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Mickey Callaway has backed up his talk but now must build on it.

Just forty-nine games into his professional managerial career, Mickey Callaway has re-taught us two valuable lessons: 1) No matter how formal or impressive your preparation, managing a major league team carries a learning curve. 2) No matter who resides in the manager’s office, the Mets will be the Mets. The Mets’ replacement for Terry Collins...
Time: 13:55     Date: 27.05.2018
Last US Sport News: Mickey Callaway has backed up his talk but now must build on it. NY Post 24 - US News

1) No matter how formal or impressive your preparation, managing a major league team carries a learning curve.

2) No matter who resides in the manager’s office, the Mets will be the Mets.

The Mets’ replacement for Terry Collins arrived with much acclaim (including some here) thanks to his intelligence, youth and experience. Now that we’ve arrived at the Memorial Day benchmark, it’s time to see how well Callaway has lived up to such acclaim via his first quarterly(ish) report card.

Decision-making

The most disappointing component of his early run. His offseason pledge of deploying a role-less bullpen hasn’t really come to fruition, with Jeurys Familia getting the standard closer’s high share of save opportunities, and that has put Familia on track for quite the heavy workload. Too many games have featured head-scratching choices that backfired, like sticking with Paul Sewald against the Phillies’ Nick Williams when Jerry Blevins was ready (May 13) or using Jose Reyes as a pinch-hitter in a crucial spot against the Nationals (April 17) or not using Familia in a tie game at Milwaukee this past Friday night. On the positive side, he has generally removed his starting pitchers sooner than later, and the shifting of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo from the starting rotation to the relief corps, while compromising the depth of the former unit, has given the Mets more late-inning certainty.

Grade: C+

Paul J. Bereswill Demeanor

When you sell yourself as shiny, happy and player-friendly, you set a high bar for yourself. Far more often than not, Callaway has managed to meet that bar. He has yet to show any serious cracks in his positivity, be it during a game or in his interactions with players. He didn’t carry himself any differently during the team’s fantastic opening weeks or during its fall back to earth. Really, the only instances of him displaying any sort of frustration or fatigue have come in a couple of exchanges with media members that would have ranked as a 2 on the Joe Girardi Scale of media tension.

Grade: A-

Media responsibilities

This skill helped Collins stick around as long as he did … and ultimately contributed to his demise, as he didn’t adhere closely enough to the organization’s desires. Callaway has better balanced his cordiality and his self-discipline, being accessible yet knowing when to walk away. He also has proven a quick learner. After being so long-winded and superlative-heavy at the start of spring training that one Post columnist (OK, it was me) compared his verbal style to President Trump’s, he toned down and tapered his remarks.

Grade: B+

Player relationships

He has taken this department as seriously as he vowed to do, and he has displayed some backbone, too. The next player to publicly badmouth Callaway will be the first. He seems to have earned the trust of his players by being honest and direct with them, and he sent a positive message of not being a pushover when he benched Dominic Smith from a Grapefruit League game when Smith reported late and when he shrugged off Matt Harvey’s misgivings about switching to the bullpen. He continually has players’ backs, most recently defending Familia’s overall results.

Grade: A

Front-office relationships

It’s in this area where Callaway represents the biggest change from his predecessor. Coexisting peacefully with his superiors proved a perpetual struggle for Collins because he didn’t buy into most of their analytic principles. For Callaway, that’s a non-issue, and the front office loves the seriousness with which he approaches the job, his perpetual curiosity and his accountability when mistakes happen. In this relationship, the honeymoon hasn’t ended, although there is a downside: Callaway has been forced to defend and (attempt to) explain the Mets’ bobs and weaves when Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom didn’t go on the disabled list with injuries before they both did.

Grade: A

Staff assembly

Callaway had the most say in hiring pitching coach Dave Eiland, his former Devil Rays teammate. Ricky Bones (bullpen), Pat Roessler (hitting) and Glenn Sherlock (third base) were holdovers, and first-base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. and bench coach Gary DiSarcina were more collaborative calls. Eiland has provided a breath of fresh air with his honest critiques of pitchers, and the arms have performed better recently, although Callaway and Eiland were unable to fix Harvey after endorsing his retention. Callaway seems to coexist peacefully with all of the coaches despite that lack of preexisting connections, a dynamic that doesn’t always go so smoothly.

Grade: B+

Mickey Callaway talks with first-base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. before a game.Paul J. Bereswill High point

April 8 at Nationals Park. The Mets outlasted the Nationals, 6-5 in 12 innings to sweep past their rivals in three games with rookie Jacob Rhame of all people recording the save. Callaway’s group lifted its record to 7-1 en route to an 11-1 burst out of the gate.

Low point

May 9 at Great American Ballpark. That the Mets suffered a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the lowly Reds, thereby dropping the series, was bad enough. What dropped this to an official nadir was the Mets’ batting out of order in the first inning, self-destructing a rally. Callaway nevertheless scored points by owning his mistake.

Overall

You can see the promise, and you can see the rawness. Will the former trump the latter? The bet here is yes. With experience, he should improve his lower grades across the board. Perhaps the ultimate long-range challenge for Callaway will to be build on his strengths, relationships, which tend to get tested the most in adversity. And there surely will be more adversity.

Grade: B+

Sport

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Opinion

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Living

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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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