How(e)’s That?

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I’ve seen some negative things written about Art Howe lately in the media as well as other blogs. I tend to be a bit on the patient side before jumping on the bandwagon especially early in the season. But it seems like now may be as good a time as any to saddle up. Why now? Because I think he may be losing the clubhouse.

Last week Jason Phillips questioned Howe’s faith in him when Phillips was benched in favor of Todd Zeille. Mark Hale presents a few things in his articles in today’s New York Post that supports my theory that Howe is losing his grip on the clubhouse. (At Least They Weren’t No Hit & Met’s Notes). Hale reports the following:

  • “The situation got so embarrassing yesterday that with Al Leiter having thrown 79 pitches through five innings and throwing pretty well, Howe pinch-hit for him with one out and nobody on in the sixth. The manager said he was looking for offense, but Leiter seemed surprised at the move. “It’s his decision,” Leiter said, adding, “I’ve got a job to do. He’s got a job to do.”" A player of Leiter’s experience knows not to question his manager to the media. But when he says something like that one can easily imagine what’s going through his head.
  • (Mike) Cameron was not exactly thrilled with sitting out (it was his first game off this year) and while he didn’t want to make waves, he did note that in Seattle, Lou Piniella would tell his players the day before if he were going to give them a day off. Asked if he would have preferred Howe do the same, Cameron replied, “I think it would have been better, but I’ve got no control over that. I guess I don’t have a problem with it.” It’s not a good sign when a player publicly compares his manager unfavorably to one of his former manager.
  • “Duquette declined to address the status of the coaches”. This generally means that there is something in the works behind the scenes. This isn’t evidence that Howe is losing his grip or that his coaches are in trouble but it indicates that management may be thinking about replacements.
  • Does this mean that Howe has lost the clubhouse? No but it indicates that if he hasn’t yet then he may soon. Look out, Mets fans. It’s going to be an interesting next few weeks as this unfolds.

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