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My Special Advice to Mickey Callaway

During Spring Training you might have noticed Brodie Van Wagenen was enlisting special advisors left and Wright: Captain Dave; Al Leiter; John Franco; Jessica Mendoza. You hadn’t seen so many advisors being deployed since the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Since special advice is so in Met vogue, I let it be known that I was also available to dispense it.

Thus, it was no wonder that Mickey Callaway called me from Atlanta Friday afternoon. He was concerned about various components of his first-place club and maintaining the synergy they’d produced to date. He was a little worried that since his team had gotten off to a great start a year ago and then imploded they might be due to disappear soon.

I advised him everything was gonna be fine.

Mickey asked me about Brandon Nimmo [1], who’d started the season stuck in a swamp of strikeouts.

I told him Brandon’s still the same lovable hitter he was last year, but if it makes you feel better, bat him eighth, take some pressure off him.

Mickey asked me about Zack Wheeler [2], who seemed to have backslid from his downright deGrominant second half of 2018.

Listen, I reminded him, Zack’s working with Dave Eiland on arm angles and such. Zack will figure it out, probably save your bullpen for a change…not to mention Jason Vargas’s upcoming start.

Mickey asked me about Robinson Cano [3], who’s been a boon to his teammates but not necessarily himself.

I said, Mickey, he’s Robinson Cano. Sure, he’s getting up there, but we’re gonna reap plenty of what he has left before long.

Mickey asked me about Jeff McNeil [4], who sometimes seems too good to be true, considering how the guy had knocked around the minor leagues without much notice, yet has done nothing but hit since being given a chance last summer.

Trust your eyes, Mickey, I advised some more — trust your eyes. And check the data if that helps. But whatever you do, Mick, keep finding space for Jeff. Lead him off if you have to.

Mickey asked me about Pete Alonso [5], first whether that ball he hit the night before had ever landed, and then about his plan to give him a seat on the bench.

I assured him that yes, the ball had landed (it was the wet one [6]), and yes, it was OK to bring Pete along like a regular rookie and not some heaven-sent savior this soon into his career. Alonso was only supposed to be just now arriving here from Syracuse by dopey conventional wisdom and, besides, you gotta get Dominic Smith [7] in the lineup now and then. Your team, Mickey, is a team, not just the sum of its parts. They all have to work in sync if they’re gonna keep up their first-place pace.

Mickey concluded I had given him sound advice and got on to managing the Mets to a 6-2 victory [8] over the Braves in which Nimmo starred, Wheeler went a solid six, Cano contributed, McNeil continued to rake and Smith chipped in, too.

Mickey’s a good listener.