It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here I know, but this has been on my mind for some time and especially during the Mets recent atrocious skid.
So, What is leadership exactly? Is it showing a bright and happy face during Pre and Post game interviews? Is it keeping positive energy and good vibes during bad times? Lots of fans question whether the Mets have real leadership. While I can certainly understand why, I think fans need a real understanding on what leadership is.
Look no further than one Francisco Lindor, An on the Field leader who whenever he plays and is on the field, you see him calming guys down, reassuring his teammates, keeping positive vibes while at the same time, keeping it real and honest when things are rough. Now, that’s not a knock on Pete Alonso who is an optimist and likes to put a positive spin on things. Let it be known, there is nothing wrong with that at all. What fans are doing is destroying Pete Alonso for being positive and for him feeling like he doesn’t need to point out the obvious. Some players will call it like it is, some players will see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel (Positive outlook) and some players will be in the middle, Positive with some realistic view.
Here’s the issue though….Fans, Media, Talking heads, bloggers, myself included don’t know what goes on in the Clubhouse behind closed doors and we will never know. Are guys losing their minds? Are guys just Happy-go-Lucky? Is Luis Rojas digging it into them? Is he cheering the lack of Offense? We’ll never know and that’s something that benefits the team. What the fans, Media, Talking Heads, Bloggers don’t know is best. But let’s not take that too far, Remember the Rat/Raccoon fiasco? Everyone was miffed that the Mets weren’t “Honest” about what happened and honestly, good that they didn’t. Media, fans, Talking Heads and Bloggers have ways of blowing things out of proportion. But now I digress.
We’ve seen this team literally plummet harder than Tom Petty’s Free Falling and yet instead of being doom and gloom about it, the Mets as a whole are having positive energy. Hate him all you want, but Luis Rojas has kept his guys motivated through this awful stretch. Also, Even though the Mets are now 7 games back of the now First place Atlanta Braves, Rojas helped kept an injury riddled Mets team in First place for 90 consecutive days when the Mets were using their C and D squad players.
Now here’s the point I’m making. When Francisco Lindor went down with his oblique injury, It reflected on how much he was missed on the Field. It’s one thing to be in the Dugout on the Injured list and be a Leader, but there’s a Humongous difference when a star player or a Leader is on the field playing along side you. Examples are going to pitchers mound visits to reassure pitchers that everything’s going to be fine/helping him calm down and feed him a positive outlook on the situation. Since Lindor went down, the Leadership isn’t the same and other players have tried to take over that role in his absence.
Pete Alonso is one of those guys trying to “Hold down the Fort” so-to-speak. Is it working? I wouldn’t immediately shoot it down, but is he has good as Lindor? From what we can see, no he isn’t. Again, that’s not a knock against Alonso, He has his own way of being a Leader. The same goes with Luis Rojas, While it may look like he looks uninspiring, lost or even unintelligent, He knows what he’s doing (as far as what the analytics department allows him to do). In terms of keeping his team motivated, standing up for his guys and showing he believes in them, he’s got it down to a science. To question him on standing up for his players is ludicrous. You see it all the time when barking at umpires, questioning calls, you name it. His players could be 100% wrong in whatever play was made or with a call regarding a ball or strike, but he’ll go out there and fight for his guys. That’s what a real good manager does for his team. You also see that the players love playing for him and do whatever they can for him, including some late game rallies. That’s not saying they’ve been doing it recently, but The Players do love his influence as well as how he handles media and stands up for them.
While some fans, Media, Talking heads and bloggers may find this asinine and want Managers to be like those of the managers “back in the day” like Billy Martin, Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter and some even may reference Wally Backman out of all names, Managers in today’s game simply don’t do that anymore, It’s one of the reasons why Joe Girardi was canned as Yankees manager. He called out Gary Sanchez a few times and the organization as well as the Player(s) hated that. While I admit that players should grow more of a backbone and suck it up, That’s how players are nowadays. There’s just no changing that and the game has changed dramatically.
Leadership now is how you defend your players, are there for your team and how you keep them motivated and how you face the Media at times. Whether you agree with it or not, that’s how the game has evolved now. There’s nothing anyone can do to change that. Leadership for an MLB team is also how you conduct yourself after a good or bad performance and how you respond to others or even how you talk to the Media. Most responses are PR responses/right things to say and you can certainly understand that, However there are something that players say that you really need to read between the lines with and not see it as a general statement or what fans claim as “Delusional” or “in Denial”.
I’ll reiterate, what fans, Media, Talking heads, bloggers don’t know what happens behind closed doors in the clubhouse is for the better. They don’t need to know and it’s best left to the Players, coaches, Manager, Front Office Executives and Owner(s).