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Acta's Attitude

As I mentioned yesterday, and have addressed to some degree in the paper, there has been some discussion about Manny Acta's approach to these tough times. (How tough? 5-15 is not only the worst record in the majors, but it's on that historical 1962 Mets pace we talked about so often last year. Ouch.)

Someone asked Acta yesterday, prior to the game, about his spirits. "My spirit is great, because I'm doing my best every day," he said. "I'm preparing myself and I'm backing up my guys, and there are a lot of things that we can't control, but my spirit is good. I can handle it. I hope I don't reflect any bad vibe on my players, which is what I always find out to do."

So I asked him how you balance that obviously positive attitude with the proper amount of concern over a stretch of very, very bad baseball. "Don't get me wrong," he said. "It doesn't mean that I'm happy losing. But I have a very good self-control. I don't think me throwing things around in the dugout is a good reflection on the guys, because I'm leading this pack here, and right away they'll see the panic mode and all that stuff. I'm not happy losing, obviously, but you can't take it [out] on them, and you know, I'm prepared for it. I got to stay positive. I think everything happens for a reason. You got to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I just keep trying to help my guys every single day get through it, and we'll get out of it."

The other night, when Cristian Guzman forgot the number of outs and ran from second on a one-out pop-up, I half expected Guzman to get yanked on the spot. Acta has done that before, particularly to a loafing Felipe Lopez last year.

Acta didn't do it. But I have been told that he did get quite upset in the dugout -- for one of the few times ever -- over the weekend when a player missed a sign. It resulted in a botched play, and Acta let the player have it.

This is, I believe, a delicate balance. He has to show he cares about the results, which he does, but also understand the long-haul view. There are some fragile guys in the clubhouse right now. The manager has to set the tone.

Do you think he's setting the proper one now?

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 22, 2008; 2:40 PM ET
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