Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Omar Minaya, Charlie Manuel, Andy Pettitte and Chipper Jones

 Omar Minaya appeared at Citi Field today for the first time since the Francisco Rodriguez incident. As (good?) luck had it, Minaya had been in Minneapolis Wednesday and Thursday, attending the owners' meetings.

Not surprisingly, Minaya tried to be somewhat critical of K-Rod, but this part of the job doesn't come easy for him. He's too easygoing a guy. Minaya's harshest comment was probably, "It's unacceptable."

I say, it's unacceptable that no one in the Mets' hierarchy - ownership, front office, manager - ripped into K-Rod. A suspension has to be negotiated with the Players Association, but a verbal scolding doesn't. If this happened with the Yankees now, Brian Cashman would take great delight in ripping into the player. He would've sounded like Steve Martin in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

Back in the day? George Steinbrenner would've gone to town. And in between right now and back in the day? Joe Torre didn't mind being the heavy, although he did it with a certain panache that got his message across while still maintaining his "loving father" vibe.

With these Mets, though? Minaya is too nice, Jeff Wilpon is too publicity-shy and Jerry Manuel is too loony.

I think this whole thing has the makings of a column off tonight's Phillies-Mets game. My colleague David Lennon thinks so - it was pretty much his idea.

Just please, as always, don't tell the competition.

--I love attending Charlie Manuel's news conferences. To steal an old cliche, ask Manuel what time it is, and you'll tell you how to build a watch. I don't always agree with everything he says, but I know that he's speaking in a no-spin zone, to steal another trademark. He just says what he thinks.

I wanted to ask Manuel about his team's ability to play well through adversity. After all, the Phillies are on a 16-4 run, accomplished mostly with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino on the disabled list; Victorino returned to the lineup last night.

Here was the question I asked, phrased just as I said it: "Charlie, the success you guys have had these last few weeks without so many of your regulars, is that a talent issue, you think? Or is there something to be said for your guys’ mental strength, or however you want to describe it?"

Here was Manuel's response: "I think our starting pitching has a lot to do with it. But at the same time, I think we just come out and we play right. I think it’s attitude, chemistry. I’m thinking that’s what it is. Give credit to the guys. They come out and they play, and they want to play the right way.

"I haven’t heard people talk about losing. And we don’t talk about winning a whole lot. That’s good. We expect to win when we come to the ballpark. Guys get a chance to play, like (Ross) Gload, (Mike) Sweeney, (Wilson) Valdez - who’s been very good for us all year long.

"It just goes to show what you can do when your mind’s set and you want to do something. A lot of guys, when you get guys hurt – and that happens in baseball a lot – they have a tendency to make excuses. We don’t do that. We keep playing. I like that. That’s real good. That’s a good thing to do.

"Baseball is a game of luck. There’s a lot of human nature and luck coming into play, but also determination and fight. You can take advantage of breaks, and you can help make things go right for you, and that’s what I see us doing."

Love it.

--Andy Pettitte's simulated game didn't go as well as the Yankees hoped. The good news for the Yankees is that they have some time to play with here, given their secure playoff spot and how far we are from the playoffs. The bad news, of course, is that Pettitte's rehab had been going swimmingly up until this point.

--Chipper Jones will get his left knee surgically repaired, with the idea of playing again next season. A few of us were talking with Jeff Francoeur, Jones' old Braves buddy, before the Phillies-Mets game, and Francoeur said he could see Jones retiring after next season because he's tired of the travel.

But Jones has a $13 million contract guaranteed for 2012. How often do players actually walk away from that sort of money? 

--Have a great night.


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