Pop quiz, hotshot. We're going to give you a quote and you're going to tell us who said it, okay? Here we go:
"We might be fortunate enough to get away with this."
Is that Richard Nixon to Henry Kissinger about Watergate, O.J. Simpson to Johnnie Cochran about defense strategy, a line from an upcoming heist movie starring Mark Wahlberg and the girl from "Lost" or Jerry Manuel on the plans for the Mets rotation in 2010?
The headline and picture probably gave it away, but each of the other options are plausible ways for things to play out this season. Nixon shows you that you don't get away with bad ideas while Simpson shows that you can, so long as you put a ton of effort into making sure things break your way. And there's generally a cinematic quality to someone admitting that they've done something wrong while hoping against hope that they'll get away with it.
That final scenario feels the most Mets-like. You could see them being 64-60 in August, a couple of games out of the playoffs and feeling good. John Maine is healthy, Jon Niese is having a breakout year and Manuel is reminding his team how close they are to getting away with it. Then the wheels come off the bus, you can fill in your own plot points, and Manuel ends the film mumbling "The horror, the horror" to himself.
It's not the usual inspirational claptrap we're used to from coaches and managers, something that probably doesn't thrill higher-ups in the Mets front office. There's not enough context to the quote to read it as a straight slam of Omar Minaya, but the implication is pretty clear. After all, it isn't Manuel's fault that the Mets have chosen to rely on fairies and genies instead of competent major league pitchers this season.
So two points for honesty, but that's all Manuel will have to show for the season if luck remains a stranger at Citi Field.