The Mets surprised the critics by playing .500 baseball for most of April and early May. They highlighted their April run by taking three of four against the Cubs and sweeping the Braves and the Dodgers in their homestand.

Life was good for Jerry Manuel. He needed it to survive April. No one was talking about his managerial future after that.

The Mets played a bad series against the Marlins couple of weeks ago. They committed numerous errors and baserunning blunders reminiscent of last year. As a result, the Marlins swept the Mets. This inspired Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya to meet with Jerry Manuel at Atlanta.

Their visit meant the Jerry Manuel watch was on. Manuel has been in the game long enough to realize it’s never good when an owner visits the team.

Reporters interviewed Manuel shortly after the meeting last Monday. It was clear Manuel was not his usual self; he did not show his usual happy-go-lucky attitude. Instead, he sounded nervous when he spoke to the beat writers.

He knew a bad week would doom him for good. The Mets responded by playing mediocre against the Braves and the Nationals to finish up the road trip.

It came down to the Subway Series. The Mets understood they had to play well and win the series. It wasn’t going to be easy. The Yankees were recovering from being outclassed by the Rays. 

The Mets pitched well enough in their first game against the Yankees, but the Yankees found a way to win the game by scoring two runs late in the game against Elmer Dessens, who signed with the Mets that same night.

Manuel made it harder on himself by using a reliever, who arrived in town the day of the Subway Series. It was good enough to be second-guessed. Everyone knew the Mets would fail there.

The Mets answered the Yankees’ victory by winning the last two games of the Subway Series. It was more of a relief than celebration for Manuel.

It’s clear Manuel’s job security has taken its toll on him. He looks miserable out there.

For his sake, the Mets should announce he’s going to manage the entire season or they should fire him now.

There’s no point forcing a manager to worry on a daily basis. The last thing the players need is to worry about who they are going to play for.

A winning team has to concentrate on playing the game. Playing the game is hard enough as it is. Distractions make it harder.

The Mets experienced this with Willie Randolph in 2008. Randolph was in shaky ground when the season started. It was a matter of time until he was fired.

Sportswriters mentioned Randolph’s lack of job security in the first three months of the season. It overwhelmed the players after awhile. They were tired of talking about it. They put too much pressure on themselves in doing whatever it took to save Randolph’s job.

After going through it already, the players don’t need an encore.

Manuel should have been fired along with Omar Minaya last year. It was time for the Mets to go in another direction. They went as far as they could with those two.

What they need is a general manager and a manager who knows what’s he doing.

Minaya knows how to make an unheralded trade, but the farm system has not been great under his watch. The Mets have some good young players, but not enough to say their farm system is great.

Manuel makes managerial decisions that make people mutter expletives. He has no idea how to work with pitchers. He leaves his starter too long, or he uses the wrong reliever in a situation he should not be used.

Several of his young players regressed under Manuel. David Wright and Jose Reyes are good examples. Randolph tapped into the talent of Wright and Reyes, but when the Mets fired Randolph, they never recovered.

Fair ot not, Manuel has to take responsibility. A manager has a hand in working with young players. Manuel does not do a good job of teaching his players to play baseball. That wasn’t the case under Randolph.

The Mets haven’t won much under Manuel’s watch. This team has been mediocre at best. What has Manuel done to think it’s going to get better?

That is why he should go. Plus, Wilpon hasn’t exactly been enamored with Manuel’s performance overall.

A good baseball owner should be decisive. He must have a strong conviction. No one would have blamed Wilpon for firing Manuel.

For him to make his manager worry thoughthat’s not right. It’s a headache no team should go through.

Wilpon should realize that aspect.

The Mets won their fourth straight game last night. They put themselves in a position to sweep the Phillies tonight and be two games out for first place in the process.

There’s no question Manuel will be safe for now. Make no mistake. Another losing streak, and we will hear more about the manager’s future.

If Manuel has self-respect, he would demand an answer about his future now.



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