Next Mets casualty could be Manuel

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The New York Mets deserve a new sponsor. How about Chico’s Bail Bonds?

After sleepwalking through another loss on Monday, this time to the mighty Arizona Diamondbacks, manager Jerry Manuel took the time to rip his players, and for good reason, too.

“We were a bad team tonight,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “We didn’t pitch well. They had a couple of hustle plays on us. Very poor game. Very poor effort on our part. There has to come a time where there is some consistency. We are just not getting that.”

The mistakes included Daniel Murphy failing to cover first on a routine double play ball, which led to an error, and other mental mistakes. According to David Lennon of Newsday, Manuel took a few players aside after the game for a private “wake-up call.”

Lennon theorizes that more efforts like the one on Monday could cost Manuel his job, despite a statement of support from Jeff Wilpon in June.

With Omar Minaya taking most of the heat this season for the Mets’ lack of organizational depth – along with his news conference meltdown – the crosshairs could soon find Manuel, who is only signed through 2010.

The Mets have 10 players on the disabled list, including five former All-Stars. But even with the team out of contention, it still reflects badly on Manuel that they can’t muster a big-league effort over the final two months. The Mets already are 1-4 on this road trip.

One possible solution for Manuel to save his job? Pull a hammy.

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If you Twitter, and enjoy more than just the gloom and doom in Gotham, you can follow me at @bharks.

Major League Baseball orders balls stored in climate controlled rooms for some reason

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Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reports that Major League Baseball will mandate that teams store baseballs in “an air-conditioned and enclosed room[s]” this season. He adds that the league will install climate sensors in each room to measure temperature and humidity during the 2018 season, with such data being used to determine if humidors — like the ones being used in Colorado and Arizona — are necessary for 2019.

This move comes a year after Major League Baseball’s single season, league-wide home run record was shattered, with 6,105 dingers being hit. It also comes after a year in which two different studies — one by Ben Lindbergh and Mitchel Lichtman for The Ringer, and another by FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur — found evidence that baseballs were altered at some point around the middle of the 2015 season which coincided with home run numbers spiking in the middle of that year, quite suddenly.

Also coming last year: multiple player complaints about the baseball seeming different, with pitchers blaming a rash of blister problems stemming from what they believed to be lower seams on the baseballs currently in use than those in use in previous years. Players likewise complained about unusually smooth and/or juiced baseballs during the World Series, which some believe led to a spike of home runs in the Fall Classic.

To date, Major League Baseball has steadfastly denied that the balls are a problem, first issuing blatantly disingenuous denials,  and later using carefully chosen words to claim nothing was amiss. Specifically, Major League Baseball claimed that the balls were within league specifications but failed to acknowledge that league specifications are wide enough to encompass baseballs which could have radically different flight characteristics while still, technically, being within spec.

Based on Verducci’s report, it seems that MLB is at least past the denial stage and is attempting to understand and address the issues about which many players have complained and which have, without question, impacted offense in the game:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that MLB commissioned a research project after last season to study the composition, storage and handling of the baseballs. He said that investigation is not yet completed. “I’m not at the point to jump that gun right now,” he said about the findings.

The investigation is not yet completed, but the fact that the league is now ordering changes in the manner in which balls are handled before use suggests to me that the league has learned that there is at least something amiss about the composition or manufacture of the baseballs.

Major League Baseball is a lot of things, but quick to impose costs and changes of process on its clubs like this is not one of them. There is likely a good reason for it.