The setting: Visitors clubhouse, Turner Field
The time: Monday night, moments before first pitch
The speaker: New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon
Boys, gather round. You’ve got a big game coming up in a few minutes, and I wanna set you all of base monkeys straight. I didn’t fly into Atlanta to fire anybody, no sirree Fred. Not my style. When Jeff Wilpon flies into town, he brings good cheer, and he comes bearing insights.
Insight No. 1 is for you, Big Fella. I told Jerry to give you the ball tonight. You thought the rotation said you pitch? You pitch when I say you pitch. I say you pitch tonight. We’re in a rut, Big Fella. We’ve lost five, six, seven in a row. The number isn’t important. What’s important is you’re big, and I know it takes a big man to stop a big losing streak. You’re my Big Fella…atta boy!
Next insight is for you, the catcher. Catcher, listen, you gotta bring the Big Fella home tonight. Block those pitches, tell him he’s not falling down on the mound. I didn’t come here to fire anybody, but I can get a catcher anytime I want. I got you in the middle of February. There’s probably another one just like you floating around out there on the waiver wire. You wanna stay the catcher? Drive in a couple of runs early.
Insights, more insights, I’m an insight machine. Shorty, you — the shortstop. Run! Run a lot! Run around the bases! I couldn’t be clearer.
Where’s my Animal? Animal, get over here, you base monkey! You’re hitting cleanup and you’re batting fourth. Some people think it’s the same thing, but you and me, Animal, we know different. Make things happen. Gouge their eyes out if necessary. That’s why we’ve got insurance. Baseball’s a tough game. I flew all the way into Atlanta to see a tough game, not to fire anybody.
Jerry — find a place for the Animal out there in the field somewhere. Animals love fields!
Who else wants to play a little ball tonight, huh? Who wants to back up the Big Fella? Where’s that kid who pitches every night? No, not that one, the other one, the one from last year. Yes! The dynamo! Lefty! Lefty, you’re my dynamo. You’ll be out there behind the Big Fella at some point. Make it count! Get my drift? GOOD!
Where’s Goggles? I’ve got an insight for Goggles. You’re Goggles? You’re not wearing your goggles. What’s that? You only wear ’em when you pitch? Not interested. What I’m interested in is results. You’ve been light on results, Goggles. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. You may not see me watching in the ninth, but I’m watching. I have my spies. My spies tell me Goggles isn’t getting it done. Goggles, get it done. I didn’t come here to fire anybody, but Goggles, you’re getting on my nerves. Word to the wise: don’t get on the COO’s nerves. They’re not the nerves you want to be on.
The rest of you base monkeys: Water Commercial Guy, Bay Guy, French Guy, Junior Guy, that second baseman I don’t remember signing but my lawyers say I did — my insights go for the rest of you, too. Don’t get on my nerves.
I had a little talk with Jerry and Omar and the rest of the staff. Nobody’s getting fired tonight. Tonight we win. We’ll re-evaluate tomorrow. But I swear to Fred, don’t make me fly to Atlanta again. I only have so many brilliant insights to light a fire under the whole bunch of you base monkeys.
Now go win one for me!
Jeff Wilpon isn’t likely to be flying in for tonight’s Two Boots Grand Central debut of AMAZIN’ TUESDAY, but come anyway. Your hosts are Jon Springer of Mets By The Numbers and me. Our very special guests are Taryn Cooper of My Summer Family, Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods and, hopefully, you. We convene at 7 PM. Details here.