Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Mets Didn't Fire Randolph; Everyone Else Did

Willie Randolph has been fired, and he has the Internet to thank. And sports talk radio. And the newspapers. And the TV people. New York Mets GM Oscar Minaya? He's the least culpable, ironically -- though he's the guy who pulled the trigger, or to be more accurate, the plug.

Randolph, the now deposed Mets manager, was taken off life support at the rather symbolic time of 3 a.m. on Tuesday, for that's not an unusual hour for the moribund to bid farewell -- in the dead of night, pun intended.

Minaya yanked the plug, mercifully, thus putting an end to not only Randolph's tenure in New York but to all the speculation and chatter that was threatening to become a season-long distraction.

They engaged in another of those manager/coach "watches" in New York, and those never end well for the one being watched.

Randolph, who presided over last season's September collapse, was said to be on thin ice ever since they threw the last pitch of the World Series -- maybe even earlier than that. Everyone said so. There was the "Randolph Watch" even as the teams practiced under the palm trees in Florida.

But it wasn't Mets management who said there was such a watch. It was everyone else. Those aforementioned media and blogging folks, each with shovel in hand, ready to throw dirt over Randolph's figurative grave. Granted, some weak statements from the front office didn't really do much to quell the rumors, but once a watch begins, there's really no stopping it, short of saying, "Willie Randolph is safe! Safe, I say! Now, get on with your lives! Sheesh!"

Nothing close to those words were uttered by Minaya and company.

So the watch continued, unabated.

The Mets have piddled around the .500 mark for much of the season, which wasn't going to cut it in a city that expected its team to pick itself off the mat after last season's disappointment and contend for a playoff spot yet again. The watch gained steam; Mets management was feeble in its resistance to it.

Randolph would be fired any day now, the shovel holders said. Maybe today, perhaps tomorrow. The team left for a west coast trip, and the smart money was on it returning to New York with a different manager. Randolph's condition deteriorated.

He must have slipped into a coma overnight, after the Mets' win over the Angels, because Minaya stepped in and, seeing no hope and declaring his manager a vegetable, provided his mercy killing. He did a Jack Kevorkian, at the behest of the shovel holders.

It's not always the front office who fires a coach or a manager.

Willie Randolph is fired -- dead, if you will. Driven out by a mad mob of speculators and shovel holders. Pummeled into a comatose state.

Minaya pulled the plug. What else was there to do, really?


Post a Comment

<< Home