Does the manager matter more in New York than in most places?

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John Harper warns new Mets GM Sandy Alderson to be careful about his managerial pick. Why? Because things are totally different in New York:

In New York, the manager matters more than most places. The scrutiny on every decision demands a certain type of personality, as does the magnitude of dealing with the media – as well as creating the right clubhouse culture . . .  Joe Girardi has survived and even thrived to some extent despite being a control freak who gives the impression that he would be more comfortable undergoing a colonoscopy than he is dealing with the New York media on a daily basis.
I’d say there’s an argument that, in New York, a manager matters even less.  What other city has seen a team fire a successful manager only to have the team not miss a beat with his successor more often than New York?  Houk won after Stengel was let go. Lemon won after Martin. Girardi won after Torre. The guy in the dugout has probably mattered less in New York than anywhere.
Of course, all of those examples are the Yankees, not the Mets. But the Mets have been awful under a lot of different managers. Without fundamental changes in how the team does business, they’ll continue to be awful.  Which suggests to me that the manager is the least of the Mets’ concerns right now. It’s Alderson’s moves and his vision that will make the difference.
Is temperament irrelevant? Of course not. But whether Sandy Alderson hires a manager who can deal with the New York media is something that should concern the New York media more than it should concern Sandy Alderson.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.

Video: Phillies rookies dance to “Greased Lightning”

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As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.

The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.

Video with sound is not currently allowed to be embedded, so click here for that.

As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”

The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense: