Sometimes it almost seems like they are cheering for the Mets to go wrong. Note Bill Madden’s column today bemoaning Oliver Perez’ “poor” outing. It was Ollie’s FIRST OUTING in the spring. No one ever pays any attention to anyone’s first time out in the spring. Madden knows this.

Madden goes further and points to Jose Reyes’ illness (he’ll be back) Frankie Rodriguez’ pink eye (c’mon man) and Kelvim Escobar’s slow progress (already knew about it). Nevermind that a better story is being covered in the blogosphere about how well Mets’ prospects have done thus far.

This traditionally is what the media covers at this point in spring training, but a New York reality is far different. Back pages are sold at toll booths, by street vendors and in train stations. Fair enough, but the New York media again is showing it is both predictable and far too often speaks collectively.

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Bill Madden’s piece this morning illustrates the significant change in direction they took on this winter. Its becoming more and more clear that Tony Bernazard’s Rasputin-like hold was realized last year by Jeff Wilpon and he has quite frankly taken over on personnel matters. He’s done well.

Madden does a good job in pointing to the value and experience of newcomers like Wally Backman and Bob Melvin. Terry Collins has taken over as coordinator of minor league operations. Tim Teufel has been promoted to AA. What Madden left out were the intangibles, the most important of which is leadership and where it comes from.

Bernazard was a centralized control freak who had grasped control of far too many parts of the organization, including intricate on field details. As spring training unfolds, uniformed field managers and coaches will be providing the leadership. Motivation and instruction will come from them and not from someone like Bernazard. Players will rightfully feel that they are playing for a manager, not some omnipresent threatening force.

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John Harper revealed that Tony Bernazard made the entire organization emhasize hitting the ball the other way. The grip this man had on the Mets continues to amaze me.

The fact that he could control a major league manager’s philosophy like that is surprising. The minors, yes. But not at the major league level. Why Omar Minaya let him get away with it is beyond me. But the fact that he did shows that Bernazard was out of control and had the Wilpon’s snowed.

Organizational moves since Bernazard’s departure indicate that Jeff Wilpon is taking a bigger role. Minaya did not want Wally Backman, but he’s back now. The philosophical change could have only been prompted by Wilpon. Recruitment of Mets alumni from the 1980’s seems to be ongoing. Maybe they finally realize that having these guys around is a good thing.

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