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Woke Up This Mornin'...And Willie Randolph Is Gone!

I should note for the record that I'm an insomniac. I don't sleep all that well and that's why news of this comes of a shock to me. Not that more than 80% of Met fans were asleep when this happened, but even the 20% that were up for it, weren't even aware it happened. The Mets just six hours ago, after defeating the AL West leading Halos sent underachieving Willie Randolph and a few dunderheads packing for a permanent vacation. The New York Post's Mike Vaccaro seems to think that this was "cowardly" by Minaya and the Wilpons. That allowing Willie to fly cross country just to be fired, was rather sad and lowball. No Mikey, allowing Willie and his flat out incompetent nature after last October come INTO THE YEAR when he should've been gone after last, was the 'cowardly act'. Better late then never best covers this, the team needed to get this done a little more than half a year ago, in October or November when a more suitable man could've been named to the position so that the rest of this year (especially after the binge that the Mets went on in the Winter) isn't considered a total throwaway. But wait Len, you should be happy that he's finally gone, right? Well, I am. However, unless Jerry Manuel can reach down in his back pocket and find a way to get the Mets back on top of the heap and get the first pennant for the Amazins in 8 years...the season's effectively a bust and management waited eight months too long to finally do something about it.

Jade continued to insist that Willie needed to find a way to light a fire under Jose. I never really gave it a response beacuse sweetie, when your team completes the father of all breakdowns in the last 17 games of a year, one shortstop is the LEAST of your problems. As I tried to convey to Jade and everyone just eight months ago, when you're incapable of keeping your team motivated to continue playing at the high level they played with for the first 140 games or so, that speaks more to the manager of the team than anyone else. When in a do or die game that determines your season either continuing on or ending where you stand, when your manager doesn't have the right state of mind to remove a pitcher who clearly isn't having his best day until the team's NINE RUNS in the hole...he clearly isn't the guy that will get your team to the promised land. As I stated before, my issues with Coughlin were promptly silenced when he outcoached Belichick and won the Super Bowl. He lightened off the throttle to some degree and in kind, the players played like not only they had spinal colums holding them up...but like they had a chip the size of the former Soviet Union on their shoulders and they were past motivated. The results? A Giants team that many say overachieved, went on the road three times and toppled three division winners. Then went on to the NFL's biggest stage where, insert your conspiracy theory, excuse or whatever here, they did what no other team did all last season. They ended a Sunday with a loss pinned to the ole Hoodie's chest like a dollar bill on someone's birthday. I didn't see that going down with the Mets this season with Willie at the helm. No amount of reverse psychology was going to get me to change direction on that either. Those who think I'm being overly facetious or something need to consider this, there's a reason that in close to 40 plus years before last year, no team up by 7 games or more with less than 17 days left in the year never finished out of first. When that happens and you look at the roster the Mets had last year, gaping holes or not, you see something's wrong up top with the manager himself. Want another example? Clint Hurdle of the Rocks has himself a pennant. The Rockies were thought to be dead to rights and somehow, during the time it took for the Mets to blow an entire year in a little more than half a month, the Rocks managed to string together some 22 straight wins. Blowing by the Pods in a one game playoff, then sweeping the East champion Phils and West Champion D-Backs en route to a World Series that by most accounts...they had no business in from a talent perspective. But because Clint got the most out of his players, his season ended in early November instead of early October.

Now look at the Rockies presently. They're at the bottom of the West, 14 games below .500 and sitting behind a Bonds-less Giants team. Lemme repeat that, the Giants with a pitcher named after what sounds like an adhesive (Lincecum) as its ace sits on top of the reigning National League Champions in their division. You can call it injuries as most of the press has, I call it the fact that midnight struck for Cinderella and that hemi powered car they drove all the way to the Fall Classic transformed back to a Pinto that you wouldn't trust to get you to the store and back. When Willie promised that the Mets would play the "Yankee Way", he must've meant the way they played after Willie's last ring as a player, because these guys haven't resembled that AT ALL since 2006. When people ask 'why now', the answer that won't be mentioned is really simple even amidst those who say 'they've won three of their last four'. The answer is this team hasn't played like they've wanted to right a colossal wrong one year ago. The answer is that this team with its payroll being a non factor, has played more like the Daze-ins' rather than the Amazins'. The answer is that in spite of what may and will be said to the contrary, the Phillies are NOT better than the Mets. Anyone who doubts this need look at their sweep by the Rocks last October as proof of this. The Phils aren't as good as everyone believes they are, they're simply playing better than expected at this point in the year (consider this folks, the Marlins are in second place) while the Mets have aimlessly slept walk beneath all possible expectations.

So Manuel has more than half a season to undo eight months of crap, that Willie managed to cook up. Catching the Phils isn't out of the question, neither is making the playoffs. Still, my own problem with the move is that now, you're basically banking on the only bench coach who kept his job to do what Willie did not. Get this team playing like not only does it have a set, but like it's the biggest set this side of the Sawks (Red Sox that is). I mean, dare I say, but even Baby Steinbrenner would've most likely canned Willie after last year's collapse and I wouldn't have knocked him for it. King George in his prime would've done it and not even batted an eye while doing so. Bottom line, fact of the matter, Omar did this way too late and in doing so, has Mets management subject to a TON of scrutiny it's not really deserving of considering the steps they've taken to make this team competitive. GM Len would've fired his ass on October 4th at the LATEST last year. June 17th was way too late...even if it was three hours past Midnight on the East Coast.
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Len, I've said it before, and I will say it yet're a fucking moron. Firing Willie Randolph isn't going to do a damn thing to fix the Mets--hell, I'll be surprised if Jerry Manuel even gets to take the "interim" off of his new title before he's out the door. The problem with the Mets lies in their underachieving PLAYERS, not the manager, not the coaches--and as long as the players remain, so will the underachieving.

It's no wonder the Mets are so piss-poor at the moment, though, if even their higher-ups can't handle a simple firing with anything resembling class and tact. If you're going to fire your manager during the season, you don't do it after the first game of a West Coast trip, you don't do it after your team has actually won a game, and you certainly don't do it in the middle of the night! If Minaya wanted Willie gone, he should have either done it before this weekend or else waited until either the Mets finished the series against the Angels or until they returned to New York. It was a ham-handed way to handle an already bad situation; Willie Randolph has always been a class act, and should have been treated as such.

Posted by Jade at 06/18/08 00:25:09

Because after all, nobody handles a firing of a manager quite like the New York Yankees, eh? I tried stating this eight months ago, the problems with this unit were one part roster based, one part managerial. The roster was fixed in the offseason, it's just so damn unfortunate that nobody got Omar to fix the other problem until yesterday morning. There's a reason up until last year, no team had ever lost a first place lead with 17 to play.
Due in part to the fact that more than 95% of managers have been able to crack that whip just enough for his players to maintain and get to the finish line.

And as I stated before, my only problem with this move was that it was done 8 months too late. If I were Minaya, ole Willie wouldn't have gotten past my door after the final game last season. The mistake was letting Willie think it was okay with the talent assembled to just blow it in such a colossal fashion and everything was A-OK. Willie had his head shoved too far up his own ass in my book to be considered a "class act". That's what folk like you deem those who are too mentally deficient to do their job the way it's supposed to be done. He was an ameoba. Plain and simple. No backbone, no cajones.

Fact is, if Willie were on the other side of the Apple fucking the Yanks up like he did the Mets, I'm willing to bet anything he'd have been gone after last year and nobody would've shed a tear to the contrary. I mean, how often did the Yanks fire Billy Martin again? I lost count after the third time. Bottom line is, in situations like these, you can't fire the players. It's the manager's job to get his players playing up and past their potential which Willie Wonked Out clearly wasn't doing. If this were done eight months sooner, (as I clearly was an advocate of) a more suitable replacement could've been named and the year wouldn't be fringent on the last coach left on the bench.

Fact is, as much as most of the bleeding
hearts out there don't want to admit it,
this had to be done now. I don't think the team would've gotten farther than they presently are having to constantly answer questions about the manager's job status on a daily basis. (Like it's really encouraging them to play hard anyway...) If this were the Yanks in the same spot, trust me Jade, King George would've lowered the boom on his ass MONTHS AGO. Oh and the whole 'they won a game' crap? That's yet another problem. They're not winning ENOUGH. Yet another reason Willie got his walking papers while most of America was sleeping yesterday morning.

Posted by Len at 06/18/08 09:49:43

So you're saying that nine-plus GROWN MEN are incapable of performing adequately at their chosen field of employment unless they've got someone to hold their hand and show them what to do? Bullshit. The Mets tanked last year because their players decided they'd done enough to get to the playoffs and they couldn't be bothered to play an entire season, and by the time they figured out that maybe sitting on their collective asses wasn't such a good idea, it was too late.

What exactly was Willie supposed to do about that anyway, Len? He couldn't fire them, he couldn't bench them because then there'd be hell to pay--hell, if he HAD benched them, you would have been writing a novel on here about how he should have been fired. Should he have gone all Ozzie Guillen on their asses? Perhaps that would have done the trick, but I doubt it would have gone over very well. Willie did the best he could with the hand he was dealt; he didn't ask to be dealt a hand full of underperformers--and they're still going to be underperformers, Len, no matter who's wearing the manager suit, so you'd better get your "Fire ______" posts ready, because you'll be making plenty of them.

Why aren't you calling for Omar's head on a platter? After all, he's the one who put that team together--he should be bearing some of the responsibility for them. He's already shown he can't even handle a simple firing properly, so why aren't you demanding that he be replaced?

Oh, and since you seem to be bound and determined to try to drag the Yankees into this, might I remind you that the Yankees were in FAR worse shape last year than the Mets are this year, and not only did Joe Torre NOT lose his job mid-season, but the Yankees rallied and made it to the playoffs? No, the Yankees didn't handle things well with Torre after that, but at least they saved their stupidity for the off-season.

You can sing the "Well, if the Yankees did that" song all you want, it still doesn't change matters, because the Yankees have proven that they can manage to succeed despite all the craziness they go through--and all the Mets have proven is that they can't get their collective heads out of their asses.

By the way, how you like that new manager of yours so far? :p

Posted by Jade at 06/18/08 12:34:44

Ya know what? Yeah, I wish he would've went Ozzie on them. But when the manager shows he cares as much as the players, it's a done deal for the team. People say what they will about Ozzie, but his way works. He has a ring to show for it. Fuck, I'd kill to have Ozzie managing the Mets right now. He'd have them playing or hating his guts to the point where they're playing in spite of him. Either way, they'd be playing in my mind.

As far as Omar's head, considering the past few years, he has done what he can.
Hell, he has been the best GM they've had in uhm, ever in my mind. He has the Mets in position to win, he has put the pieces in place for this team to be great and that's all you can ask out of a GM. (You of all people should know this being a Yanks fan and all.)

As for the Yanks, the only reason Torre didn't lose his job last year at the midway point was because his bling bling
bought him a ton of leeway. You dare talk about the Mets being tactless in how they handled Willie? Your boys more or less insulted the best manager your franchise has seen since Stengel in the 20s. Pot calling the kettle black much?

The fact is, regardless of Willie's record, I still can't help but feel this team hasn't hit where it should be.
I felt this in 2006, I was filled with flat out anger last year after it fell short and I feel it even more now. The players need to realize they've got half a year to turn this thing around. It's not impossible and it's damn sure not improbable.

At the moment, I'm not answering any questions about the new guy because it's way too early to do so. Get back to me in about a month and a half from now, when I turn 28 (August 3rd) and I'll have a more definitive answer by then.

Posted by Len at 06/18/08 16:15:55

Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune.

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