Monday, March 7, 2011

The Big C:

I went with my wife to see Lombardi at Circle in the Square yesterday and FIRST... Go see it. Great play, great acting and the best theater in Manhattan. SECOND it made me think: I always thought of coaches and managers as pretty useless. Do coaches etc... have a REAL ability to make their teams win? Or... do they just manage relief pitching and bench players?

Obviously Lombardi has some mystique attached to him. If only there were a coach who was out there in my lifetime who seemed to single-handedly turn a team around...

Jacques Lemaire was brought back by the Devils after the team got off to it's worst start in over 15 years. John MacLean, a former player of Lemaire's and a former assistant to him, was fired and Lemaire came back. Then... the all-star break came and went and something funny happened. The Devils started winning. Not just winning 2 out of every 3 (which would be quite good) but going 22-2-2 and moving from playoff irrelevance... to playoff spoiler... to playoff long-shot... to playoff contender. Now... the Devils are still a long way from reaching the playoffs for the up-teenth time since Brodeur came up from the minors.

What is the secret? Is it saying, "Ya know," in every press conference 20-40 times? More importantly, can Terry Collins harness it?

In Lombardi there is a line (I'm going to butcher it, but here goes):

"Once Sunday came, Vince, was the least important man on the sidelines. Other than calling 1 or 2 plays he just sat back and let his team play. They were so well prepared for every situation that they didn't need him."

That, ladies and gentleman, is the point of Spring Training. That, is the be-all and end-all of coaching. You need to teach your players how to handle everything so they simply do it... instinctively. Is Collins the next Vince Lombardi? Is he the next Jacques Lemaire? I'll settle for him simply being able to manage the bullpen, but I'll hope that he can do for the Mets what Lombardi did for Green Bay and what Lemaire has done for the 2011 Devils.

This Week:

Prospectin': I continue to evaluate the Spring Training progress of the up and coming Met players. Bet I mention Evans, Duda and Martinez once or twice.

Over/Under: I take a look at some statistics and predict whether the Mets will beat their predicted results or not.

A Meager 2012: What would the Mets look like in 2012 if they signed NO free agents?

The Amazing Race: Updating Everyone on the 2B, Bench, Rotational and Bullpen races.

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