Mets: On Meeting The Challenge Of Joe Girardi’s Marines From Philly

Mets manager Luis Rojas: Coming of age.

While the Mets are standing by for a doubleheader against the Phillies, the drill sergeant in the other clubhouse is getting his troops ready.

The differences between Mets manager Luis Rojas and Phillies manager Joe Girardi are stark.

While Rojas can be seen cracking a smile in the Mets dugout or hugging one of his players, there sits Girardi, as stoic as he was as a catcher and manager of the New York Yankees.

While a Mets player needs only to worry about showing up every day prepared to give his best, the fiery Girardi adds a “Or Else” to the same expectation.

It should come as no surprise then that Girardi’s players pick up on his style.

Fiery and determined, Phillies players like Rhys Hoskins, who is listed at 6’4″ and 245, Andrew McCutchen, starting pitch Zach Eflin (6’6″ 220), former Met Zack Wheeler, and the always entertaining Bryce Harper, all play the game with an “in your face” mentality. At the same time, the Mets opt to go about their business of winning with a quieter disposition.

Moreover, who can imagine Luis Rojas storming out of the dugout with both fists raised, challenging the opposing pitcher to duke it out on the field.

It happened, of course, in the dustup Girardi has this week with Hall Of Fame-bound Max Scherzer.

Mets: Staying On An Even But High Keel

The Mets also play the game with intensity and zeal, but not with the Phillies’ antagonizing style.

For heaven’s sake, Girardi still wears his hair in a crewcut.

Girardi is the drill sergeant, and perhaps that’s why his team has been disappointing and always on the up or downswing of a rollercoaster, especially regarding complaints about mismanagement of his bullpen.

Ironically, it’s Girardi who always says, “this is a hard game to play.”

Luis Ruis may not say those words, but not only does he believe them to be true, but he also acts accordingly with his players, and perhaps this is why the Mets have maintained a consistency that keeps them at the top of the NL East Standings.

Rightly or not, it was Girardi’s “in your face” confrontation with Gary Sanchez, a visualization captured in full by YES cameras, that led to his dismissal as Yankees’ manager.

Luis Rojas, to his credit, will never do something like that to one of his players, and mind you, Girardi was more than right for scolding Sanchez’s lack of effort that day on the field.

Now, it goes without saying that major league managers come in all sizes, shapes, dispositions, and a form of leadership they believe can lead to a winning team.

Mets Luis Rojas: Casual but with firm expectations
Mets Luis Rojas: Casual but with firm expectations

All of which leads me to this final observation. Hands down, Luis Rojas, not only is proving himself worthy of an extension from the Mets, but he is also well on the way to the National League Manager Of The Year award in my book.

No manager can do it alone, and therefore, credit must be given to his coaching staff, especially pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.

Rojas has a grip on the Mets’ clubhouse, even though his presence there is rare. Because his presence remains in the background, Mets players do not feel like Daddy is hovering over them, as the case might be in Girardi’s clubhouse.

Two different styles, two different men, but give me a choice as to which manager I’d like to play for, give me Mets manager Luis Rojas any day of the week.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Michael Gaucher I agree Steve. I’d take Rojas over Girardi all day every day.

Mark Anthony Ramirez Girardi is a bully and an a….e. He will be annoying Mets pitchers all weekend and having umps check them for substances as a way to mess with their heads. If I were pitching for the Mets and Girardi abuses this situation again, I would just hit a few Phillies and say oops guess I’m not using the sticky stuff.

Jeff Lane I think his brother was the drill sgt in full metal jacket Sgt Hartman

Ryan Osteen But Girardi does that with his own players as well..didn’t he already fight with Jean Segura earlier in the year? Darryn Conklin Ryan Osteen He had the fight with Gary Sanchez that was caught on camera. There were allegedly others with players before that. He wasn’t even challenging Max to fight yesterday. He was challenging his own former hitting coach for years, Kevin Long.

Angel Perez We’ll be ready for anything they throw at us!

Author’s Final Thoughts

I’m closing out published comments on this article, but Luis Rojas has clearly captured the attention of Mets fans, and when compared to the U.S. Marine approach by Girardi to managing the Mets, Rojas’s strategy is overwhelming favored. 

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.