Friday, October 17, 2008

"Jerry 'Needs An Instruction' Manuel" --Chris Berman (1955-2008)

KT covered some Manuel lunacy in the Gallimaufry, and there's more where that came from:

While the big offensive trio had respectable statistics or better, they didn't stop the September slide. Manuel said spring training will be a time of teaching, for him to give "clarity" to players on his methods. Execution in the clutch is his emphasis, and the Mets likely will bring in new offensive players, most likely in the corner outfield spots.

So Manuel plans on teaching "clarity" (I assume this means making the team watch The Love Guru repeatedly), teaching guys to be clutch, and bringing in guys who are clutch.

Good luck with that, Jerry Manuel. I have some suggestions about how you teach guys to get clutchier:

1. Just before Jose Reyes takes a swing in BP, scream in his ear "It's Game 7 of the World Series!" and also punch him in the gut because that's what butterflies in the stomach feel like.

2. Secretly feed the team laxatives before practice because that's what butterflies in the stomach feel like.

3. Make the team eat butterflies.

4. Kidnap Carlos Delgado's kids and hold them at gunpoint while Carlos takes BP. "You like pressure, Carlos? This is what the playoffs feel like." Then, after Carlos strokes a home run, shoot one of the kids. Just in the leg, though. Remember, it's just a game.

5. Strap Luis Castillo to a speeding train. "Unless you hit in the clutch, Castillo becomes the meat in a train sandwich." Everyone comes through, and you reveal that you basically just wanted Castillo gone anyway.

6. One bat in the clubhouse is filled with plastic explosives. Stay on your toes, gentlemen.

7. Put up a picture of Derek Jeter in the clubhouse.

8. Be positive.

"You don't see a lot of guys that have statistical numbers play well in these championship series," Manuel said.

This is so bonkers I don't know where to start. First of all: what are "statistical numbers"? How do they differ from "numbers," "statistics," or "numerical statistics"? Are there "statistical letters"? We have a right to know. Second: Jerry Manuel is claiming that doing well in the regular season is a detriment to playing well in the playoffs. That's right. You want to be a playoff hero? Fuck around for 162. Careful, David Wright. Don't let those numbers get too statistical!

Third, here are your League Championship Series leaders in on-base percentage:

1. Mark Grace .575
2. Will Clark .529
3. Kevin Youkilis .518
4. Carlos Beltran .476
5. Ryne Sandberg .457
6. Dusty Baker .451
Manny Ramirez .451
8. Darrell Porter .450
Gary Sheffield .450
10. Albert Pujols .449

Look, these are pretty stupid because we're talking about minuscule sample sizes. But those are, for the most part, pretty awesome players. Players who did accrue very statistical numbers. Pujols, Manny, Sheffield, Sandberg. And hey, Carlos Beltran's number 4! Guess what: Carlos Beltran also leads the world in Divisional Series OBP and SLG. His career postseason OPS is a cool 1.302. But he still needs clutch lessons from Jerry Manuel, according to Jerry Manuel.

"What you see is usually the little second baseman or somebody like that carries off the MVP trophy that nobody expected him to do. That's because he's comfortable in playing that form of baseball, so therefore when the stage comes, it's not a struggle for him."

Here are the World Series MVPs for the past 10 years:

2007 Mike Lowell
2006 David Eckstein
2005 Jermaine Dye
2004 Manny Ramirez
2003 Josh Beckett
2002 Troy Glaus
2001 Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling
2000 Derek Jeter
1999 Mariano Rivera
1998 Scott Brosius

Two of these 11 players sort of stink. The rest range from very good to Hall of Fame locks. Because the best players in the playoffs are the best players. Period. Sure, there are Brosius-style flukes once every few years. But Jerry Manuel is mistaking the fucking Brosius Exception and turning it into the rule. That's plain dumb. Also, Jesus: coaching your team in a way that you think will produce a Craig Counsell or David Eckstein MVP award is white-hot, untrammeled madness.

Your team has: Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, and Johan Santana. Your bullpen stinks and you need some more starting pitching depth. But you were second in the league in runs scored, tied with the Phillies, who are in the World Series. "Clutch" hitting is not your problem. "Clarity" on your methods is not your problem. "Statistical numbers" are certainly not your problem.

But hey, by all means, start getting rid of the guys whose numbers are too good. The more silly things happen, the better things go for me, a critical asshole with the free time on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon to blog about dumb remarks about baseball.

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