Mets manager Luis Rojas has captained his team’s ship in unsteady waters by staying calm. But yesterday, he had their back, and they loved it.
Over the years, Mets managers have come and gone with varying personalities and demeanors that characterize the teams they have led.
When the previous regime and Brodie Van Wagenen hired Luis Rojas, it’s fair to say they didn’t know what they were getting regarding the brand of leadership he would bring in.
And when Sandy Alderson announced that Rojas indeed was going to return to manage the Mets this year, the jury remained out, pending a verdict.
Racked with injuries to key players and forced to integrate replacements with little or no major league experience, Luis Rojas kept the Mets on an even keel while holding off all challengers in the NL East.
Rojas did it quietly and calmly even as the Mets teetered on edge at times, and it was on On April 20, 2021, he was ejected from a game for the first time in his Major League career after arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire John Libka.
Mets: Rojas Has Walker’s Back
Yesterday, Luis Rojas took his game to another level as he watched his team play Little League in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He watched as his All-Star pitcher Taijuan Walker walked four batters and allowed three runs to score before he erupted after Walker kicked a fair ball foul and then stood by as the ball rolled to the Pirates dugout allowing three more runs to score.
No description is needed – the video says it all:
Mets: Luis Rojas Sets A Fire Under His Team
Replays later showed that the call was correct, and Walker kicked the ball foul, and despite Walker’s objection, Rojas knew that, but he had another agenda on his mind.
In a lackluster 4-1 loss to the lowly Pirates Friday night, it got even worse on Saturday when the Pirates scored four in the ninth off Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz for a 9-7 win, leaving the Mets with the chance of more embarrassment and being swept on Sunday.
Down 6-0, Mets fans know the rest of the story by now as the bullpen shut the door for 8 2/3 innings, a pinch-hit three-run home run by newcomer Travis Blankenhorn, and then the cruncher, a two-run blast from slumping Michael Conforto – game over – the Mets win.
Make no mistake. It was the Mets players who accomplished the dramatic win, not Luis Rojas, who could not have known that Aaron Loup, whose three consecutive strikeouts in relief held the Bucs off, had said to Walker:
“I told [Taijuan] after he had come out of the game, before we made it down to the bullpen, that we were gonna go pick him up [and] not to worry about it.
But just as clearly, Luis Rojas had set the tone for the rest of the game, and all that was left was for the players to take it upon themselves to set things right.
Mets: Luis Rojas Knows When To Cry Wolf
We remember the story about if you cry wolf too often, people will stop believing you from our childhood days.
Former manager Billy Martin was that way, and to a lesser extent, Valentine was as well.
Keeping the heat on over a long and arduous baseball season, constantly getting ejected from games, hollering and screaming in the dugout – and pretty soon players stop listening – “Oh, it’s just Billy being Billy again.”
Whereas, Luis Rojas gets it, and his outburst yesterday was the right thing to do in that time-space.
More than likely, Rojas will be hearing from MLB and hit with a fine for brushing up against the umpire, but hopefully, Steve Cohen will send him a “Thank You” card with a check inside.
We’re learning fast. The Mets made the right call in retaining Rojas, and the next step should be an offer to extend his contract before the season’s end.
Or even today, for that matter…
Update: 7/19/2021 5:25 PM ET
MLB has levied a two-game suspension on Luis Rojas. It is not known if he intends to appeal, or when he will begin serving his suspension.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Jim Russell Earned his stripes with that one
Michael Oneil It was the most Mets thing possible. It’s nice to finally see him be a team manager, not a game manager. Maybe this will finally light a fire this team is so desperate to find. They’re asleep at the wheel.
Joe Cavanagh But Rojas was WRONG and the ump 100% correct..He will be suspended for making contact with ump. Author’s Reply: More than likely Rojas suspected that, but he had the back of Walker who was this close to being ejected and suspended for at least one start. Good managers take the heat off their players.
David Soto Everyone has a BREAKING POINT!!!
Lori McNicholas Never saw him so mad. WOW!