New NY Met Manager Jerry Manuel a Media Favorite? Hmm…
Saturday, June 28th, 2008 — by Wow Jones
On the job about a week and a half, there are already a number of intriguing media perpspectives
on new NY Met manager Jerry Manuel and the differences between he and his predecessor Willie Randolph.
Filip Bondy ( NY Daily News Thursday June 19, 2008-‘Manuel restart just what struggling team needed’) predicted that “Manuel will surely be a media favorite, because he is relaxed and self-effacing in ways that Willie Randolph could never quite manage.”
Media favorite? I don’t know about that. The media coverage of Jerry Manuel has been mixed at best and in one scandalous case earlier this week, unfair. It appears that some members of the media fail to appreciate what Jerry Manuel brings to the press conference podium.
In his first game as NY Met manager Jerry Manuel demonstrated his toughness (and knack for offering vivid quotes) when he revealed after the game what he told Jose Reyes he’d do if Reyes shows Manuel up like he did when Manuel took him out of the game when Reyes’ hamstring tightened up.
“I told him next time he does that I’m going to get my blade out and cut him. I’m a gangster. You go gangster on me, I’m going to have to get you. You do that again, I’m going to cut you right on the field.”
It appears folks like Matt Drudge and WFAN-AM callers like Ralph from Long Island failed to see the humor in that quote.
Jerry Manuel even made the cover of The NY Post when Bart Hubbuch wrote that Jerry Manuel compared NY Mets fans to cow manure for booing beleagured reliever Aaron Heilman (“New manager rips dung-ho met fans”–The NY POST Monday, June 23, 2008). Bart Hubbuch quoted Jerry Manuel’s response to how Aaron Heilman was holding up to the constant and consistent booing of him at Shea Stadium as,
“It’s very, very fertile ground for growth in Shea Stadium. It’s fertile ground for a team’s growth and development. Sometimes, fertile ground has fertilizer. Fertilizer is a good thing, it’s a good thing. You get the greatest results — get the most beautiful plants – when you put it in that type of fertile soil. That’s what we have an opportunity to do.”
While Bart Hubbuch noted in his article that Manuel “pleaded with reporters to forget the ‘fertilizer’ reference — and not do ‘something crazy with this.’ “ Hubbuch failed (refused?) to put Manuel’s comments into context.
It took the NY Daily News’ Bob Raissman (NY Daily News Tuesday, June 24, 2008 – ‘Good humor man Manuel can help defrost icy Shea’) — he writes about radio and TV sports personalities/broadcasters — to clear the air and put Jerry Manuel’s comments into context. He explained that the Bart Hubbuch’s Jerry Manuel quotes were lifted from a pregame one-on-one interview with Ed Coleman on sports station WFAN-AM. Bob Raissman explained that Jerry Manuel prefaced his comments by saying he wasn’t comparing fans to fertilizer. Not only that, but Bob Raissman noted that Manuel’s tone was ‘lighthearted’ and “was in a philosophical mood — and not taking himself that seriously — when he delivered the line”.
Bob Raissman adds a crucial detail when he reveals that Manuel said ” ‘Shea Stadium is a fertile ground. And in a fertile ground you need some fertilizer,’ Manuel said LAUGHING (emphasis by Wow Jones), ‘and if you can survive in New York (what) a beautiful plant you can be.’ Ed Coleman: ‘ We’ll see if you have a green thumb.’ “
What a difference a word (a verb in this case) makes!
In the same insightful article Bob Raissman suggests that Jerry Manuel may be just what the NY Mets need. “in the wake of the botched firing of Willie Randolph, the Mets organization’s image is on life support. What better way to resuscitate it than having a front man who can communicate. Someone relaxed (so far). Someone who does not come off defensive (yet). Someone capable of putting an original twist on winning–and losing.”
Bob Raissman also adds that “Manuel is not as stoic as Randolph…he’s not a graduate of Joe Torre’s University Of Monotone. Nor does he follow the highly predictable script of Joe Girardi. Unlike laid-back Art Howe, Manuel has a pulse. And a style.” Cool. You’d think more members of the media would appreciate Manuel’s approach and manner with them. Particularly after Willie Randolph’s stammering ways. Kudos to Bob Raissman for noticing.
–The Wow Jones Report