From the day Mickey Callaway arrived for his interview to become the new manager of the Mets armed with three black binders filled with research he had done on the Mets, it was clear he had a head full of ideas to improve the team. How’s that working out for him?
Mickey Callaway is no different than you and I when we take on a new job. We sparkle with enthusiasm and go the extra mile to put in the time and hard work to make an impression on the powers that be and our co-workers.
We observe and we see things that could improve the operation and productivity of the company, and over time we develop a plan to implement those changes, as small or great as they may be. We reach out to members of our team in the same way Mickey Callaway did with his Mets, hoping to gain an ear and their confidence.
We develop our level of confidence as we engage in this process and like Mickey Callaway, we take some baby steps ordering a new regimen of workouts designed to decrease injuries on a team where they are prolific.
We pass through orientation (Spring Training) with flying aces. The first month of the season is spectacular, and then we hit a brick wall. Actually, there are several brick walls. And none of those walls are covered in those black binders, which now sit on the floor next to his desk.
There are injuries and then more injuries. Noah Syndergaard goes down a month ago with, of all things, a finger injury. Inexplicably, the one bat in our lineup we are relying on for run production disappears, and it appears the football legs of Yoenis Cespedes simply are not designed to play baseball. Another power bat, Jay Bruce, goes down and Michael Conforto forgets how to hit…
We suffer through the tension and negative experience of parting ways with a franchise pitcher, and when Matt Harvey is finally traded to the Reds, we discover we have no replacement to fill that void.
And so it goes as Mickey Callaway wades his way through his first season as a manager in the big leagues. We keep our cool, knowing the last thing the troops want to see is the field general running the wrong way on the battlefield.
Until finally, it comes time to deal with the reality of the situation you find yourself confronted with, including and not to be underestimated, a front office and ownership which continues to act with blinders on and could (seemingly) hardly give a damn.
And you find yourself saying things you know are out of character, but they seem to fit the times:
Mickey Callaway has reached a level of depression where there is no future for his team? I know, that’s reading a lot into what he said, but what would be said of you or me if we said the same thing about ourselves?
Mickey Callaway is a good man and he’ll probably develop into a good manager in the big leagues. But you have to wonder (now) why anyone would accept a job with the Mets, without doing the research on the dysfunction of the organization. Where was that piece of research in those black binders?
And if Mickey Callaway believed he would be big enough to overcome the obstacles that were bound to be placed in his way, well, that might an even bigger problem that says more about his character than we need to know.
Callaway will not be fired by the Mets. They have their patsy and they’ll want to hold on to him for a while. Unless Callaway, much like his predecessor, Terry Collins, decides, “You know what, the hell with it. I’ve had enough of this crap” (paraphrased). But with Mickey Callaway, outbursts in futility do not appear to be in the near future. At least not yet.
Subjectively though, there is cause to wonder if Callaway is having second thoughts. He jumped into this thing, his first chance as a big league manager, with good intentions and a head full of ideas. Now, he’s stuck in a quagmire where he says the only thing that matters is winning a game tonight, only to find the Mets can’t even do that, losing their fifth straight on Saturday at home to the Dodgers.
On the other hand, it would be refreshing to see Mickey Callaway blast away publicly about the Mets and the organization. Not in a way, though, where his temper flares. But instead by adopting a professorial tone with some thought out comments that are carefully designed as a wake-up call.
In doing so, he just might find that a significant portion of the Mets fan base rises in support of him, paving the way for Mickey Callaway to dust off those black binders and getting on with the business of revitalizing the Mets – yes – for the future.