In Defense of Mickey


In defense...

If I had a dollar for every time Mickey Callaway was criticized...  

Since that 11-1 start to his managerial career, Mickey has come under fire for one thing after another.   Why did he bring in Zamora to face Bryce Harper?  Why did he bring in Diaz?  Didn’t he know Paul Sewald couldn’t be trusted with a six-run lead in the ninth? 

He also has had to deal the dis-function that it is the NY media circus, the NY Met front office that sometimes reacts to the media circus in the wrong way, and a fan base that wants to kill even the best managers.

Davey won the most games in a single season and people said the team won despite him.  

Bobby Valentine took the Mets to two straight post seasons and a World Series, and people were happy to see him go.

I was once told that there are four different kinds of managers.  Superman/woman, who does everything for the staff but never allows the staff learn how to do anything.  The police officer that only worries that staff do what they are told, show up on time, etc.  The problem here is that staff don’t learn to think on their own and when the boss is not there, things don’t work out.  There is the cheerleader that tells staff that they are great but never teaches them how to do their job.  Finally, there is the coach/teacher that teaches staff to do the job, and lets them do the job, providing guidance along the way.

The word on the street is that the Mets front office (not just recently but for several years) is a top down organization.  Lineups are dictated from on high to all levels of the organization.  It was said that Wally Backman was let go because he pushed back against this top down approach.  It is said that even pitching changes get made by some guy on a couch watching the games on TV.  With the development of analytics, this trend will only get worse.

What’s more, Mickey was given a bench coach that was to help him make all the difficult in game strategy moves. 

So, given all this, where does that leave Mickey?

The way I see it, all Mickey can do is be a cheerleader.  The NY media and fan base can be extremely negative at times.  He must have a tremendous amount of will power, and stamina, and stick-to-itiveness to keep his team focused and positive.  Not to mention, keep his sanity. 

Even during the roughest patches, the team kept fighting.  They stood by Mickey as he constantly built up them up and stayed positive.

I am thinking this type of manager is what the Mets front office wants.  They don’t want him to call the shots, make out the lineup, decide when to take out the pitcher.  They want to do that.

They also are most likely the people telling him to play a second baseman in right field, a left fielder in center, a third basemen in left field, and, until he got hurt, a first basemen in left field.  All Mickey can do is smile and tell the team how great they are, so they battle day in day out, no matter how tough the loss was the day before.

Baseball happens.   Sometimes managers leave relief pitchers in with a one run lead, two men on base, one out, and they strike out the next two players (thanks Fonzie) and other times they bring in their all-star closer and he gives up a big home run (insert your 2019 Edwin Diaz example here). 

Understand Mickey for what he is, what his job is, what the front office wants him to do, what he provides this team day in and day out, and what he does for the players.  Once you do, I think you’ll sleep better at nights, complain less often and maybe even yell at the dog less. 

At the end of the year, should the Mets fail, Mickey will probably be the one to get the blame when all he did was do what he was told.


Tom Brennan said...

Any manager can make mistakes. Some of Mickey's decisions have been bewildering. But somehow, the Mets are 2 games out with 17 to play and a favorable schedule (11 home games, 6 road games, only 2 tough series coming up) and a hot hitting squad.

And Stroman is due for a win, isn't he?

Let's go Mets. May Mickey not make another mistake and lead them to the Wild Card and then deeper into the post season.

bill metsiac said...

A lot of good points here, John. I don't know about the "word on the street", because there are so many, in all directions, but overall I think Mickey is doing a better job than given credit for.

He's farfrom perfect, but he's new to the job and learning as he goes. I find it interesting that fans see a young player who is struggling and say "put him in the lineup every day and he'll be fine", but the same fans won't give a young mgr the same long leash.

Joe Torre was an awful mgr here, though he was given some leeway by the fans because of his popularity as a player. Yet his record with the Yankees turned him into a God. Did he suddenly get smart, or did he learn to better handle situations.

Gil Hodges is (deservedly) beloved by Mets fans, but had horrible w/l records with the Senators, and in his 1st year and a half here.

I don't judge mgrs by w/l records, or feel that they are even close to the importance of the talent. Was Casey the greatest, smartest mgr of all time, because of his 5 straight WS's in the Bronx, or was he the worst, dumbest ever because of the Mets years?

The team plays hard for Mickey, and he never let them quit, despite the record in the 1st half of this year. He has them motivated, and IMO has at least earned the right to finish his contract, which has one year left. Again, he's not perfect, but he's learning and has the team motivated. And that's important.

Gary Seagren said...

This has nothing to do with MC but I have to post my disgust with MLB for not allowing the team to wear first responder hats on 9/11. What possible issue could arise from that and especially after forcing teams to wear those God awful uniforms a few weeks ago it just doesn't make any sense at all and a VERY bad impression of MLB as a whole.

John From Albany said...

Exactly correct Gary. Thank you.

Tom Brennan said...

Baseball morons. Some other team wore a special cause hat lately, but not this? Here?

Reese Kaplan said...

That is why Pete Alonso did not ask about the shoes when turned down for the hats. Sometimes it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Gary Seagren said...

"For Pete's sake" should be our rallying cry! LGM

Tom Brennan said...

Gary...Win in 2019 then the chant will be RE-PETE!

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