Buck Showalter, as the Mets and their fans learn, thinks there are victories in the details.
For two weeks, the seriousness of the goal has been evident with the Mets. Too often in their history, especially their recent history, the Mets had played with a glaze of unpreparedness. I remember, for example, a situation early in Mickey Callaway’s first season as manager in 2018. After a game against the Braves, I asked him why he was playing infield in a certain situation. Callaway wore the look of a student who hadn’t prepared for a test as he first struggled to remember the script, then alternated between bewildered and scruffy as to why he did.
As a young Yankees beat writer, I remember covering Bucky Dent and Stump Merrill as managers. I was so inexperienced that I had no idea how absurd their strategy answers were until… Showalter replaced Merrill to start the 1992 season.
If you asked Showalter why he played in the infield, you better have empty pages in your reporter’s notebook. Because Showalter wouldn’t have a reason. He would have a litany, which would include variables for the rest of the game and the next day and what was available when and how he imagined the game to play out. It was a three-dimensional thought. And it was part of the unofficial doctoral program that Showalter designed for any journalist who wanted to learn. He just forced you to see the game differently, to think about the game differently.
New York Post
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