View Full Version : Mets Fire Manager Willie Randolph

June 17th, 2008, 09:29 AM
June 17, 2008

Mets Fire Manager Willie Randolph

Willie Randolph, left, with Jerry Manuel at Shea Stadium on Sunday.


ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Mets announced early Tuesday morning that they have fired Willie Randolph and replaced him with the bench coach Jerry Manuel. They also fired two of Randolph’s coaches, the pitching coach Rick Peterson and the first-base coach Tom Nieto, and have promoted three coaches from the minor league level.

Dan Warthen, the Class AAA New Orleans pitching coach, will replace Peterson. Ken Oberkfell, New Orleans’s manager, and Luis Aguayo, the team’s field coordinator, will also join the major league staff but their responsibilities are unclear.

General Manager Omar Minaya, who arrived here late Monday night, will meet with the media Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Monday evening, the Mets defeated the Los Angeles Angels, 9-6, for their third victory in four games. Buoyed by two Carlos Beltrán homers and a four-run seventh, they appeared on their way to overcoming shoddy relief by Pedro Felicano before Billy Wagner put two runners on with one out. But Garret Anderson lined into a game-ending double play, and the Mets (34-35) had drawn to within a game of .500.

An awkward situation had traveled 3,000 miles west, darkening even the land of perpetual sunshine. As much as players were not looking forward to flying across the country for the third time in two weeks, they were at least a little hopeful that some of the spectacle surrounding the team would dissipate here. It had, but just a bit, as some local and national reporters listened in on Randolph’s pregame session with the news media, interested to hear about a situation from the 1970s in the Bronx from a man who lived through it. “It’s always there,” Randolph said. “It’s always around. You can’t escape it.”

Randolph acted relaxed, as if he were resigned to his uncertain fate, while meeting with reporters over the weekend. He cracked jokes, offered thoughtful answers, and shed the defensive front that has dominated his interaction during his three and a half seasons as manager. But Monday, sitting in the visiting dugout — a more cramped space than the dingy interview room at Shea Stadium — Randolph seemed a little more guarded.

“What we talk about as a team is how we can get this thing going — period,” Randolph said. “I just wish we could get back to that because that’s really what it’s all about. We spend so much time talking about all this extracurricular stuff, man, and it’s like, this team just needs to focus on playing winning baseball. That’s the way we started out in spring training, and that should be the main focus here. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it should be.”

Randolph watched most of the game from the top step of the dugout, leaning over the railing, and was often flanked by Peterson. Their emotions mirrored the flow of the game. When Luis Castillo’s mishandling of a superb throw from Marlon Anderson allowed Chone Figgins to slide safely into second, Randolph grimaced and recoiled. When Howie Kendrick lashed a Mike Pelfrey pitch for a run-scoring single in the fourth, Peterson violently slammed a rolled-up piece of paper against his hip. When Aaron Heilman came in with two runners on base and struck out Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter to end the Angels’ three-run seventh, Randolph clapped vigorously as Peterson nodded beside him.

With the exception of Peterson, a leftover from Art Howe’s tenure, all the other coaches have been hired by the Randolph-Minaya tandem. Randolph said he was bothered by reports that some of them, people he considers friends as well as teammates, may not be with the team for much longer. He said he was a little surprised but not completely blindsided last July when Minaya fired the hitting coach Rick Down, a close friend, and replaced him with Johnson. He said that he had no feel now for what could happen.

“They’re my guys, they work hard every day,” Randolph said. “They’re good at what they do, so you don’t ever want any speculation about them losing their jobs because it’s unjustified.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

June 17th, 2008, 10:58 AM

ali r.

June 17th, 2008, 11:42 AM
I didn't think anyone would top the inept manner in which the Steinbrenner Boys handled the Joe Torre situation, but Wilpon gets the prize.

Step to the front of the line, Omar. Spotlight's on you now.

June 17th, 2008, 01:34 PM
As a diehard Mets fan, this move upsets me so damn much. Not only do you get rid of a guy with the 2nd best record in Mets history, but they did it in such a cold and dare I say, evil fashion. This decision was made days ago. Why fly the man all the way out to Cali, have his team open a series, win the game, and fire him in the middle of the night? I lost all respect for the Wilpons in this, Just disgusting what the Mets did to Willie.

June 17th, 2008, 01:35 PM
Totally classless. :mad: I didnt think Minaya was capable of being this inept. :rolleyes: Treating people this way is going to resonate into bad and negative morale for the players.

I was for letting Willie go but there is a correct and proffesional way of doing things and this was the antithesis of it. Embarrasing as a Met fan.

Schmucks. Or shall I say in a way Minaya can understand- pendejos.

June 17th, 2008, 03:14 PM
At least that worthless pustule Peterson is gone.

June 17th, 2008, 03:25 PM
It was only a matter of time before he was to be let go, but the matter of how it happened couldn't be more shameful. Omar Minaya couldn't have shown a better classless act.

June 17th, 2008, 06:06 PM
Having observed Jerry Manuel in Chicago for several years, he is not that different from Willie Randolph in temperament, strategy etc. So interim in this case is a change in face only.

June 19th, 2008, 01:02 AM
Long time lurker, first time poster here.

I agree that the handling of Randolph's firing was brutal. And also nonsensical.

What I'd really really like to hear is for someone to ask Randolph if the whole scenario he just went through -- the daily "Willie-watch" -- brought back some bad memories? From when he was a young second baseman with the New York Yankees and his manager -- the late Billy Emanuel Martin -- went through a similar 'death watch'. Like with Randolph, game stories following a team win would begin "Manager Billy Martin's job is apparently safe for another 24 hours as the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Indians tonight at the Stadium."

Unlike Randolph, however, Martin pretty much asked for it. There was a feeling his manic managing style, very successful at first, had become counter-productive and that Martin was incapable of making adjustments. He had one way of doing things, take it or leave it. Worse, as the team struggled (just as the 2008 Mets have), Martin’s late night carousing, his heavy drinking, his continual feuding with (arguably) the team's most valuable player Reggie Jackson, could no longer be shrugged off merely as ‘Billy being Billy’. When Martin publicly called Jackson " a born liar" and followed it up by taunting owner George Steinbrenner, his short stormy tenure came to an abrupt and sudden end.

Back then, in the late 1970s, Randolph was considered one of the saner, more levelheaded members of a team known collectively as the "Bronx Zoo." He was Steady Willie. I wonder what eerie memories might’ve been called forth during his own time on a manager's 'death-watch'? Were there times when 1977 -- and Billy, George and Reggie -- didn't seem so long ago? That he’d somehow become entangled in a bizarre dream state that he could not awaken from?

When he was a young player watching (or possibly trying not to watch) Billy Martin twisting in the wind, did Randolph ever think, could he have even imagined, it would someday happen to him? But how could it, he was 'Steady Willie'.

At least Randolph seems to be taking it better, a lot better, than Billy Martin did.