And no, I'm not talking about sleep and gymnastics...I'm talking about what this team, this 2009 New York Mets team, needs in order to make it into postseason play this year. Because they certainly have, on paper, enough talent to get there...so what, my friends, will be the difference makers, the things that will bring the team from its all-too-familiar-of-late-late-season collapse to the postseason? That's right - rest, and flexbility!
It just occurred to me the other day that I've missed the obvious when it comes to the first one - rest. Now, I've said before on this here blog that it wasn't necessarily a good thing for the Mets to acquire "old guys," because of the fact that Willie, when he managed the Mets, had a tendency to unthoughtfully and unimaginitively throw the same lineup out there day after day...after day...after day. With nary a day of rest for anyone. In other words, he wore the fuck out of the lineup. Now, with young guys, this is risky enough, but with old lads, well...it's a certain recipe for collapse. As we saw. And it never really occurred to this pea brain of mine that there was a very simple reason why the team collapsed in the last two weeks of the season -- THEY WERE SIMPLY TIRED, WORN OUT, SPENT. I danced around it, sure, but now I'm coming right out and saying it -- off days for all! While it's nice that Carlos Beltran can play 162 games, or that David Wright HATES to sit even for one day, the fact of the matter is, folks, the baseball season is as much a marathon as it is an athletic endeavor, and we need to remember that when thoughtfully and intelligently considering our daily lineup.
Which Jerry Manuel is definitely capable of doing; which Willie for whatever reason just couldn't, wouldn't, and didn't.
Okay, so that's one.
Now for the flexibility thing. Let's say, for example, that Dan Murphy can't hit his way out of the proverbial paper bag in the two spot, while Luis Castillo smokes the shit out of the ball batting in the eight spot. And let's say, further, that this occurs for a few straight weeks. Now, if you were Willie, what would you do? That's right, you'd STUBBORNLY stick to Dan in the two and Luis in the eight just because that's what you had chosen, what you thought, hoped, and WANTED to work, and dammit, you weren't giving up on it.
And if you were Jerry, you'd be switching those two faster than a dress between two transsexuals.
See, now THAT'S what I mean by flexibility. Flexibility in thought, and flexibility in putting that thought into action.
What a concept.