As a Mets fan, I’m embarrassed this morning, and I feel a little dirty.
I understand why Willie Randolph was fired. In fact, due to the time I spend talking to people connected to the team, I am probably aware of why he was fired better than most people.
The problem is that, like in so many cases during this team’s history, the story today will not be about replacing Randolph with Jerry Manuel and moving forward, it will be about the way this situation was handled – and rightfully so.
On one hand, most things end badly – otherwise they wouldn’t end, especially in baseball.
I have already been sent e-mail from Yankee fans mocking the Mets, which is pretty funny coming from a team that ran Joe Torre and his four rings out of town, and is notorious for the Billy Martin Merry-go-Round.
Nevertheless, the Mets took so long to make this decision that it made them look foolish, classless and disorganized.
For instance, I’m convinced information was intentionally leaked to the media in an effort to force Omar Minaya’s hand, which is quite disingenuous, because I still believe Minaya would have preferred to keep Randolph – all while having to spin the media night after night. There are reporters I have talked who all feel the exact same way.
What’s worse, from what I can gather, several people in the clubhouse, from players to trainers to security guards, all knew Randolph would eventually be fired on this road trip.
Lastly, yesterday, a person I know, who talks with the team’s front office on a regular basis, asked me when I feel Randolph would be fired. I was under the impression that Randolph would be fired on the off day between Los Angeles and Colorado later this week – win or lose. However, the way the question was asked, I could sense it was going to occur a lot sooner than that.
In other words, this was not a secret.
And so, the team’s ownership should stepped up and fired Randolph last week, when it is was obvious they had already reached a decision.
Instead, they dismissed their manager at midnight in a hotel room, after he had just won four of his last six games.
That said, I do not feel bad for Randolph. He will live to fight another day, he’ll get another job in an industry based on a kid’s game, and he’ll earn close to $3.5 million doing so, which is a lot better than you and I will ever be treated.
I know this is all part of the deal, in business, but especially in baseball. But, like I said, it just makes me feel a little dirty and a bit embarrassed knowing that so many people knew of this in advance, and that it occurred in the middle of the night, making it all stink of an extra level of smarminess.
I’m not totally sure why I feel this way, but I do.
I’m probably just being emotional.