Yankees manager Aaron Boone (left) and Mets manager Mickey Callaway

USA TODAY Images

Palladino: Contrast Between Yankees, Mets Is A Sad Story

Boone Can Afford To Be Patient, Callaway Can't

Ernie Palladino
June 18, 2018 - 11:17 am
Categories: 

Forget the overall records, regardless of how utterly contrasting they look and feel.

The way Aaron Boone and Mickey Callaway handle the pitfalls of inefficiency -- Boone with his hitting stars and Callaway with, well, his whole lineup -- tells us all we need to know about why the soaring Yanks and floundering Mets hold their current positions.

Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton aren’t hitting? As far as Boone is concerned, just give it a minute. They’ll hit eventually, as they did in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Rays when both players sent balls over the Yankee Stadium wall.

In the meantime, sit back and watch Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge, a resurgent Didi Gregorius and the supposed lesser players win games for you.

MORE: Palladino: Gary Sanchez Must Remain On Brian Cashman’s Untouchables List In Any Trade Talks For Pitcher

That’s an oversimplification, of course. There’s the matter of strong pitching that goes along with that, and of course an element of lineup juggling. But for the most part, it’s a matter in Pinstripe-land of letting professional hitters do what they do best, which is hit.

Is it any wonder why the Yanks own baseball's best record (46-21) and have won eight of their last 11?

Now switch over to the Mets.

Before this weekend's back-to-back victories over the Diamondbacks -- the Mets' first winning streak in nearly a month -- Callaway ordered his team through what can best be described as an Instructional League talk on the merits of thoughtful base running. 

MORE: 'CMB': It's Time For Mets To Start Selling

As counterintuitive as that sounds, since the Mets haven’t put anyone of consequence on base while hitting .215 as a team and going 13-29 since May 1, no little detail is too small for a refresher course.

So there on the infield at Chase Field stood first base coach Ruben Amaro, preaching to the position players what the Mets wanted to accomplish once they reach first base.

And then he led the group to second and went over those goals. And then he steered the pack of supposed major leaguers to third for a similar talk.

It wasn’t exactly Vince Lombardi standing before his Packers and proclaiming, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

But it was pretty darned close.

One can only imagine what thoughts went through the minds of Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. There’s not a professional ballplayer out there who wants to be tutored like some high school kid embarking on his pro career in Single-A. At least not outside of spring training, when such refreshers happen once, maybe twice between the end of February and Opening Day.

Then again, when the pros play like kids, sometimes a manager has no choice but to go back to the basics.    

Callaway’s team of course needs more than an aggressive look on the basepaths. Having Yoenis Cespedes back would help somewhat, but he remains on the disabled list after his latest setback with a hip injury.

And there’s no timetable for his return.

And let’s not place too much stock in their brief respite from losing. It’s not like Bruce is suddenly going to start stringing home runs together any time soon.

But at least Callaway has tried to put the business of the basepaths in order. He can’t afford to wait for a supporting cast to rise up and win ballgames.

He doesn’t have one of those.

Not like Boone.

It’s a sad case.

Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino