200 Miles From the Citi

May 19, 2010 5:30 AM

Talking About Communication


Jeff Wilpon made a surprise visit to Atlanta Monday to meet with Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya and "talk baseball".

Wilpon told reporters he "didn't come down here to fire anybody.  Sometimes it's just better to speak to people in person."

You'll have to excuse us, Mr Wilpon, for being so alarmed.

Talking face-to-face seems pretty normal in theory.  But, it's just that, you see, communication is not among the Mets' organization's strong suits.

First of all, the writing looks to be on the wall with Manuel.  Rumors are flying all over the place that he's on the hot seat...and really, he should be.

He's done no better than Willie Randolph...and I'll argue that his 2008 collapse was worse than Randolph's 2007 collapse, if not simply for the fact that nothing like that should happen a second year in a row.  Remember just how much injuries last year masked the fact that the Mets were going to be disappointing and terrible a year ago anyway.

But here's what's worse about Manuel - he seems to be responsible for an utter lack of communication - or at least co-responsible, along with Omar Minaya.  Let me give you two instances upon which I base my theory:

One - Jose Reyes' pure elation at being back in the leadoff spot a few days ago.  That seems like a guy who never wanted to be anywhere but leadoff.  How could moving someone who doesn't want to be in a certain position be what's best for the team?  Seems to me like there wasn't enough discussion over that one...seems like it was just a gut decision.

Two - My second reason is probably more Omar than Jerry...but I was listening to the radio broadcast of the end of Monday night's game, and Howie Rose was talking about how well Ike Davis has meshed with the Major League team, just like he belongs.  In fact, he has tremendous respect from the veterans on the Mets, who wanted Ike to be on the team after spring training, said Rose.  And the story Rose told was that it seemed like when Mike Jacobs was released Ike Davis was going to be called up, but no one knew for sure.  And all of the players were asking Rose, 'They're going to call up Ike, right?'  Now, maybe I'm reading into this too much, or maybe I don't know enough about how professional baseball teams work, but shouldn't there be an announcement among the team from management about what you're doing and where you're headed so everyone is on the same page?

I'm an overcommunicator.  It's one of my flaws, because I can talk too much about nothing sometimes.  But I also think it's one of my more positive traits, because I want to make sure the right people know what they need to know when they need to know it.  I guess baseball teams don't work like least, not the Mets.

So that's why Jeff Wilpon going out of his way to chat with his manager and GM raises eyebrows.  And I'm sure they were "talking baseball".  Read that as: If the Mets don't finish the next couple of weeks with a winning record, we're making a baseball change.

Jerry Manuel says he isn't worried about his job.  He should be.  You just never know with the Mets.  He could lose his job today, tomorrow, the end of the season, or it could come in a press release at noon.

After all, firing a manager is one form of communication the Mets have grown used to in this past decade or so....even if it is by e-mail at 3:14am Eastern Time.

WRIGHT WATCH:  Not quite a highlight reel night for David Wright.  0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts and an error that allows the game-winning run to score in the bottom of the 9th.

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