I'm wondering if anyone ever reads this sentence.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gimme a Break!

April 28, 1985.

The Yankees, led by second-year manager, Hall of Famer, legend, and beloved Yankee icon Yogi Berra, lose a game to the White Sox in Chicago. Berra, who had managed the Yankees to a respectable 87-75 record in 1984, had been told by owner George M. Steinbrenner personally several weeks earlier that he, Berra, would be the Yankee manager for all of 1985, "win or lose."

Nevertheless, on that day, April 28, 1985, a mere sixteen games into Berra's second season as Yankee manager, Steinbrenner dispatches one of his henchmen, Clyde King, to Chicago to unceremoniously fire Berra.

Yogi Berra, Hall of Famer, legend, and beloved Yankee icon, is so incensed and personally offended by this act of cowardice that he, Yogi Berra, Hall of Famer, legend, and beloved Yankee icon, does not set foot in Yankee Stadium -- for fourteen years.

June 17, 2008.

Following the sixty-ninth game of the 2008 season on the West Coast, the New York Mets fire their fourth-year, non-Hall of Fame, non-beloved Met icon, non-legend manager, who presided over the biggest regular season collapse in baseball history the year before, who led the team to a sub-.500 record the next year despite the addition of the best pitcher in baseball, and who accused the organization, the fans, and the media of racism a month earlier.

New York Daily News writer Bill Madden - an unabashed friend of Willie Randolph's - objectively reviews these facts and concludes the following:

"Never in the history of New York baseball has there been a more shameful, indecent, undignified or ill-conceived firing of a manager."

And Madden is not alone. Mike Vaccaro from the Post. Wallace Matthews from Newsday. Scott Miller from CBS. Buster Olney from ESPN. Column after column after column calling the New York Mets, and organization that has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, that was front and center in post-9/11 relief work, that has worked tirelessly to honor the memory of Jackie Robinson, "gutless, heartless, incompetent cowards."


The way the Mets handled this firing was bad. There's no debating it. They could have given this man the boot last October, or on Memorial Day, or the moment he got off the plane from San Diego last week, and no one would have said a word. They clearly timed this so it wouldn't land on the back pages until a day later, and that's a sleazeball move. I won't argue it for a minute.

But come the fuck on already. This hysterical outrage from the media is laughable. It's like they shot the man. "They owed him better than this"? Why? If anything he owed them after what happened last year. And was he delivering this season? Fuck, no. In fact, his players were lazy, sloppy, disinterested, undisciplined, and bickering. He deserved to get fired, and frankly, the more I thought about it, the less I gave a rat's ass that the man had to endure the indignity of a free, first-class plane trip to California to finally learn his fate.

The real problem, of course, is not whether the Mets dishonored Willie Randolph. It's that they should have foreseen that the way they did this would be torn apart by the media. They didn't, so they deserve to be slammed for it.

But good GOD. Enough already. This is not, as the media would have you believe, some benchmark low point in Met history. Not even a little bit. You know what the real low point in Mets history is?

September 30, 2007.

You know who the manager was then?

Let's turn the page.


Blogger Andrew Vazzano said...

Oh my. You're a godsend. There is finally someone else with a Mets blog that has a head on his shoulders.

Great piece.

10:40 AM

Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

The media is upset because:
1. The Mets deprived them of front and back page stories yesterday.

2. Willie was a former Yankee. You know former Yankees should never be made fools of.

I am not upset Willie was fired (though I did like him). I am upset they made him fly 3,000 miles and then did it. I would hope my boss would not send me on a business trip, only to fire me one day in when they knew they were gonna can me anyway.

Frankly, given the shit that has gone on, two people need to join Willie on the unemplyment line:

1 - Tony Bernazard. For telling players what Willie said about them in PRIVATE organizational meetings. Suspect #1 as the leaker last week.

2- Jay Horowitz. This guy is in charge of media relations? He makes the "Brownie" (former head of FEMA) look good. This team can't do anything right when it comes to media relations.

3 - Jeff Wilpon. Sperm of Fred is the "man" behind all this. Let him run the Cyclones or something Fred. Get him the hell away from our team.

11:06 AM

Blogger jon said...

Well said Toasty Joe.

11:11 AM

Blogger James Allen said...

A good capper on this whole mess, Joe. Even Mike Franscesa yesterday was talking about all the piling on and basically how this was shooting fish in a barrel. By the end of Omar's mind numbing press conference I'd had enough of it all.

You see that poll on SNY last night where 70% responded that the firing was the wrong move? What the fuck was that shit? Regardless of how it was done, it was time for Willie to go. It seems that this affair made a whole bunch of Mets fans forget how they've been wanting this guy out the door for weeks if not since last October just because he was fired in such a retarded fashion.

And yes, Joe, for all the slamming the Mets deserve for the handling of this, the hyperbole got to be a bit much, and, like you, Yogi Berra popped immediately to mind. I would venture to guess that managers for other clubs have been treated like shit over the last 100 years. GM's, as a group, aren't generally known for media savy and smarts. They are for the most part company men who end up, more often than not, doing the bidding of the owner (and aren't those guys a terrific lot?)

Bottom line right now though is this: I don't know how much more I can watch a lineup that features Chavez, Tatis, Anderson, Schneider, Easley, and the rotting carcass of Delgado day after day. Okay? Okay? Okay?

11:13 AM

Blogger SonnyD said...

Well, Jose did his best to redirect the media's attention, but I personally don't think he did a good enough job...

0-1 under Jerry Manuel. When does Jerry-watch begin?

11:38 AM

Blogger pat said...

I actually witnessed the firing of a collegue of mine who was fired directly after a dance performance IN GERMANY! All he got for his efforts was a one way ticket back to NY. So, I don't really mind what they did to Willie. He and his millions will be fine.

I'm more concerned that everyone clamoring for his hide don't really have any decent replacement options. Jerry took all of 5 minutes to piss off Reyes (in theory, an awesomely gutty move, but in reality, the beginning of the end of Jose in NY - he will hit .260 this year and be traded for someone like Willy Tavares). Ken Oberkfell? Great, let's give another guy his first MLB job. What could possibly go wrong there? If change for change sake worked, Bud Harrelson would have won the World Series. How exactly did that change work out?

I can't see Jerry making much difference, but maybe if he's not a stubborn and coddling as Willie was, maybe he'll win some games. At the end of the day, if he can't get Reyes to grow up, no one can. And, without Reyes, or a suitable successor, the Mets are toast(ed).

1:03 PM

Blogger SonnyD said...

At least Ken O. has about 10 years of minor league managerial experience, and has been quite successful there (2005 minor league mgr of year). I think it's a different situation than Willie's, who's never managed a team before the Mets. I'm glad to see that they are promoting within to someone who's earned it.

2:27 PM

Blogger Haus said...

I love the contrarian position of the post, especially because the media (collectively) wants to bear Willie's children and he can do no wrong even though the team with the highest payroll in the National League unequivocally sucks. But the whole point of this Toasty is that the Mets can't even fire a manager correctly. It doesn't matter that Willie had to fly to California, or that they won 3 of 4, or that it was designed to miss a single, lousy news cycle, or that Willie's going to get to sit on the beach for the next few years collecting a big fat paycheck (why would anyone feel bad for him?), it's that they turned a no-nonsense, slam dunk, who's-your-daddy fire into an absolute clusterfuck, and they're morons. And that's all. The Jets are the same way, in a way, in that some organizations just don't have it, and the Mets just demonstrated (again) that they just don't have it.

Anyway, I don't even root for them anymore and I'm not all that embarrassed to say it. Willie is horrible, but Omar is just as bad. The team is old, slow, unathletic, uninspired and impossible to like unless one is really good at laundry-rooting. And now I'm supposed to be excited for the arrival of Ken freaking Oberkfell. Please. Trade Beltran. Cut Delgado. Dump Heilman. And just hire Bobby V and let's get it over with already. I didn't get him 7 years ago, but the man won with Timo Perez and Benny Agbayani and Mike Bordick and a few other shitbags. Now that would be cool.

2:47 PM

Blogger Toasty Senior said...

OK, everybody take a breath here. So Delgado booted the ball; so Easley didn't cover 2nd; so the ace didn't have his best outing....
I liken this to the runners on base being the responsibility of the pitcher who was just yanked, i.e. this is Willie residue. We're only a couple of games below .500 and I actually think that we have a shot at turning this thing around and being somewhat competitive. Call me delusional but I think there's some talent on this team, Delgado and the schizophrenic bullpen notwithstanding.

4:54 PM

Blogger pat said...

You are absolutely right, Toasty Sr. No doubt about it. You are delusional.

This schizo team will have some great victories in 2008. And some gut crushing, mind boggling losses. That's what this team is. That's what they'll do. And the Phillies will be running away with the division if they pick up one more decent starter.

Still, it's a whole lot easier to root for Jerry, and he'll make it interesting. Especially if he actually cuts Jose!

9:41 AM


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