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Manny Happy Departures

I'm more upset at the departure of Manny Acta to become Nationals manager than I am about the new Mets ballpark taking on the name Citifield.

I don't have a major objection to Citifield and I the reason for this is that when you say it aloud, it sounds natural ("City Field" conjures up the image of Central Park).The sponsor is not as immediately obvious (at least to me) as Ameriquest Field, AT&T Park, or PETCO Park and I would have been perturbed had they named the ballpark CitiGroup Field, Park, or Stadium. This name is much more respectful for all involved. Hoping for a ballpark to be named after a player or person integral to its development is wishful thinking in this era. For the Mets to secure $20 million a year for a name that doesn't hinder or damage their reputation is perfectly reasonable to this blogger.

The loss of Manny Acta is more significant than I think people will acknowledge. In my opinion, Acta was a VERY good third base coach. He was the second-most aggressive third-base coach I've seen (Bobby Valentine ranks first). He was smart with his baserunners. You rarely saw a blundered sign, or a bad send to home plate over the last two seasons (Ramon Castro the exception) and a lot of the latter can be attributed to Acta's good instincts.

There is a statistic known as Pythagorean Win-Loss Percentage, which was developed 20-odd years ago by Bill James. It predicts a team's season mark with high-level accuracy, based on the rather simple mathematics of

(Runs scored)*(Runs scored)/((Runs scored* Runs scored)+ (Runs allowed*Runs allowed).

According to this formula, the 2006 Mets should have won 91 games. They won 97. The 6-win difference was the biggest in the National League. Some of this can be attributed to the Mets penchant for winning 1-run games. To win one-run games, you need a good bullpen, which the Mets had, and a good third base coach, which the Mets had. A few walk-off wins are also a help.

A reader sent me a note saying I should be happy for Manny Acta getting the chance to fulfill the dream of managing a major-league team. I am happy for him and I congratulate him on getting the job. I'm just sad to see him go.

I don't think you can take the decision to name the new coach lightly, which is why I don't endorse the selection of Gary Carter, who would be a popular choice among the fans. I think ability is more relevant than popularity, so my choice would be to move Jerry Manuel, who was the Expos third base coach from 1991 to 1996, from bench coach to third base coach, and replace Manuel's role in the dugout with Omar Minaya's good friend, Frank Robinson. I think it would help greatly for Willie Randolph to have Robinson's experience available and I think that Robinson would do a good job filling a Don Zimmer-esque role on the Mets bench.

And no, I'm not just endorsing Robinson because he had more walk-off RBI than anyone else over the last 50 seasons.

True Metcas know...Here's a list of Mets coaches who also had a walk-off hit for the Mets at some point in their playing careers: Bud Harrelson, Willie Mays, Rusty Staub, John Stearns, and Mookie Wilson. Manny Acta had none, but that might have something to do with the fact that Acta never played for the Mets, or played in the major leagues.


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