Reese Kaplan -- Take Away Reason & Accountability

In James L. Brooks' wonderful film, "As Good As It Gets" the cantankerous writer Melvin Udall portrayed brilliantly by Jack Nicholson is asked by an admirer of his work, "How do you write women so well?"  

Nicholson's Udall responds, "I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."  

I thought about that scene when considering what's unfolded when the the umpire shouted, "Play Ball!" and the 2015 season kicked off for real.  Opening Day is in the books and it was a senior citizen’s wet dream for Terry Collins.  His 41 year old starting pitcher and his 37 year old closer reduced the $210 million man the Nationals signed into an 0-1 loser to start his career in the National League.  The closest a young pitcher like Rafael Montero got to contributing was warming up in the bullpen and the youngest offensive player on the field was sent up there with slugger Bartolo Colon protecting him in the lineup. 

Stories abound regarding whose lineup it was – Terry Collins’ or Sandy Alderson’s – but the fact remains that despite his often head-scratching managerial machinations, the Mets are off to a temporary residence atop the Eastern Division of the National League against the team who owned them in the recent past.  Give credit to whomever it’s due for the victory – Bartolo Colon, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud, Buddy Carlyle, Jeurys Familia and a host of other minor contributors.  Enjoy it as you prepare for Game Two of a long, 162 game season.

Of course, all was not rosy from the get-go.  In addition to the injuries that had Zack Wheeler, Josh Edgin, Bobby Parnell and Vic Black on the DL to start the year, now it appears Jenrry Mejia is having some issues with his elbow, hence the (at the time) odd decision to have Carlyle closing.  At this point it’s not clear if the 8-man pitching rotation was in response to what they already knew about Mejia’s condition or just coincidence, but it does open up all kinds of rampant speculation on what will evolve should he require an extended absence from the bullpen.

Terry Collins has already opened his mouth and opined that Jeurys Familia would close, Carlos Torres would get the nod for the eighth inning and Rafael Montero might get consideration for the 7th.  Hmmmn…classic Collins at work here, no doubt.  He takes the highly effective and familiar long man, Carlos Torres, and puts him into a pressure-leverage situation in the 8th inning, thus leaving himself without someone to do that multi-inning stint when necessary (assuming his forked tongue regarding Montero is for once speaking the truth). 

At no point did it occur to him that the lefty with the reverse platoon splits, Alex Torres, be positioned for 7th or 8th inning duty.  At no point did Carlyle’s name come up despite having just closed out the game successfully.  At no point did he consider having a guy with a 6:1 K to BB ratio who throws heat in Montero do Familia’s old job.  No, he immediately goes to the well of the familiar veteran despite the potential for less disruptive and perhaps greater productivity by using his younger players. 

Then again, if the stories about roster and lineup selection being Sandy Alderson’s call wind up having some merit, whatever Collins has said is once again proven meaningless.  It’s only game one but Terry’s already developing his taste for shoe leather whenever he opens his mouth.  

To paraphrase Jimmy Breslin, can’t anyone here manage this game?


Stephen Guilbert said...

Reese, only you could take a positive win and twist into a tired and worn out anti-Collins narrative. I at least have to give you some credit for that creativity.

Reese Kaplan said...

It's not worn-out, Stephen. It's fresh BS out of the man's mouth regarding bullpen roles. Now that Erik Goeddel is here, we'll see how he plans to play out the 8-man bullpen.

BTW, what's the latest on who is filling out the lineup? Adam Rubin says it's Alderson. Marc Carig says it's Collins. Ed Coleman says it's Sandy. Maybe they take turns :)

Stephen Guilbert said...

I'm not talking about Collins' statements being worn out. I'm talking about your repetitive and insipid narrative being worn out.

Carig is the only one who sites a team official, is the most recent, and the accepted story for now. Coleman's was conjecture and Rubin doesn't say where he got it from so for all we know he made it up.

Thomas Brennan said...

Wilmer Flores is batting 10th today.

I wonder when Collins will first rest Wilmer? He is, after all, no Cal Ripken?

Anyway, good points about his lack of mention of Montero and Alex Torres. But Terry's an equal opportunity over-worker, so they'll all get worn out no matter what he says now.

Mejia only threw 94 innings last year, Reese, but do you recall any overwork involving Mejia last year that might have led to this elbow irritation. They say it just popped up, but...

Reese Kaplan said...

Sorry, Stephen, we have to agree to disagree. When the man says something that bears scrutiny, someone has to speak up about it.

Stephen Guilbert said...

After beating the Nationals out for the division title, Reese Kaplan: "It would not have been such a close race had someone with a clue been at the helm. Someone needs to say it."

After winning a world series: "The team won despite the ineptitude of its manager, a man who still makes puzzling decisions for fans"

After another: "This team is assembled around top flight talent who wins despite its manager's best efforts to lose"

Enjoy the win. Change the narrative. Or, at least come up with something fresh.

Stephen Guilbert said...

And thank you for your martyrdom. It's a tough job, but someone has to fabricate things to complain about. We all thank you. Sincerely.

eraff said...

I believe it would NOW be a fair time to evaluate Collin's effectiveness as a Manager as it's the first time he's had Winning Talent with the Mets.

Terry Francona was booed in Philly---then won in Boston...then Boo'd in Boston. Charley Manuel was a Dope...Until he WASN'T!

Warren Spahn Pitched for Casey as a Young Boston BRave and as an OLD NY MET--- He commented that he pitched for Casey BOTH "Before and after he was a Genius" (with the Yankees, of Course!

Given all of that---there is also strong speculation on how much control Collins has..... he has kept a positive clubhouse, given the disaster ownership--- add some career years, and he may actually look smart!!!

Stephen Guilbert said...

eraff gives good examples on how and why managers just don't have much influence on the success of a team because talent wins. Lack of talent doesn't. There might not be a bigger disconnect in baseball from how much managers actually matter to how much fans blame them for shortcomings.

Sorry, Reese, I'm a little salty today. You're a good writer I'd just like to see you write about something else...especially since the topic of conversation is so negative after a great win and a great kickoff to the season that saw a good lineup and great, quick late decision-making when Mejia became unavailable.

Steve from Norfolk said...

Two questions about Meija:

1) could he have changed his motion pitching through his sports hernia enough to lead to this problem?

2) Is this how the Mets conceal a possible UCL problem? If not an larger tear, maybe a strain?

James Preller said...

Mejia is just one of those oft-injured guys. It could be wind. Familia, too. And Black. And Edgin. They just haven't demonstrated an ability to pitch well over time.

OTOH, Montero's motion seems so free and flawless, I think he's got a real shot at staying healthy.

I agree that the constant TC bashing strikes me as misguided and repetitive. He's just a minion. The lineup stuff is funny. Supposedly, now, Geren came up with it on 2/18! He's the heir apparent, I wonder who he's trying to please. The latest is amusing, the allowance that SA does have "input." Ha. Imagine you are a guy whose job is on the line -- everyone knows it -- and the boss comes along with a suggestion or three. Would you say, "Thanks for your input, but . . . ."

I mean, who cares!

Worth noting the Wright is okay with #2 spot, but doesn't want to move around from day to day. I'd think that's true of most players, which is part of the point I was trying to make with the Strat-O-Matic crowd. These are players, individuals, human beings. That's part of the equation yet it doesn't easily fit into the computer formulas -- so it gets dismissed.

Question: Theoretically, about batting the pitcher 8th in order to get the "double leadoff hitter" effect, does that make more or less sense if the pitcher is a terrible hitter? What if he's an excellent hitter?

Mack Ade said...

IMO, Lagares is the one guy that will 'emotionally' be affected the most having the position in the lineup being bounced up and down.

He's a very emotional guy that takes things very personal.

Mack Ade said...

S.F.N. -

Don't assume that the Mets are hiding injuries on Mejia.

In fact, it is players that hide aches, pains, and injuries all the time... leading to worse conditions.

Mack's Mets © 2012