....here, I guess I'd just better lick my wounds and move on to a discussion of some things I've noticed about the Mets over the past few weeks.
The first thing is, of course, the management style of J-Man, a/k/a Snoop Manuel (with a nod out to the great Mestradamus on that one), a/k/a Jerry Blade... a guy whom we were almost promised would be "a lot like Willie," who is turning out to be anything BUT. He's defined bullpen roles, which seems to have brought a certain stability to the pen which was previously much lacking; he's exhibited a fire and a fight unlike anything we've seen at Shea from a Mets manager since The Great Bobby V Disguise Incident; he's an interesting an non-cliche-filled interview, not hesitating to take the team to task when he feels he has to.
The next is, well, the pitching.... I'm not sure if this is a combination of Dan Warthen's non-alien-zen-guru approach to pitching and/or J-Man's return to the simplicity of defining bullpen roles, but it seems as if despite a shaky Pedro performance or two (which might be because he's tipping his pitches, or so I hear), the pitching staff seems to be more cohesive, focused and aggressive, exhibiting a more intelligent selection of pitches and simply just a better game plan.
Now, if only J-Man and D-War could make some of these guys a couple of years younger, maybe we'd have something here. The problem is, of course, they can't, and with the exclusion of drugs from baseball, it's becoming painfully apparent that the old guys can't cut the mustard anymore.
I sure hope Omar and the Mets are paying attention to that.
As for Ollie, he looked like a different pitcher yesterday. He seemed to undergo sort of a Pelfrey-like transformation, turning from a guy who had little or no clue to a determined competitor who had a mission, and the greatest desire to fulfill that mission. He came out throwing hard, challenging hitters, showing a slight alteration of his pitching motion, and boy, at least for yesterday, it surely worked. It surely did.
But the question is, Mets fans, does any of this really change anything? Well, right now, I'm afraid the answer is no -- the team is as solidly mediocre as it's been at any other time. But it certainly is getting more interesting at Shea, and things are starting to at least fall into a certain order, and if we can bring order out of the chaos that's been the Mets for the last year, well... it's a start.