As I pointed out in my previous post, there are people in the New York media who, when they hear an intelligent person (like Rick Peterson or Jerry Manuel) use what’s called a metaphor, feel that they have to get shovel and sticks and beat it to a pulp before it eats them.
So Jerry Manuel, in response to a reporter’s question about how booing affects Aaron Heilman, says: “It’s difficult. It’s painful. But it’s also growth. It’s growth for him. It’s very, very – I’m going to say this, and I hope y’all don’t take this wrong. I know you’re going to run out of here with something crazy on this. It’s very, very fertile ground for growth at Shea Stadium. It’s fertile ground for a team’s growth and development. Sometimes fertile ground has fertilizer. (Laughter in room.) Fertilizer is a good thing. It’s a good thing. You get the greatest results, you get the most beautiful plants, when you put it in that type of fertile soil. That’s what we have the opportunity to do. Don’t y’all take that wrong because I know what you’re going to do with it.”
I mean, how hard is it really for a person competent enough to pay bills and drive a car to figure out that Jerry Manuel, in his colorful and cogent comment about fertilizer at Shea, was not calling Mets fans pieces of shit? I mean, do we really have to have a discussion about what he meant? Why would Jerry call Mets fans pieces of shit in this context? Will there really be calls for him to apologize or, who knows, resign, because he’s like, so outrageous? Is there actually a newspaper in New York City with so little respect for its readership that it employs a sports columnist (Bart Hubbuch in the Post) who seriously believes that Manuel intended to insult the fans with this fertilizer remark? I’ve heard that Craig Carton jumped on this bandwagon too. Please, someone, reassure me that no one is this dumb, but there are indeed people cynical enough to milk something like this for ratings and readership.
How much more tired can we get of the way in which a loud minority of sports journalists in New York distort reasonable discourse in order to make lucrative trouble? Why isn’t baseball interesting enough for them? Can you imagine what these jerks would have done with the kinds of things Casey Stengel used to say?
I tell you, I like the way in which Manuel is just eccentric enough to phrase things with originality and how he’s also canny enough to play around with the smarter reporters by joking about what they’ll make of what he says. Manuel has already established himself as a more interesting interview subject than Willie. He has, in less than a week, earned himself a place in the Mets pantheon of characters. But I have a good feeling about this man. I have a sense that he may be more like Bobby V than anyone else: a piece of work, and not exactly careful, but smarter than anyone else in the room. Let’s hope.