There’s a new sheriff in town and a whole new direction and vibe with this team. While many of the players may be the same from the past few seasons, this is a very different team than we saw the past few seasons and, so far, it’s all for the better.
Although the Mets red hot start is not sustainable, their style of baseball certainly is. They’re aggressive on the bases, heads up in the field and smart at the plate. This team is fundamentally sound, prepared and continuously put in a position to win by a manager and coaching staff who clearly do their homework. They limit mistakes and pounce when the other team makes one of their own.
Mickey Callaway is not afraid to make unconventional moves – batting the pitcher eighth, intentionally walking two hitters to load the bases, pulling starters early, and switching up the lineup from game to game. So far he seems to have a knack for picking the right reliever or pinch hitter even when it seems like the wrong move – Hansel Robles in a tie game, Jacob Rhame to close it out, Juan Lagares to pinch hit, etc. You might say he has the Midas touch. [Note: For those of you unfamiliar, King Midas was a mythological figure who had the power to turn everything he touched into gold; he was not in fact the founder of the muffler shop chain.]
The players believe in Callaway and seem to be having fun on the field. Todd Frazier has everyone doing the salt and pepper shaker, Asdrubal Cabrera now loves playing second base and Yoenis Cespedes insists on playing through flu like symptoms. No one wants to sit out a game for fear they’ll miss out on another great comeback win.
“It’s been something else,’’ Callaway told the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan. “You can really feel the energy in the dugout. You don’t see that often. Everybody is present on the bench and they kind of feed off each other.’’
Callaway is not just pushing the right buttons, he’s communicating well with his team, the front office and the media. He’s methodical, but approachable. He’s a stickler for fundamentals, but also a fan of taking calculated chances. It sure seems like we’ve found our very own Joe Maddon or Bruce Bochy, a dugout leader who can instill his brand of baseball and set the tone for the next 10 years.