing what went wrong on the trip to San Francisco, Arizona and Los Angeles. They could save a lot of time and only go over what went right.

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Feb 02

Feb. 2.10: Back in the saddle again.

Good morning folks. First off, I’d like to thank you for your well wishes yesterday. I should get back some of my test results today, but I’m feeling better this morning. So, again, thank you very much for you kindness.

WRIGHT: Will he be right again?

WRIGHT: Will he be right again?


Previously, I’d listed concerns of the Mets heading into spring training. One such concern was whether David Wright would regain his home run stroke. By most standards, Wright had a miserable season in 2009, and it was that way long before he took a fastball to his helmet. Wright hit .307 with a career-low 10 homers and only 72 RBI.

Wright did himself in early when he admitted the dimensions of Citi Field were getting to him. Once that became public, pitchers had their way with him from a power standpoint and gave him absolutely nothing to hit.

Wright tinkered with his swing, but an altered swing stays with a hitter, even on the road and his power numbers paled in comparison to other seasons in production away from home, too. Wright is human, and he began to press, and with injuries mounting up – without Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran – there was little protection in the order.

Wright has been working hard with hitting coach Howard Johnson, who should have done more to persuade his third baseman to not abandon the form that produced these numbers for a 162-game average: .309, 27 homers and 107 RBI.

The problem, Johnson dissected, was in waiting on the pitch, Wright waited too long. The ball would bear down on him and he couldn’t adjust. Say hello to 140 strikeouts. A career high. That Wright hit over .300 despite his high strikeout totals illustrated how unusual Wright’s season actually was.

Their off-season work has been concentrated on Wright attacking the ball more out front, being quick with his hands and driving the ball.

Which Wright will we see in 2010?

I’m willing to bet last season was an aberration and we’ll see numbers closer to his career averages rather than last year’s posting. I’ve seen how hard Wright works and believe he’s too good a hitter, too good an athlete, not to rebound.

Yes, I think Wright will be back in the saddle again.

Oct 24

Commentary: Can HoJo really have an impact?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

Howard Johnson is back as Mets’ hitting coach, which is fine by me because I enjoy talking with him. However, I’m not so sure things will be any different next year, and I wonder whether it is because of the same hitting coach or the same players.

I’m thinking the latter.

I hitting coach can go over film and mechanics with a hitter, but once he’s in the box, that guy is on his own and he’d better know what to do.

Every situation calls for a specific fundamental approach.

-It begins with getting on base, and it doesn’t matter how. Take the damn walk. And, this includes everybody, not just Jose Reyes, who fails to work the count. When they win and the offense clicks, David Wright likes to say, “we kept the line moving.” Well …. ? Why don’t they have that approach all the time. The Mets wasted way too many at-bats last year, and that starts with the approach by the hitter, who should have learned what to do in high school.

-Runner on second, no outs, hit the ball to the right side of the infield.

-Runner on third, less than two outs, hit a fly ball.

This isn’t brain surgery, it’s baseball.

Reyes need to bunt more, increase his walks and decrease his strikeouts. He needs to hit the ball on the ground. … Carlos Delgado must discover left field more than he does. … By his own admission, Wright must learn to relax and not try to do it all when runners are in scoring position.

Johnson is there to remind the players and work with them on mechanics, but it’s up to the players to be thinking the right approach. Johnson can remind them, but it’s up to Jerry Manuel from Day One in spring training to harp on them what to do.