Anthony Rieber has been at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998 and in his current position since July 4,
Give the Mets credit if you want for sticking with Ike Davis after his four-strikeout performance in Friday night's suspended game against the Braves.
In the resumption of the game last night, Davis lined a 3-and-2 breaking pitch from Craig Kimbrel into left-centerfield for a single in the 10th inning. The Mets still lost, 7-5, but Davis had something to build on as he tries to recover from a puzzling slump.
The problem is, Davis was on the bench against tough lefty Mike Minor for the regularly scheduled game. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth. So Davis had to wait until Sunday night to see if his single was, as Terry Collins said, "the start of something."
Give the Mets credit if you want. We think Davis and the Mets would have been better served if he had gotten four or five at-bats Saturday night for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.
The question isn't whether the Mets should have sent Davis and his .148 batting average to the minors by now. Of course they should have. Any good organization would have.
No, the question is why the Mets have allowed this to go on as long as it has. And whether it has done long-term damage to their talented first baseman.
"When you see what he did [Friday] night, you say to yourself, 'Is this the time?' " Collins admitted before the resumed game. "Is now the time?"
No, it's past the time. Davis already should be about halfway through the process of building up his confidence in the hitting haven known as the Pacific Coast League.
Instead of getting sent down before Monday night's Subway Series opener -- which still is possible, depending on what Davis does Sunday night against Braves righty Julio Teheran -- a resurgent Davis could have been returning to face the Yankees with a renewed sense of self-worth. (And maybe a story or two to tell from Vegas.)
That's probably all Davis really needs: to exhale. To get out of the cauldron of negativity that can be New York and especially Citi Field. To crush some mediocre Triple-A fastballs.
Instead, the Mets are hanging their hats on the oftentimes fool's gold known as "mechanical adjustments." Like his leg kick or where he holds his hands or whether his hips or shoulder or left earlobe are out of whack as the reason he's suddenly forgotten how to hit.
"Right now, the focus really has to be on what's best for Ike Davis and his baseball future," Collins said. "Because he's a big piece of this puzzle. It's eating him up. And that's where you're concerned, because when it's all said and done, he's a human being. He's a guy that's trying his heart out."
It's a given that Davis is trying hard, and that having to look to the heavens to even see the Mendoza line is killing him.
But should the focus really be on what's best for Davis and not the team he's helping to drag down?
Even Collins said Mets brass has "pretty much had enough discussions on the Ike Davis situation."
A little story: Many years ago, the Yankees had a kid player who wasn't performing up to what they hoped. They sent him to the minors. He came back after 40 games and went on to become one of the best players in baseball history.
That kid player was Mickey Mantle.
Davis is no kid, we know. He's 26. He has had success as a major-leaguer. But if Mickey Mantle can be sent to the minors to get his act together, so can Ike Davis. One single doesn't change that.