Sports

NYC media scrutiny could lead to early departure for Mets’ skipper

New York City is the greatest city in the whole world, but not one that is particularly known for its residents’ patience. Lest people forget that Giancarlo Stanton was booed by New York Yankee fans in his first home game this year. New York baseball fans demand excellence and for good reasons.

The Yankees have 27 World Series titles and the New York Mets played in the championship just three years ago.

Both teams came into the season with new managers, new players and high expectations.

Only one team has lived up to the hype.

While the Yankees are one of the best teams in baseball, the Mets are currently floundering. Such a fall from grace has fans asking what went so wrong.

With so many players underachieving and an overabundance of heartbreaking losses, it’s hard to believe that this is the same team that started off the season so strongly. Naturally, Mets fans are looking for someone to pin the blame on.

Enter rookie manager Mickey Callaway. He has been the scapegoat for much of the Mets’ rough seasons so far and deservedly so. Callaway had a tall order when he flew from Cleveland to New York to replace the beloved Terry Collins as manager of the Mets. Collins had gotten the Mets to the World Series just a few years ago and many of the key pieces of that team were still intact, along with some seemingly potent lineup additions.

The record-breaking start shot the Mets to the top of the power rankings this year before their loss to the Washington Nationals on April 17. After the game, Callaway said that he hoped this would not send the team into a tailspin.

The loss did just that. Since then, Callaway has made baffling bullpen decisions that have led to some debilitating losses, such as those on May 13 against the Philadelphia Phillies, May 27 against the Milwaukee Brewers and May 29 against the Atlanta Braves.

Callaway unforgettably also let his team bat out of order in one of the more embarrassing baseball moments in recent history.

It would appear that the manager spoke the tailspin into reality, as the team has faced loss after loss in a season that once held so much promise. Unless he can miraculously turn this team around, Callaway might be looking for a new job come this offseason.

Fans from other parts of the country might preach patience, but that’s just not the Big Apple’s style.

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was run out of town midseason last year after not making the playoffs.

Joe Girardi was let go a few months earlier after taking the Yankees all the way to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

Callaway wouldn’t be the first manager to feel the heat early on.

As much as fans can blame Callaway, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is at least equally responsible for this mess.

All of his free-agent acquisitions have been busts so far, from the oft-injured and underperforming Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak and José Reyes to the downright dismal Jason Vargas and Jay Bruce.

Adrián González has already been released and Yoenis Céspedes can’t seem to get on the field. None of these free agents, who were all signed by Alderson, have contributed much to the team at all. It appears that nearly all of the general manager’s moves have been relative failures thus far.

Alderson has had a storied baseball career and at 70 years old with a recent cancer diagnosis, it’s fair to say that this career is in its twilight.

He’s currently in the last year of his deal with the Mets, and it’s hard to see them retaining him if this season continues to trend
downward.

When a new general manager comes in, odds are that they will want to bring on their own guys to lead the team. This does not bode well for Callaway, whose well-documented gaffes this season are at least partially to blame for the Mets’ collapse.

Earlier in June, Callaway said that “New York is tough on players … it’s tough on everybody.” He’s, of course, correct.  Just ask Stanton. What Callaway is about to find out, however, is that the city and its fans are a lot tougher on managers.

It might be unfair to blame Alderson and Callaway for the team’s underperformance, given the unlikely emergence of three very good teams in their division and the unlucky injury bug going around Citi Field.

Still, they will be blamed. That’s just how things go around here. Callaway is not in Cleveland anymore.

June 27, 2018

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Evan Lewis


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