Archive for the ‘Howard Johnson’ Category

I Love Ya Hojo, But Shutup

June 11, 2011

News from the New York Post has former ’86 Met and hitting coach, Howard Johnson, publicly disagreeing with Terry Collins’ decision to bench Jason Bay.

“It’s ridiculous it’s come to that.  If he’s supposed to be part of the solution, I don’t see the point of taking him out of the equation. It’s sending him mixed messages. I don’t care if he’s 0-for-50, you’re not going to get him relaxed by taking him out of the lineup.”-Howard Johnson

With all due respect Hojo, it’s ridiculous that you decided to open your yapper on this matter.  Smells like the girl who didn’t get invited to the prom telling everyone in the world how lame the prom is.

I love you man (in a completely platonic way), and always will.  But I also believe you are completely wrong here.  Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson have established that they are creating an atmosphere in which players will be accountable for not performing.

You are part of the old regime that told us everything would be ok if we were patient.  Players would work themselves out of slumps. After four years, we were still waiting.

Jason Bay has had 39 games to work himself out of this slump.  That is almost 25% of the entire season.  Whatever he was trying on his own was obvioulsy not working.

I hope that you find something more useful to do with your time.  Back seat driving does not suit a man of your caliber.

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Hojo Must Go

July 27, 2010

 

As you know (thanks to Tom), reports are surfacing that the Mets coaching staff is going to remain intact. I agree…..only if you are talking about Dan Warthen. How is it possible that Howard Johnson is still employed?

Indulge me for a second before I get into the reasons why Howard Johnson should be out of a job. First and foremost, I am a New York Mets fan. Howard Johnson will always be a player that I remember with fondness. How can you forget Hojo and Straw joining the 30/30 club in 1987 together?

One of my favorite plays in 1986 was when he came off the bench to belt a monstrous home run against the hated St. Louis Cardinals to help the Mets sweep them in their own home park.

I will also never forget the hilarious instructional video he filmed with Roger McDowell on how to make a hotfoot.

For those of you that know me, I am not a proponent of the quick hook. That being said, it is time for Howard Johnson’s tenure to end as their hitting coach. Since his appointment to the position in July of 2007, the Mets’ offense has produced below expectations.

Throw out the injury plagued season of 2009, and take a look at how the Mets have regressed as a team offensively.

2010: They are currently ranked 23rd in team average and RBI.

2008: They ranked 12th in team average, and 10th in RBI.

Upon watching almost every game this team has played during his tenure, it appears that the hitters as individuals tend to not have the ability to make in-game adjustments. They also seem to take a long time to come out of slumps collectively.

It is the hitting coach’s job to help hitters recognize what pitchers are trying to do to them, as well as correct flaws in their swing that they develop during the season. How many more times are we going to see Jason Bay wave weakly at an outside breaking ball?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand teams go in slumps offensively. However, I think slumping for an entire month is excessive. The month of July has been absolutely disastrous for the Amazin’s. They are dead last in all of baseball in runs and on base percentage. They are next to last in batting average, RBI, and home runs.

So what is keeping Johnson employed?

He has a history with the Mets as a respected player and he possesses the right work ethic and attitude as a coach. But these factors alone are not enough to weather this storm.

Throw in an outstanding relationship with the team’s superstar, and you might have the right ingredients.

Recently, David Wright commented on the Hojo rumors :

“HoJo hasn’t had any oh-fers, it’s the hitters. HoJo is the hitting coach, that’s the bottom line, we’re the hitters. HoJo is taking it hard as any hitting coach would. Obviously the relationship I have with HoJo, I love him. I’m always going to go to bat for him. I’m always going to fight for him, but the whole offense feels responsible. As hitters we have to do a better job of going up there and having good at-bats.”

Side Note: Comments like these endear me to Wright. He NEVER makes excuses and is extremely loyal. Combine that with his talent and the fact that he comes to play every day and you’ve got yourself a keeper, ladies and gentleman.

The problem is, you can’t fire an entire lineup.  I think Johnson knows this.

“I think at this level you get hired to get fired at some point. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but you deal with it. That’s the reality of sports. We’re trying to set a standard here and we’ve scuffled. Hey, this organization has been solid. I don’t feel any pressure that way or anything like that. It’s nothing like that.”

Is it completely fair to blame Hojo for all of this? Absolutely not. One of the biggest challenges a hitting coach can face is trying to get his guys in a rhythm or a zone as hitters. I imagine that is quite challenging when the lineup changes on a daily basis.

Omar stated last week that Jerry’s job is not in jeopardy. That led me to believe that someone was going to take the fall for this awful month. Dan Warthen is in the clear. Lost in this horrendous month was an outstanding performance by the vast majority of the pitching staff.

A message needs to be sent that this isn’t good enough. Apparently, we’ll have to wait for it. Hojo has earned a stay of execution.

Originally published on Mets Gazette.

Some Changes Need to Be Made

May 15, 2010

This current Mets team is not the worst in baseball by any means.

They are an average team.  Their current 18-18 record is a convenient piece of evidence to this statement.

The problem is, I am like the majority of Mets’ fans, in that I desperately want a winner.

A few things need to happen to accomplish this.

1.  Oliver Perez needs to be taken out of the rotation.

I know I’m not the one writing the 12 million dollar check, but it is obvious that Perez does not have what it takes to be a big league pitcher.

It’s not like this is his first couple of seasons.  If he hasn’t figured it out by now, he probably won’t in the future.

I’ll leave it up to Omar and the Wilpons to figure out what to do with him.

I don’t envy their position.  Ollie has absolutely no trade value, he is not injured, and putting him in the bullpen would be a recipe for disaster.

I don’t feel sorry for them either.  It was their decision to pay him this much.  They dug the hole.

2.  The lineup needs to change.

The Jose Reyes experiment has to be stopped and stopped immediately.

Jerry Manuel has stated that Jose is trying to do too much.  I agree with Manuel on this.  But, Jerry needs to take some of the blame here.

I don’t understand the logic in throwing Jose in an unfamiliar spot in the lineup after such a huge layoff.

Any player would press after being out of the game for as long as Jose was.  Combining the time away with a new role in the offense does not make much sense.

Get Jose back into familiar territory where he can start to work through his issues at the plate.

3.  The overall performance of the offense has been uninspiring to say the least.

Certainly, much of the blame falls on the player’s shoulders.

However, it is unrealistic to bench an entire lineup or start a fire sale of players.

At what point does Howard Johnson take responsibility for this?

I am as much of a fan as Hojo as the next Mets Man, but he has a job to do.  This job is to get this lineup to produce.

Realistically, he is not to be blamed for Jose Reyes’ struggles.

That being said, where does his responsibility begin for David Wright’s increase in strikeout rate and dip in average?

What about Jason Bay’s lack of power?

What about the entire lineup’s inability to get hits or productive outs with runners in scoring position?

The lack of production of the offense is the most troubling to me because I am not sure what the answer is.


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