Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mets Fire Willie Randolph

I'm gonna take a day off from blogging about Yom HaShoah.....and say a few words about the firing of Willie Randoph.

As Yogi Berra might say, "when something is ineveitable, it's bound to happen".

In my view, Willie is an OK manager, and can probably be a good manager for the right team. The Mets are a mismatch for his style and persona. As a player he was always the classiest Yankee. As a coach, he learned from Joe Torre and adopted his approach as manager. He treated the players as professionals, and expected them to play that way. Unfortunately, he did not have Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Mariano, or....dare I say it....Paul O'Neil.

He expected Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and David Wright (yes, him too) to hustle, and lead, and play like professionals, and they let him down. Willie's problem was he did not adjust, he did not take decisive steps when these talented players didn't hustle. Had he been a student of Met history, he'd have followed the example of Gil Hodges in 1969. Here is an exerpt from Cleon Jones' Wikipedia page....

"But the moment most Mets fans of a certain age consider the most memorable, and the turning point in the team's season, came in the third inning of the second game of a July 30 doubleheader against the Houston Astros. When Jones failed to hustle after a ball hit to the outfield, Hodges removed him from the game. But rather than simply signal from the dugout for Jones to come out, or delegate the job to one of his coaches, Hodges left the dugout and slowly, deliberately, walked all the way out to left field to remove Jones, and walk him back to the bench. For the rest of that season, Jones never failed to hustle."

As much as baseball is about statistics, when you watch the games you see way more. Many of the Mets simply don't hustle, and they don't play intensely the whole game. This is unacceptable, and I've seen it many times. Willie would have gained great respect if just once, after Delgado or Wright didn't hustle on a pop-up, he took them out of the game on the spot......and benched them the following game too. Think the team attitude would improve?

A manager is only as good as his players. Willie did not decide to sign injury riddled Moises Alou, but not have a capable back-up. Willie did not decide to start the season with Carlos Delgado at first, with no alternative (When you watch the games, you KNOW he is done). Willie did not give a four year contract to Luis Castillo, who will be lucky to make it through this year (Have you ever seen a worse left-handed swing?) Willie did not decide to keep Aaron Heilman rather than trade him for some parts we could use.

I heard a bit of the Rick Peterson press conference today. I like all his groovy metaphysical ideas about pitching. You can see how he must really connect with Oliver Perez.

There's plenty of blame to go around, so now, Omar can be on the hot seat.

Maybe when the Wilpons let him go, they will treat him with some class. It will be more than he deserves.