Freelance Journalist

STRUGGLES WILL TEST CALLAWAY’S CHARACTER

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In all fairness, Mickey Callaway is managing a depleted New York Mets team. Since Opening Day, the team has significantly been transformed by injuries and poor performance.

Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Todd Frazier, Juan Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, A.J. Ramos and Anthony Swarzak are currently on the disabled list, Matt Harvey is gone and Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Jose Reyes, Jerry Blevins and Jason Vargas have not performed as advertised.

The 12-2 start in late March and early April (when the Mets were fully stocked and healthy) has given way to a 15-27 mark since April 16. Friday night’s 7-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs sunk the Mets under the .500 mark for the first time this season.

The Mets fast start created a false sense of confidence among the fan base. Callaway — and Dave Eiland — were being lauded as saviors. That has all been wiped out over the course of the last seven weeks. The sniping presence of the New York media is on full display as the losses pile up.

One New York Post columnist described Callaway, writing:

Not admitting a blunder is one thing, presenting a half-baked spin quite another. Callaway sometimes offers incomplete explanations that may be designed to protect players but are not always believable. Callaway is not at the point where he is claiming blue skies when it’s pouring out, but leaves us with a feeling he’s taken us on a ride and dumped us on a dead-end street.

Callaway was visibly upset when he stepped behind the press conference table Friday night. His body language and tone of voice were out of character, at least from the cool, understated, peaceful style we witnessed from October through early spring.

“I think everything he says carries weight. Mickey’s someone who we respect and someone who’s our leader. The tone of the meeting was different than ones in the past. It was ‘let’s pull this stuff together and play better baseball.’ Because we’re a much better team than what we’ve been showing. I think maybe it’s a bit of a wake-up call for some of us. We have to start playing better. Sometimes it takes the manager to come in here and wake us up a little bit … I think it was received well and I think we’ll all be motivated.”

The fans that celebrated Callaway through spring training and the first two weeks of the regular season have abandoned the Mets manager.

When Don Mattingly was feeling the heat as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he confessed he enjoyed the pressure that comes along with managing in a major market baseball city. “I think you always feel pressure to win, and that’s a good thing … Managing is definitely different because you don’t have any true control. You’re making decisions and you’re trying to put guys in the best positions, and you affect it in some way. But as a player, you have a chance to make something happen. There’s probably more pressure as a manager because you have less control.”

If the season continues on its current trajectory, Callaway can expect more scrutiny and increased pressure. How will Callaway respond to the pressure? His actions will likely determine his tenure, at least in New York.

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About the author

John Strubel

Hi. My name is John Strubel. I am a storyteller. I love to write. My writing is predominantly related to my greatest passion in life: baseball. Thanks for visiting my website.

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Freelance Journalist

ABOUT AUTHOR

John Strubel

Hi. My name is John Strubel. I am a storyteller. I love to write. My writing is predominantly related to my greatest passion in life: baseball. Thanks for visiting my website.

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