The High Countries

because it’s all paperweight…

Jerry Manuel: Mets Make the Switch

Randolph (left) with Manuel (right) discussing life, liberty and the pursuit of some wins in New York.

Five years ago, I walked into my new dorm room at Biola University more scared than savvy. I didn’t know what to expect. And frankly, I was a little embarrassed that my parents waited there with me. Soon, a body walked into the room––Travis. He was on the baseball team, something that I had hoped to achieve in the next coming months, but would opt out for the game of Lacrosse, instead. To say that Travis was quiet would be like calling an air horn loud. He was one of the most unassuming, easy-going guys on the face of the planet and remains that way today. As I looked around the room, I saw various family pictures of the two current tenants and wondered if there were any space for me––a freshman––among the artifacts of these 20-something Juniors. As I surveyed the desk of the other unidentified roommate, I noticed a familiar face. A face that I had partially grown to hate, but in some ways…appreciated. It was the face of a rival. A famous rival, but a rival nonetheless. There on the desk lay a picture of Jerry Manuel, the coach of the Chicago White Sox (at the time) and a rival of my gloriously over-preforming (at the time!) Seattle Mariners. As I heard a voice behind me, I turned around to see Anthony, my second roommate.  He had about as much fat on him as a Pez dispenser and after introducing ourselves, it became apparent that he was simply Jerry, minus 25 years.

In the year that followed, I got to know the in’s and out’s of growing up in Major League Baseball and the more we talked, the more I felt as though I needed to go out and buy a White Sox hat. We had some great discussions––Anthony was anything but normal, with an upbringing that rivaled the Kardashians, but in many ways, he seemed to see his childhood as memories in the same way I did. My quality time in the backyard, his at Dolphin Stadium. I remember watching Griffey round third in 95’, he rushed the field in 97’.

I got a chance to speak with Jerry a number of times, mostly colloquial baseball chatter, but always with a sense of wonder on my end. When I visited their home a couple years back, I got the chance to speak to Jerry on a little different platform. We talked baseball, of course; steroids, Bonds, expansion, etc, and I tried to convince him to take the Manager position in Seattle, but he maintained that he was, “…done coaching for a while.” At the time, he was really considering taking the Bench Coach position for the Mets and I pleaded with him, “Why the Mets?!” He said that he loved the Mets and that New York was a great city to play in and since his playing days were past tense, it was the atmosphere and the guys that kept it fun. He told us all that if Willie Randolph didn’t last, he wouldn’t be opposed to the Manager’s role, but that Willie would do a terrific job. He signed off by saying, “If ever you’re in New York, and you just need a day off, come on down to the ball park.”

Well, Willie-days have come and gone in New York and June 15, 2008 marked the beginning of Jerry’s interim coaching tenure in New York.

I couldn’t be happier.

Oh, the pains of being a dedicated fan.  Looks like I need to go out and buy a sicky Mets hat.

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June 19, 2008 - Posted by | Entertainment, Sports | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. This is a very interesting article sir. I am intrigued by the whereabouts of your…whereabouts and how you came to meet this dapper of a man..ager. I highly recommemd purchasing that sicky Mets hat and taking a trek on down to Shea Stadium when you pay your first visit to the Big Apple. Keep your stick on the ice bru.

    Toddric

    Comment by Toddric Stefanapolous | June 30, 2008 | Reply

  2. I met this fine young gentlemen at the BU. Or as some call it; the place with the Jesus wall.

    Comment by Bryce VanKooten | July 7, 2008 | Reply


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