Everybody knows that the expectations of New York sports fans and media are skewed. New Yorkers are generally a passionate bunch, especially those of the Mets who have endured the wave of optimism and disappointment throughout the years. Along with this passion comes a keen sense of failure due to years of experience. Met fans started to capitalize on this sense and perked up with concerns around their manager’s abilities, leadership and communication early in the 2018 season. Long gone is the 11-1 start to his career where every move seemed to click into place masterfully. These days the tabloids are littered with contradictions and deflections by the New York manager. Amidst all of the unfortunate ‘distraction’ storylines it’s difficult to read between the lines of what Mickey Callaway is really trying to say. Herein is an educated assessment of Callaway’s hidden message amongst his more recent quotes.
Re: The team’s record after moving into fourth place in the division.
“Our record is what our record is. We’re concerned” – Mickey Callaway
What Callaway meant to say was “Our players are who are players are. We’re concerned that they’re just not all very good.
Re: Jeurys Familia after a poor outing.
“[Familia’s] still the guy — he’s the guy that has to have success there.”
What Callaway meant to say was “We’re going to exhaust as many scapegoats as we can this season.”
“He’s one of our best guys against this pitcher.” (Dom Smith had never faced Hudson before)
What Callaway meant to say was “He’s one of our best guys against this pitcher.” (I truly believe that Callaway believes that he’s correct here.)
Re: Robinson Cano hitting in the third spot of the lineup
“At some point we have to get him going”
What Callaway meant to say was “At some point he will hit a home run and we’ll see who’s laughing then.”
Re: Utilization of Edwin Diaz and if he would consider changing that plan
“Absolutely not, we have a very good plan, we know what we are doing and we’re going to stick to it.”
What Callaway mean to say was “We never prepared Edwin for the possibility of an extended role beyond a traditional closer, and therefore he’s not ready to assume such responsibilities.”
Re: A speculated message from Brodie VanWagenen ordering Callaway to remove deGrom from a game
“I think that we got information from all parties and we made the decision to take care of our ace pitcher that’s going to be here for a long time. We all thought it was prudent at that point.”
What Callaway meant to say was “Brodie texted me to take him out of the game and I’m going to listen to my boss every step of the way. Didn’t you hear that Kevin Durant is coming to town? I’ve got to stick this New York thing out at least one more year.”
The jokes at Callaway’s expense aside, it’s not difficult to pinpoint specific instances of utter confusion, mismanagement and more recently anger during his professional arc. At this stage it’s not a matter of ‘if’ as it is a matter of ‘when’ he will be fired. Callaway is a legacy employee from the Alderson era and the Mets General Manager would be wise to name him a scapegoat of his own by jettisoning him out of town. By removing Callaway from the equation, perhaps it will provide a fresh perspective amongst the players and a newfound sense of purpose.
The Mets should even consider bringing in someone from within the organization to temporarily fill the role. It just so happens that they have a clubhouse presence and respected voice in David Wright on the payroll already. Who better to inspire confidence and act as a calming presence to the media, fans and players? Wright can execute BVW’s hidden agendas the rest of the season, with seasoned manager Jim Riggleman providing supplemental support along the way. With the expectation that Wright’s responsibilities are concluded at the end of the season, this will allow the front office to start a proper search for their next fearless leader, and hopefully someone who knows how to execute a plan.