There’s a great old punk song that goes “Ya Ha Ha Be Be” over and over for no apparent reason. I find myself now humming that.
New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel is pondering the idea of dropping his speedy shortstop from the leadoff spot, one of several tweaks that could be on tap for a team coming off consecutive September collapses.
Luis Castillo might get a shot at the top of the lineup, perhaps with Carlos Beltran batting second and Reyes No. 3. Reyes could also be handed more leadership responsibilities on defense, such as aligning other infielders and visiting the mound.
It’s all part of the master plan for Manuel, entering his first full season in charge of the Mets. After general manager Omar Minaya rebuilt a wretched bullpen this winter, Manuel is ready to make his own mark.
“My emphasis will be on team vs. individual. I think that message is so critical,” he said Saturday.
“This is not about statistical success. This is about winning as a team, and you have to put people in positions that you feel is best to win as a team,” Manuel said during a 40-minute news conference, one day before New York’s first official workout for pitchers and catchers.
“Whether that means Jose batting second, third, whatever—first or leading off—you have to accomplish that. And that’s a big part of the message throughout spring training: The game takes precedent over individual stats.”