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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Mets must resist a panic move

By Rich Coutinho

I will be the first to admit a 2-5 start is the last thing anybody in the Mets organization needed coming off a 70-92 season and an offseason littered with season-ticket cancellations, but knee-jerk reactions are better left for sports radio talk-show hosts and an aggravated fanbase.

"C'mon it is just a few games and we all know a baseball season is much longer than that," commented Jose Reyes, "and there are some good things like the bullpen and the way both Pelfrey and Niese have pitched. For me, just being out there is great and as far as this team is concerned, I believe in everybody in this room." And that sums up the overriding feeling in the Mets clubhouse. There is a lot of season left and seven games is too small a sample to start overhauling things.

You all know that I have been very vocal about my displeasure with the way Jerry Manuel manages this team, but the time to make that move was last winter. You simply cannot cater to the whims of the fans and the media who want Manuel to relinquish the keys to the manager's office. Granted, he did not help himself with his "unprepared" comment after Sunday's loss, but firing a manager in April is unprecedented unless your name is George Steinbrenner and the manager is Yogi Berra.

"It is up to us to turn this around," said pitcher Mike Pelfrey, "and we have the talent in this room to do just that. We have not played the way we are capable of playing that's for sure but we all know that things in this sport change in a hurry." The big right-hander's six-inning two-run start remains one of the few bright spots in the early-going of the 2010 season along with the bullpen and the play of Jeff Francoeur.

That brings us back to the issue of Jerry Manuel, who many experts feel is in serious trouble if this road trip puts the Mets in a deeper hole. All indications I get from inside the Mets organization is that they are not pleased with the start of the season but they spent all offseason executing a plan they felt would work. To scrap that plan in the season's first month would be foolish and counterproductive.

Now, if we are having this conversation in May, it might be time to check the whereabouts of Bob Melvin. But until then, please stop the insanity.