Disclaimer: The following is a hypothetical interview with Mets' manager Jerry Manuel by a fictional sportswriter/blogger. Any resemblance the fictional writer bears to a real-life writer is pure coincidence. Any resemblance this interview bears to an actual interview is purely coincidental, though that would be so friggin' hilarious.
April 19, 2010
One on One interview: Mets' manager Jerry Manuel
AA Newswire Reports
By John Q. Sportswriter
ST. LOUIS -- After enjoying a freshly brewed Starbucks Mochaccino, tired and exhausted from last night's 20-inning marathon between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals, I walked down Clark Ave.; as I approached Busch Stadium, coming out of the St. Louis Westin, of all people, was Mets' manager Jerry Manuel. I caught up with him, and asked if he would do an interview. He obliged.
Setting: St. Louis Westin, Room 463
Time: April 18, 2010 11:27 AM CST
John: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, Jerry. I greatly appreciate it.
Jerry: Likewise, likewise, ummm... what's your name again?
John: Mr. Rotch. But, you can call me Mike.
Jerry: Pleasure to be here with you, Mike.
John: So... crazy game last night, huh?
Jerry: Yeah, I'd tell you one thing - I was exhausted, man. I thought it would never end. Uhhh, we was going to eat out at Mike Shannon's after the game, but we were all like "fuhgeddabout it, man". (Makes slow swatting hand gesture.) So we ordered pizza instead. Lemme tell ya, that was some gooood pizza.
John: Yeah, I could go for a pizza right about now... so, let's get to the hard questions. Now, first of all, I'm very concerned about the state of the Mets right now, as are many Mets fans. Granted, the team is 4-7 for the season and it's a long season, and the team did come off a victory after all, so it's certainly possible to catch up. But I have had questions about the lineup from day one, and I was very skeptical of some of the roster decisions, mainly Frank Catalanotto, Mike Jacobs, Gary Matthews Jr., and recently, Jenrry Mejia. What was the rationale for choosing these players to fill the 25-man roster?
Jerry: Well, lemme start by saying that these were not very easy decisions to make. I worked hard with the front office, mainly with Omar [Minaya] and... and, uh, the Wilpons. Frank tried really hard in Spring training, he possesses a good work ethic, is a veteran presence who could bring something to the table from experience, and, I mean... he's a Smithtown boy! So bringing him up, I thought, would create an inspired, um... performance. He does have legit pop, and he was a good fit for the roster. As for [Mike] Jacobs, we felt that he deserved a second chance. He is chock full of power, and yeah, he does make that bat seem heavy when he whiffs on them pitches at times. But when he hits it, (excited) oh boy does he hit that dang ball! He's a good fit, and he provides for us that power we sorely need. And, um...
John: Sorry to interrupt, Jerry, but I must. I just think that Chris Carter deserved a chance, moreso than Jacobs, especially since he gets on base far more often and has better plate discipline! Also, Jacobs has had three or four years in the majors to showcase his talent, while Carter only got barely a dozen at-bats with Boston the last two years. He has proven that he could compete in the majors after toiling in the minors so long, with the stats he put up.
Jerry: Well, in due time, Carter will have his chance - his time will come. One must remember that minors stats don't always translate to major league success. But Jake can rake, like we say in the clubhouse! HoJo does seem to have lost a bit of patience on him, but, like they say, patience is a fine virtue. A fine virtue, indeed.
Jerry: Um, well... he did make a good case to break camp on the active roster, but the front office felt it was best to wait - they said it had something to do with arbitration, whatever they mean. Eh, I forget how that mumbo jumbo works... so I leave that to Omar.
John: Um, riiight; I see. Moving on - so what about Gary Matthews Jr. What was the reason for acquiring him in the offseason?
Jerry: We needed a utility outfielder, especially after Carlos [Beltran] went down with that injury. And I mean, did you see that play when he robbed a home run from the wall!? That was just straight-up gangsta! Literally, straight-up. (Yeah.) Lately, though, he seems uncomfterble (sic) out there, so we be sending out Angel Pagan when necessary.
John: Uh-huh, Yeah. Now, one other move I'm questioning was sending up Jenrry Mejia and designating Nelson Figueroa for assignment. Figueroa could've been very useful in the bullpen. Also, I don't think Mejia is 100 percent ready. Why was that move made, and what was it about?
Jerry: Well, Mejia impressed everybody in spring training wit his pitches - I mean, it really blew my mind, man! (Jerry puts hands on head, then waves it out about, with a crazed expression.) You shoulda been there! Anyway, we felt that the best way to go about this, um, was to have Mejia broken in, so da speak. However, we needed to find the weakest link when it came down to making roster cuts. Nelson Figueroa was the weakest link, so, uh it was time to say good-bye.
John: So, it's OK to bring up Catalanotto just because he's from the New York area, in Mets territory no less, but meanwhile, the decision was made to designate Figueroa, who was born and raised in Brooklyn? I don't follow.
Jerry: Well, sometimes, these decisions are, well... (pause) complicated. (How typical.) These are decisions that can be hard to understand at times, but the front office has all that stuff figuered out. Omar once said "I have a plan, and my plan, I like my plan." He's a smart man, and he sticks to his guns - he knows what he's doing. I mean, after all, he did bring in Jason Bay in the offseason.
John: Well, let's not forget - one player does not a playoff spot make.
Jerry: Huh? You lost me, son.
John: (Sighs with exasperation) Never mind. Now, I have just a few more questions. That one game where you put a good hitter Fernando Tatis to pinch run and a good runner Alex Cora to pinch hit, that game that ended with Mejia giving up the game winning home run - what was that decision all about?
Jerry: Well, since we had intended to place Tatis at first, we had our first baseman, Mike Jacobs on the basepaths. So we put Tatis there. Then, we figured, hey, Cora can serve as a pinch hitter for the Pitcher's spot, so that he can be replaced, and then we can flip him on the double switch (?) that would send Tatis to first, and then, we proceeded to bring in Mejia, which was a fateful decision.
John: Uhhh... okay... I won't ask more about that decision, then. Now, meanwhile, what about these reports that you and Omar are joined at the hip (Jerry laughs), so to speak, so that if the team tanks, then you two will both be fired at the same time - how do you respond to that?
Jerry: You can't listen to everything the media tosses out 'dere. Heck, if the Mets operated based on what the media thought, then who's really running the team?
John: You mean like the time Willie was fired?
Jerry: Well, I would rather not get into that. That decision was uhh...
(All of a sudden, Jerry's cell phone plays "2 Legit 2 Quit" ringtone)
Jerry: Hold up, Mike - phone call. (Answers cell phone.) Yello!?
John: (Muttering to myself) Damion Easley, I remember that was his walk up song...
Jerry: Yo, HoJo, how ya doin'!? Great weather we're havin', huh?
Jerry: You want me to join you for lemongrass iced tea, ya said? Room 343? I was in the middle of an idderview.
Jerry: Who? Oh Mike Rotch. He's a...
HoJo: Your what!? (Visibly confused chatter)
John: (Muttering to myself) Yeah, I best be leaving right now. (Normal, upbeat tone) Catch ya later, Jerry!
(I proceed to leave the room before Jerry figures it out)
So, after leaving the interview (at a brisk pace, no less), I satisfy my appetite for a pizza at Imo's pizzeria. (That was some gooood pizza!) Shortly thereafter, I get a report that Mike Jacobs was designated for assignment, much to my surprise! Looks like Jerry had, well, the balls to make a wise decision. Later on, there was fueled speculation that Ike Davis was going to be called up! Hmmm... I wonder, exactly, what inspired Jerry's about-face, though?