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.

Oct 24

Baseball after Midnight: Rays even Series.

What's keeping you up tonight?

What's keeping you up tonight?

Good evening my friends out West and you night owls. Getting hungry. My favorite after midnight diner food is an omelet and rye toast. Breakfast food is always good.

We had an interesting post during the game on the issue of clutch hitting. It doesn’t always come after the seventh inning. I remember a conversation I had with Ryan Church during spring training about stats.

The topic was a “do your job stat.” Every at-bat comes with it a defined objective. Runner on third, get the run home, even with an out. The Rays did it twice in the first inning. The Mets? Well, we’ve had that conversation more than a few times this summer.

Another good game tonight. You get the feeling this one could go the distance.

As far as the Mets were concerned today, the Mets finally finalized their coaching staff. Howard Johnson stays, which was surprising to some degree considering all the finger pointing about their inability to consistently perform with runners in scoring position.

Whatever is on your mind, here’s your message board. I’ll respond in the morning.

Oct 23

Talkin’ Baseball: World Series Chat, Game 2

Talkin' Baseball: Rays seeking to even Series.

Talkin' Baseball: Rays seeking to even Series.

The Rays were here before, against Boston they were down one, but came back. I think they’ll do it again. They are good enough.

Had some tech issues this afternoon, but everything looks OK now. Before I forget, the Mets came down with their coaches today. Howard Johnson stays; Guy Conti will be re-assigned.

I’ll be here all night. If James Shields hangs around, we could be set for a good Series.

Oct 23

Commentary: Just name the coaches.

Manuel: All smiles when he was hired. What's he thinking now?

Manuel: All smiles when he was hired. What's he thinking now?

There are appearances to the delay. Does Jerry Manuel know who he wants on his staff? Is there a conflict between him and Omar Minaya.

The Mets acted decisively in giving extensions to Manuel and Minaya, but are dragging their feet in naming their coaching staff, leaving it up to us to speculate. Many reports had Howard Johnson on the outs. MLB.com, yesterday, had him staying.

Manuel has to know who he wants on his staff, and the odds are those decisions have already been made. Just not announced. Well, why not? There’s not really a good reason. The appearance is indecisiveness, and that’s not what you s

Oct 07

Fair or not, HoJo on hot seat.

Eyes on HoJo

Eyes on HoJo

Nothing new on the coaching front. Jerry Manuel thinks early next week his staff should be finalized.

On the hot seat is Howard Johnson, who said at the end of the season he believed the club had the right pieces.

Maybe they do, but something is missing, and it’s not all Johnson’s fault.

These are major leaguers and they shouldn’t have to “buy into’’ anything. They should know how to work a count and advance a runner.

It’s an organizational thing, and on the major league level, that’s the manager. We see guys swinging at garbage all the time, and in the case of Jose Reyes, where’s the encouragement to take the walk?

All I hear was they don’t want to take away his aggressiveness. Well, if Reyes walked 100 times and bunted for hits more, he’d be devastating offensively.

There’s more.

Carlos Beltran should steal more. … It wouldn’t kill Carlos Delgado to go to left against the shift. … Perhaps the batting order is flawed. Maybe Reyes shouldn’t be leading off. … David Wright was way too impatient this year.

There are a lot of ways to improve the offense having nothing to do with firing Johnson, but, that’s not how the game is played.