Everybody is so into Pete Mackanin.
"Two months later, that thinking has changed and sources say Mackanin has indeed played himself into being a candidate for the job. He might even be the front-runner. Mackanin has won high marks for his ability to connect with the players, something Sandberg lacked."
"Even the games we've lost, besides one or two, we have been in every game and been competitive in them. And that's something that's important and is a credit to Pete."
"If Mackanin simply did better by not being as inept as Sandberg was at the end, that represents an improvement over what went before -- an admittedly very low baseline."
"But Mackanin and his players are certainly doing all they can to make a decision difficult for the front office, whoever they may be."
"If anything, the young Phillies are playing as if they want the guy to stay around, want that interim tag to disappear."
Part of this is unavoidably due to Ryne Sandberg. His cold, silent demeanor somehow did not translate into a good match with a team of young, developing players. Sometimes they needed to hear a joke or get some support, instead of getting screamed at in front of everyone, or nothing. But Sandberg has his own way of managing, and that way got him parts of three different bad seasons on the major league level.
Then Pete Mackanin came in; Mackanin, who knows enough Spanish to crack jokes with his players who don't speak English; Makanin, who didn't think benching Odubel Herrera after a brain fart was the best method; Mackanin, who in general maintains a looser clubhouse, in which players with talent or usefulness benefit from feeling comfortable. According to anyone who talks to Mackanin, he is just the pleasantest, wonderfulest man staring out of the dugout. And other managers are starting to notice.
"The energy level they have right now is completely different than it was a month ago, two months ago when we played them," Collins said. "Pete is certainly the right man for the job, in my opinion, and I hope he gets that opportunity."
Yes, I bet you you do feel Mackanin is the "right man for the job," manager of a team that has beaten the Phillies 14 out of 16 times this season. If I were you, I wouldn't want anything to change either. In this glorious season in which the Nationals have, instead of faltering too soon in the playoffs, faltered all season long and allowed for you clear passage straight to the post season, it is clear that if a few butterflies had flapped their wings, the Mets wouldn't be where they are right now.
If the Nationals were anything close to how good they were supposed to be; if the Marlins had been as competitive as some were foolish enough to think they'd be; if the Phillies had managed to close their eyes, flail the bat out there, and put the ball in the outfield a couple of times in a row to make the season series at least slightly closer to a believable split, then the Mets aren't as fiendishly successful as they've been so far.
A 6.5 game-lead isn't very precarious in September - though the Mets, MLB's most collapsible team, are probably aware that they will have to watch Flushing finally fall to the packs of wild dogs that roam the streets there should they collapse down the stretch again, can you even imagine - but little hints are there. Look at them shutting down Matt Harvey at every turn. Look at that bullpen failing to stifle teams that aren't in last place. Look at Curtis Granderson doubting mankind has ever been to the moon. Think about how terrified the person who had to make the official announcement about Mets post season tickets must have felt - should the collapse occur, the wild dogs will be scratching at his door first.
It's all just a few fateful twists away from falling apart, Terry Collins, and you can sense that. So if I were you, I'd want my punching bag to stay exactly where it is as well. That is why, to outsmart you, the Phillies should fire Pete Mackanin immediately and do something totally crazy, like make Ruben Amaro the manager.
Yeah, that would show you, wouldn't it, Terry? Would the people of this city be basically feral by the time the Pope arrives? Without a doubt. But at least things would be out of Terry Collins' fragile sense of control. Besides, if they let Mackanin stay NOW, it'll look like they're just doing it because Collins said to. So fire that guy everybody loves and WATCH THE CITY BURN for the good of the team.
In conclusion, it has been a very long season.