The Mets Are Fussing, Feuding and Winning

Fireworks in the bullpen and dugout, victories on the field

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Things got interesting out in the Mets bullpen on Sunday night, and we don't mean the high-wire act that Francisco Rodriguez did to secure the win in the ninth inning.

    It seems K-Rod and bullpen coach Randy Niemann had themselves a little spitting match earlier in the game and had to be pulled apart by other members of the bullpen. The pitcher tried to shrug it off as just a case of roughhousing, a rather unbelievable claim given the age of the participants and the chance someone is getting hurt, but team sources confirmed it was actually an argument that got heated and settled after the game.

    No one was forthcoming with what touched off the argument, but Rodriguez did express some frustration with the way Jerry Manuel routinely warms him up and sits him down in the late innings of games. During the infamous 20-inning game earlier this year, Rodriguez entered with a dead arm after throwing 100-odd warmup pitches because he was up and down like a pogo stick through the proceedings.

    Coming on the heels of John Maine's dugout argument with Manuel in Washington, it would seem that there's an insurrection right around the corner. Or a winning streak.

    Being angry at the boss can go one of two ways. Everyone can use their anger to excuse poor performance and work to try and get the boss replaced, something that scratches an itch but doesn't do much for you in the long term. The other option is to perform as well as possible as a way of shoving it up the rear end of the boss that you hate. Call it the "Major League" approach in honor of the motivational cardboard cutout of the team's showgirl owner, because Mets fans will like that a lot more than calling it the Reggie Jackson approach for the way the former Yankee used his hatred of Billy Martin to fuel a title.

    They're lucky no one got hurt in the bullpen tussle -- if it was 2009, Niemann would have shoved K-Rod, he would have tripped over a shoe-tying Fernando Nieve and fallen into the pile of bear traps the Mets insisted on storing in the pen -- but given three wins in four games, it's clear that a little anger isn't the worst thing for this Mets team. It shows they are alive, something that wasn't always so evident, and it shows a little bit more backbone than anyone assumed.

    In a perfect world, Manuel would engender a more positive responses from his charges. He doesn't, though, and it doesn't matter as long as the Mets keep on winning.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.