Willie Randolph says ’07 Mets lacked chemistry, didn’t know how to win

In his new book, The Yankee Way: Playing, Coaching, and My Life in Baseball, Willie Randolph says his 2007 Mets team didn’t know how to win >> Read more about Randolph’s book.

“I don’t think they had the chemistry of the championship teams I played on in the late ’70s or the chemistry of the Core Four,” he wrote (ESPN, May 9). “Guys got along and had fun for the most part, but I don’t think they all knew how to win. I know for a fact that as the season played out it became clear that we had some areas of weakness, particularly in the pitching staff, that proved too tough to overcome.”


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The Mets were 302-253 (.544) under Randolph, who led the team to their only NL East title in 25 years. They have a .474 winning percentage since he was fired.

“I wasn’t happy about the decision and felt then, much as I do today, that if given the opportunity, my staff and I could have contributed to the kind of sustained excellence that the Braves and Yankees had enjoyed,” Randolph wrote about being let go by Omar Minaya.

In April, 77 percent of 7,000 voters on MetsBlog said they currently have a favorable view of Randolph, who was fired during the 2009 season.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I still think he’d be a good manager some place. He was so smart and passionate. He loves the game. New York just wasn’t the right place for him, not Queens, not the Bronx. He’s too connected here, he knows too much, he knows the experience, pressure, media expectations, etc., and he always struck me as way too paranoid and self-aware to succeed in this specific spotlight. As a player, he was never the main guy. As manager, he was…

The thing is, he just wanted to coach his team, throw batting practice and win games. Interviews, multiple pre-game press conferences, deflecting attention from players to himself, a dozen reporters with a dozen agendas, etc., it clearly was just a gigantic nuisance for him. I’m sure it is for most managers. This is why people say Clint Hurdle took the job in Pittsburgh and didn’t entertain the Mets. Willie didn’t seem to handle it well when the team started losing. It’s a shame. I’d love to see him get another shot some place, hopefully in a quieter market.




82 comments
stage52
stage52

Don't worry Willie  the Mets will never retire your number

Nestor Jalca
Nestor Jalca

I say you so called manager didn't do enough for that missing chemistry!!!!!

Peter Ramirez
Peter Ramirez

So, basically what Randolph is saying is that the Mets lack of "winners" somehow lead to an inept pitching staff which proved too significant a weakness to overcome. Right.

IMO, there is no such thing as knowing how to win in baseball. It all comes down to experience. If you lack experience and buckle under the pressure of the moment, you will likely fail. If you have had such experience in the past and learned how to maintain your composure regardless of circumstance, you will likely succeed. There is no "knowing" that exists. That's all there is to it. It's about composure, about handling pressure, about insulting oneself from distractions, and about having the appropriate attitude at the appropriate time.

As for Randolph himself, while I liked the guy personally and thought he was decent enough at handling the bench (2006 postseason aside), as I have said a thousand times regarding Collins a sorry excuse for a bullpen is no excuse for poor management of it, as he did time and time again. You either make the best of a bad situation, or you don't, and he certainly didn't do much of the former. In that sense, he and Collins are a near mirror image of one another, though Collins is the worse of the two. Both, of course, pale in comparison to the awfulness that was Jerry Manuel. God, do I still hate him. 

John Jeffrey
John Jeffrey

Cerrone, your comments were copied and pasted from an old reflection piece Metsblog had on Randolph. Lazy.

Jamie Peluso
Jamie Peluso

Your comment that he was "too self aware" for this market is the most ridiculous comment I've ever heard. Not commenting on whether he was a great manager or not, but this is just moronic.

crimsondad
crimsondad

Willie was a bad manager hired for the publicity factor of a life long new yorker first black manager in ny. I thought when he blew making  a double switch in houston his first year as many here may recall he showed how unprepared he was to manage in the national league.theres a reason he's never gotten another chance and that's his rep around baseball of not having won when he had the best team in the league.

Joe Schwartzman
Joe Schwartzman

I like Willie but he was a below average manager and did a really bad job handling the bullpen.

Randolph was fired in 2008, not 2009

Peter Loibl
Peter Loibl

It's funny, the playoff appearances in 1999 and 2000 mask the fact that, correctly, the Mets have won only one NL East Division title in 25 years ... that is a staggering fact. My knee-jerk defense when friends poke fun at the Mets' futility is that they are one of only a handful of teams to make the playoffs in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s ... but wow, hard to defend that little nugget right there!


Bigger question: do I make my 18 month old son follow the Mets? Is that considered cruel and unusual punishment??

tw22
tw22

Its been six years. I think if Randolph was so good he would have a job. I blame Minaya for allowing Randolph to let the ship sink in 2007. Firing Randolph that September would have been the only way to reach that team.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

I don't think it was a question of chemistry. Or lousy managing, for that matter. I remember the bullpen was atrocious (Luis Ayala, anyone). And the team just could not buy a big hit when needed. It was a total TEAM collapse. And put the club well on the way to where it stands today. Omar also must share some of the blame (again, the bullpen was well-acknowledged to be awful--even back as far as Spring Training).

cmetsfan
cmetsfan

Oh those stupid subway commercials...


Press comment. "The bullpen needs to man up." "Valentine Was swinging too strong."


Minaya hired Randolph to be his version of Terry. Except at the time, it was a bunch of veterans, and Randolph DID put focus on some of the players, namely the pen and Trachsael who may of been tedious when pitching, but was enjoying a decent record due to high run support. Randolph had him biting his glove like a 5 year old on the mound by the end.


Plus that team DID know how to WIN and COLLAPSE.

chasesimms
chasesimms

I would take Willie back in a heartbeat over Collins.

Jae Bradburd
Jae Bradburd

I cant take articles like this too serious. Its METSBLOG which is a very valid outlet for Mets news, straight from the Mets... but they dont even know correct facts about the Mets?

"In April, 77 percent of 7,000 voters on MetsBlog said they currently have a favorable view of Randolph, who was fired during the 2009 season."

I was under the assumption Randolph was let go while still at Shea, in 2008? I Google'd and you know what?!?! IM RIGHT!

(Google, its even Matt Cerrone's friend)

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

Yeah it was the chemistry as the reason we didn't win.  It had nothing to do with his dopy managing...asking Cliff Floyd to bunt in the 9th which failed and led to a strikeout.

mvmet
mvmet

I think the problem was Jerry Manuel being the backseat driver during Willie's tenure.Manuel was terrible.

Ron W. Davis
Ron W. Davis

correct me if i am wrong . He played for the Yankees that won and he won the division in 2006 he is the manager he could not teach winning.  I hate picking on Willie because i liked him but that is distrubing comment from him no wonder he never got another managers job.

Totes Magotes
Totes Magotes

his bench coach was jerry manuel so that says pretty much everything you need to know about willie.

wingo43
wingo43

"Interviews, multiple pre-game press conferences, deflecting attention from players to himself, a dozen reporters with a dozen agendas, etc., it clearly was just a gigantic nuisance for him. I’m sure it is for most managers. "


I had no problem with Willie and his so-called "paranoia" towards the media.  He was a smart manager and would've developed if kept on board.  Jerry Manuel (et tu?) was a joke.

Debbie Mostowy Zygmont
Debbie Mostowy Zygmont

I always look at that Beltran at bat in 2006 as the beginning of the end. And I'm still a Mets fan...

chasesimms
chasesimms

 "He’s too connected here, he knows too much, he knows the experience, pressure, media expectations, etc.,"


Shouldn't that be exactly why he should have been successful in NY?  

Adolfo Arauz
Adolfo Arauz

How much work has mr randolph had since????? hmmm... thought so.

Adolfo Arauz
Adolfo Arauz

Revisionist history, mr. yankee-shill. the yankee way my hairy arse :/

Rob Steven
Rob Steven

Another weakness in those teams was you Willie the manager. You were and apparently still are so full of yourself the players never had your back. You knew it all and wanted to keep everyone in their place, but it back fired on you big time. I hated those years. There is a reason you never got another managing gig, well done Willie, well done! Now go away.

Shawn M. Milburn
Shawn M. Milburn

So does he mean the same team with the same players that were on the 06 team that were one strike away from the World Series? That team knew how to win. The problem with the 07 team wasn't the juggernaut offense, it wasn't the starting pitching, except Glavine on the last day of the year, it was the bullpen that blew leads the last 2 weeks of the season. Billy Wagner was great, but the other idiots before him, Heilman, Mota, etc. that cost them

IrishFenn
IrishFenn

Who would have thought Bobby Valentine would be the best manager since Davey Johnson?

Marc Seldin
Marc Seldin

Willie, imho, got a bad rap. A lot of immature people on that team too..

Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

I will always like Willie Randolph..but its true you as MGR were their leader..so?

Vahid Bacchus
Vahid Bacchus

Wonder what will be Collins excuse lack of a big league team?

Doubleday
Doubleday

Sorry Willie, I used to be one of your staunchest supporters, but after this comment, no more.  The team didn't know how to win?  That was YOUR job as manager - to teach Wright and Reyes and Beltran and Pedro how to win.  YOU had the experience, not them.  As for the Yankees of the 70s, they had zero chemistry - they hated one another - their only passion was for their own legacy - a sorry example.  Emulating Billy Martin and just sitting in the chair and letting the players play is not how to manage.  No wonder nobody else has offered you a managerial job.

ryan567
ryan567

rstpigeon, if a team that needs to win a game finds a way to win if it knows how to win...how did the yankees lose the 2001 game 7 and 2004 ALCS game 4? they know how to win, no? and they 

lost. losses just happen. no rhyme or reason as to when they happen


rstpigeon
rstpigeon

Ina  season like '07, a team that needs a game to win the division at the end of the season can find a way to win, if it knows how to win. They lost to a team that wanted to beat them, not a team that had more talent than even the injured Mets had. To that extent, Randolph is correct.


But he isn't without blame. He did not impart winning to the team, as he ought to have been qualified to do given his Yankee pedigree. 


The Mets still suffer too many players who show up to collect a paycheck and don't know how to win. Some of this is due to talent deficit, but other teams get their fill-ins to rise to the occasion. The core of this team, on the field, is only Murphy and Wright. You need more than that and no one can point to 2 or 3 other daily players that are part of the core. I dare say that there aren't 2 or 3 others that look like they will be core players for several more years, if at all. This is where the Mets' scouting, drafting, trading, FA signings have all missed the mark. 


Granderson is not in any position to become any more than a rental. He's suited to be the missing piece on a contending team. Lagares is still forming, TdA is still in limbo, 1B is a black hole. SS is a black hole. Corner OF spots? Well, let's say Nimmo comes up as a so-so CFer and no power for a corner spot (as it seems he will), what then? To me, this indicates a lack of planning and direction. From a corporate standpoint, this company should go belly up - the market should crush it. there should be more action to stock the farm with what the organization needs, in triplicate to hedge bets. I don't see that happening and the playoff system looms large in taming the trade market. Core players are not on the block and FAs are not core players.

ryan567
ryan567

I will say this again, Willie was/is as dumb as a post. It is funny that he wrote a book. These comments about "chemistry"? They lost by a game, if it had gone different that season he never would have thought that, no? Maybe dumber than I thought. And yes there is too much blame/credit on the manager. "Hmmm....me and my stafff could have won..""" very funny.

William Kelley
William Kelley

First of all too much blame/credit given to a manager's impact on a teams win or loss record. Once a game starts its the players that have to perform.. Manager's main responsibility is controlling his pitching and bullpen during a game. Randolph was not the reason Beltran took a 3rd strike curve on 3-2 count. He wasn't the reason Glavine gives up 8 runs in first to blow the incredible game Santana pitched the day before. Usually managers are fired to cover up poor GM decisions in first place. he can only manage what is given him. look at current Mets no manager in history could make this a true contender.  The Mets simply don't have the talent to compete in their division let alone the league. Now you can blame the owners who don't have the finances to provide additional talent. You can blame the GM and is talent evaluators. this team is flawed  and has been for the past 7 years

rowjamie
rowjamie

Wasnt he brought in specifically to teach winning and chemistry? He had no other managerial skills.  He was a terrible in-game manager and not a good judge of talent.  There's a reason he's never managed again. 

hankincolo
hankincolo

WOW!  three little words. "Willie Randolph fired", google that, and in .034 seconds you'll see articles from the year 2 0 0 8, not 2009, as the Metblog's lead writer wrote. Sloppy Matt, very sloppy.  

chaseh
chaseh

Does he go on to say why they didn't have the chemistry, take any ownership of that? Was he managing the team or just signs from the bench (which wasn't his strength)?

Pete Brilvitch
Pete Brilvitch

@tw22 I'm actually surprised that Willie never got another opportunity to manager. Despite the 07 collapse, his tenure with the Mets was mostly successful. Terry Collins was never as successful with Houston, but got other opportunities with the Angels and Mets.

cmetsfan
cmetsfan

@BringBackDaveTelghe  They told Floyd to hit away and he did, but he strike out in the rain, on one leg.


Your bunting comment is...consistent with posters here...

owlnut
owlnut

@Ron W. Davis  Willie is a much better #2 (bench coach) than a manager. He thinks every team is the NYY and manages that way. He only knows one style of managing and, unfortunately for him, that's why he hasn't been offered another managerial job.

Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

 I don't know about best but we did get to a world series with him and he probably is the most optimistic mgr ive ever seen.

Shawn M. Milburn
Shawn M. Milburn

Santana pitched that gem in 08, when Manuel took over as manager, Ollie started the next day and gave up the one hr to Wes Helms, no one hit though. 07 was when Glavine gave up the 7 runs in the first innining. Coincidentally the Marlins played them at Shea the final weekend both years

Doubleday
Doubleday

@Lets Go Mets!  Fun Fact #347:  "The magic is back" phrase was developed by a Madison Avenue advertising mogul Jerry Delafemmina, and cost the Mets a lot of money.

hankincolo
hankincolo

Actually, as a kid growing in Queens, whenever the Mets tanked, we were left to say...

the tragic is back.