In my past few posts I’ve ripped the Mets’ ownership and Sandy Alderson’s ability to build a winning baseball team (although I’ve since let my hostility towards him go, because it’s Impossible to fill all the holes the Mets’ have with the budget cut from the Wilpons…but that’s a whole different story.) But I still have faith in the Metsies. And that has a lot to do with the new skipper, Mickey Callaway, who I have a lot of faith in. Before I dive into the new skipper and what I like about him, I feel like it’s important to discuss Terry Collins and the contributions he brought to the Mets.
I always liked Terry, even when there were times I wish I could tell him how stupid he was being. But in retrospect, Terry brought the Mets to the postseason in back-to-back seasons, something that hadn’t been done since 1999 and 2000 under Bobby Valentine. Terry made some really dumb decisions at times (Johan Santana, World Series Game 5, Bullpen management…just to list a few) but he also made a lot of smart decisions and helped bring a team that had no business being a post season team to a wild card game in 2016. Ignoring Terry’s contributions before moving on to Mickey Callaway would be criminal and so, I just want to say Thank You Terry for 6 seasons.
Now it’s time to talk about Mr. Callaway. Mickey Callaway played in the MLB for 5 years and was able to earn himself a World Series Ring with the Angels in 2002, even though he didn’t appear in any of their post season games. Callaway’s MLB statistics aren’t anything to melt over, with a 4-11 record and a 6.27 ERA. He went on to pitch pretty well for himself in Asia, playing for the Hyundai Unicorns and the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions. But it’s what Mickey did as a pitching coach that makes me excited for him to coach the Mets.
Callaway became the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians in 2013. In 2014, Indians pitcher Corey Kluber won the Cy Young Award. They also led the Major League in both ERA and in Pitching Strikeouts in 2017. It was the 4th season in a row they did so. The Indians also led the MLB in the usage of the curveball when Callaway was their pitching coach. Looking at their pitching success during his time as manager, it’s hard to look past how effective he was on the pitching staff. And with a team like the Mets who are arguably built on a young pitching staff, Callaway’s expertise is something the team needs to get back on track. Of course as manager, Callaway won’t be as hands on with the pitchers like he was when he was a pitching coach, but his knowledge when it comes to pitching will no doubt influence how the Mets’ manage their pitchers. But, Callaway’s reputation speaks for itself. The Indian’s have credited him for their turnaround in 2017. Josh Tomlin, the longest-tenured pitcher in the Indian’s organization was asked about Callaway becoming a manager and was quoted as saying:
In 2013, Callaway helped Ubaldo Jiminez and Scott Kazmir revive their careers, something he and Dave Eiland could hopefully help someone like Matt Harvey do.
Speaking of Matt, in a previous post, I tore Matt Harvey apart for not only his poor pitching ability, but for his poor attitude. And in that post I wasn’t sure if even Callaway would be able to fix Harvey, but after listening to Callaway talk about Harvey, I became a little more optimistic. Callaway says that he wants Matt Harvey to be MATT HARVEY and not the Dark Knight. And I agree with that, it’s time for Harvey to shed his past and start from scratch. As it relates to Harvey poor attitude, I think Callaway is going to take care of that as well. During his first press conference, Callaway said:
And as much as Mickey Callaway has talked about caring about players and their well-being (on and off the field) he said:
And THAT is something I was happy to hear. There were so many times that Harvey would throw an absolutely terrible game and during the post-game interviews, he would have excuses, Terry would have excuses, Warthen would have excuses, it was always the same crap. Terry was loved by his players, but he was also their friend too many times and that’s something that let guys like Harvey get careless and pull stunts like missing practices. The impression I’ve gotten from hearing Mickey talk about the team is that he cares about his team but he’s also no-nonsense when it comes to what he expects from his players and that’s something this team needs desperately.
A lot of Met’s players have already talked about how they feel about having Callaway as their new skipper heading into 2018. Jerry Blevins said that from a few phone calls they’ve had that:
The Mets’ ace, Noah Syndergaard who was very vocal about the Mets firing Dan Warthen has warmed up to the idea of having a new pitching coach and manager. Syndergaard and Callaway actually spoke to one another at a Knicks game and Syndergaard gave him his stamp of approval.
How could you argue with that? Syndergaard isn’t someone who pulls punches when it comes to interviews. Whether it’s him welcoming the Royals to meet him at the mound if they don’t like how he’s pitching, or him publically asking for the Mets’ to keep Warthen, Syndergaard is a guy you can count on to speak his mind. On top of the endorsements from some of his players, Callaway also met with Cespedes and the 2 had dinner together and apparently they discussed…hunting. Yes, hunting. Cespedes has grown out of the fast cars and the horseback riding. He’s all about hunting now and him and the new skipper bonded over that. I’m not really sure what that means when it comes to performance on the field, but interesting nonetheless. Maybe they can talk about hunting down the source of Cespedes’ injuries and how to fix it next time they have dinner together.
Callaway also has a rather impressive Coaching Staff to help him during his first season as a Team Manager. With Dan Warthen being let go by the Mets, Dave Eiland, the former pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals will be dawning the orange and blue and taking over as the Mets’ new pitching coach. Eiland was part of the coaching staff for 2 World Series Teams. The 2015 Royals, and the 2009 Yankees. Also joining the coaching staff is former shortstop and 1995 All-Star, Gary DiSarcina who will be Callaway’s bench coach. Pat Roessler was promoted from assistant hitting coach, to the hitting coach. Glenn Sherlock is returning as the 3rd base coach and catching instructor. Ruben Amaro Jr will be the 1st base coach and outfield instructor, as well as overseeing the base running responsibilities. Ricky Bones is returning as the bullpen coach and Tom Slater is joining the staff as the assistant hitting coach.
Overall, Mickey Callaway is exactly what the Mets need and I have faith he’s going to help them get back on track. He’s a guy who cares about his players, but is also going to hold them accountable for their actions. A guy who makes it clear what he expects from his players and isn’t afraid to be the bad guy if they don’t meet their expectations. Of course, talking about managing a team and actually managing a team are 2 very different things, but I think Callaway has a great outlook on how to make the Mets credible contenders once more. And with a coaching staff like he’s got, I think the Mets could be on their way to doing just that. We’ll have to see where it goes, the Mets still have some holes to fill that Sandy is going to have to fix in order to help the skipper, but I think the Mets are in good hands when it comes to on field management. Oh, and also Ray Ramirez is gone. So, maybe the team will actually be able to stay healthy for once. Although, Keith won’t be able to use the cool knee recovery machine that Ramirez lent to him last season…sorry Keith.
P.S. To my readers, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my posts, even when they're more of rants than anything. I'm trying to produce at least a post a week, but with school it's been a little difficult. But, I'm doing my best to keep producing content and if you have any ideas on what I should talk about next, leave a comment below. Alternatively you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a tweet at @Keiths_Mustache . Thanks!