Manuel was chatting casually with Frank Robinson as they waited to tee off at a charity golf tournament Monday, when he was greeted by a middle-aged Mets fan. They had barely shaken hands when the man asked Manuel a question that was apparently foremost in the minds of Mets fans no matter on which coast they lived.No many managers will crack a joke about the one area of their team that hindered them the past two seasons. Compared to the media, answering a fans question, a fan who was most likely armed with a golf club, with humor and poise shows me how cool this man is.
What are you going to do about the pitching?
Manuel, nodded toward a group of long-retired major leaguers that included Al Downing, Joe Moeller and Darrell Jackson, and said with a chuckle, “There might be some old guys out here who can help us.”
Sure, he may have overworked the bullpen just like Willie Randolph did by bringing in a seemingly endless stream of players to get a handful of outs. But when Manuel makes a move, it just feels like he knows what he's doing and if he fails, he'll be willing to talk about it. He's the kind of manager that will take the loss on his own back, saying he made the wrong move, not the pitcher.
I like that.
I'm confident in Manuel as he gets the reigns for the start of 2009, and hopefully he's still around at the end. I'd like to see if last year was a just a fluke or if he actually has the poise, humor and sense of the game and his team to parlay them into the playoffs.