Even when the “hot seat” label is justified, fans take immoderate pleasure in monitoring job speculation about coaches and managers.

I, too, am guilty of the impulse to push the leaders of flagging teams out the door. When the Giants started the season 0-2 in 2007, I wrote in this space that Tom Coughlin was “nearly jobless.” A few months later, Coughlin won a Super Bowl.

Only nine games into the baseball season, similar schadenfreude is besetting Jerry Manuel, who still looking for a full season with a healthy Mets roster.

Listening to talk radio and sifting through Mets-related tweets, we hear variously that Manuel is playing the wrong players, making the wrong bullpen moves and, in general, acting as a kind of obstacle the Mets must overcome.

But the countdown to Jerry Manuel’s firing is premature. The Mets are their own obstacle, and Manuel is trying to toughen them up. After three seasons of severe underachievement, the Mets repose fragile hope for a rebound season in the development and recovering health of a roster veined with top-level talent.

“I think we have enough character to handle some difficult situations, some adversity,” Manuel said of his team after Thursday’s heartening shutout victory in Denver. The 56-year-old was probably sending a message about himself, too: I need a chance to prove it. 

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