The shifter lever on the transmission should be pretty solid while shifting gears.
If you are able to pull the shifter knob/lever up&down or twist it significantly, the
shifter bushings are shot. There are a pair of "plastic" bushings that surround
the pivot ball on the shifter lever. The bushings tend to get chewed up and fall
down into the transmission extension housing.
Mazdatrix has a write-up on replacing the shifter bushings...
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