By Howie Rose
Sometimes, the hardest part of this job can be maintaining one’s objectivity, although not necessarily in the way you might think. It’s easy to do that while calling a game. All you have to do is call it as you see it, report the events unfolding in front of you, and tell the truth regardless of any rooting interest. Simple enough.
The hard part, though, comes when you have to talk about people that you get to know, sometimes rather well, and for whom you develop genuine feelings. Cases in point-Mets manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya.
It’s quite likely that neither man will hold those jobs next season; that could become reality within the next couple of weeks. That’s the business, and based on the results, no one could logically argue that they shouldn’t be removed. What’s unfortunate, however is that too often people in their situation become vilified to the point where job performance defines the person, and in these cases it’s just not accurate.
Read the message boards, listen to the radio, even the occasional newspaper article or column will suggest that these men are buffoons or bad people, and that’s just not the case.
I realize that we live in an angry world, and that it’s no longer fashionable to say anything nice about anyone, but I am going to do that anyway. Omar Minaya may have left the Mets with a bunch of bad contracts that severely hamper this team’s chances for significant improvement next season, but he remains one of the nicest people in baseball who doesn’t have many, if any enemies in the game. Even Adam Rubin likes Omar, in spite of what happened last season. He’s a hard worker whose abilities in scouting and talent evaluation will serve him well in his next assignment, whether with the Mets or some other team. Quite simply, Omar Minaya is an impossible person to dislike.
Likewise, Jerry Manuel is a quality person. Some of his strategy might be puzzling, and he should have demanded more accountability from some of his players, but he will move on, the Mets will find a new manager, and Jerry will still be a good man. He has treated everyone within the media with the utmost respect, regardless of how goofy or simply stupid certain questions sent his way might have been. The man doesn’t even swear, at least not within earshot of media people, and believe me, that says plenty about his disposition.
Major league managers have shelf lives shorter than skim milk, so no one can argue that Jerry didn’t get a fair shot. He will probably coach a startup collegiate baseball program near his home in Sacramento, and the kids he teaches will be better for that. He’s a good man, and that’s how I will always think of him, regardless of his record with the Mets.
I’m sorry if I’ve ruined your day with a few kind words on behalf of a couple of internet pinatas, but sometimes we need to remember that there’s more to a man than wins, losses, trades and signings. Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya will be fine, because they are fine people above all else.