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.