Much is being made this morning over Mets manager Terry Collins leaving Miguel Batista on the mound to face Robinson Cano last night with lefty/chicken-rights activist Tim Byrdak ready to go. The resulting, game-winning HR from Cano landed beyond the center field fence, presumably after colliding with a jet heading for LaGuardia. Collins fully admits in retrospect, he goofed, and since that passes for brutal honesty in the estimation of the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro, let’s ignore baseball for a moment and compare and contrast how two NL East managers handle the media.
Oh, Collins had his reasons: He double-switched Batista into the game, wanted a second inning out of him so he wouldn’t burn the pen, didn’t want to use Byrdak for one hitter (though there’s no reason he couldn’t have stayed in to face switch-hitters Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher, too). His explanations were sensible.
And completely beside the point.
“Should have brought him in,” he said a second time.
Does that make you feel better if you’re a Mets fan, the morning after they ended this 25-game gauntlet against top-flight teams at 12-13 and still very much alive in the baseball season? Does it make you feel better that Collins cops to the questions rather than recoiling at them, the way Charlie Manuel did earlier in the day in Philadelphia?
Manuel, still plenty second-guessed despite the championship ring on his resume, grew testy at a round of questions between a pair of losses to Tampa yesterday.
“You guys ought to sit in the dugout with me and give me all the scenarios if you don’t think I know them,” Manuel said at Citizens Bank Park. “We don’t know how to manage the game. Really, I think you guys ought to sit down there with us or Tweet us or something.”
There is no reckoning in those words. Different styles, different strokes, different men.
Yes, one of whom has actually won something. As far as not burning the bullpen goes, Collins was aware he’d not have use of Frank Francisco in the 9th inning. Wretched as the Mets’ relief corps have been, the chair-tosser will be missed, if for no other reason that no one should be comfortable with the prospect of Bobby Parnell or Jon Rauch closing games between now and the All-Star break. Which shouldn’t be construed as a plea to sign Brad Lidge, either.