Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Willie Sleeps with the Fishes
2008-06-17 05:37
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

While you were sleeping...

The Mets beat the Angels in California last night. Then, they fired Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first-base coach Tom Nieto. Jerry Manuel is the new manager of the Mets.

This was coming. We all knew that. Still, it never ceases to amaze me just how these things are handled. I suppose the Met brass wanted to do this with the team out of town, do it so late in the night that it'd miss the morning papers--as if that really matters these days. I can't call it. But it just seems like a cockamamie way to handle the situation. Why make Randolph schlep out to California in the first place?

2008-06-17 06:02:58
1.   Knuckles
Someone shud tell the Mets brass about teh interwebs- I knew about this first thing this morning. LOLz!
2008-06-17 06:05:19
2.   Cleveland Steamer
Sounds like Shrub is running the Mets.
2008-06-17 06:06:19
3.   Bagel Boy
Too bad for Willie, but snap up Rick Peterson quick!
2008-06-17 06:09:20
4.   3rd gen yankee fan
Really outrageous the way the Mets handled it. Real class there. Showing their true colors. And we take the hit cause we're the Evil Empire. Uh huh.
2008-06-17 06:10:18
5.   rbj
Way to stay classy there Queens.
2008-06-17 06:12:46
6.   RZG
Over the decades the Yanks have done some classless firings it's nice to see it crosstown for a change.

I guess this means Willie won't be coaching for the All Star Game

2008-06-17 06:31:06
7.   ChrisS
Probably couldn't get Willie to handle 3B coaching duties for the Yanks, could they?
2008-06-17 06:35:48
8.   Ace Rothstein
somebody had to get the ax for what happened last season - that's part of a managers job description. I don't know why the mets waited so long tho - sometimes u need sacrificial blood just to help the team get closure.

Looking at this objectively - I'm not sure where to place the blame - ofcourse in reality, as always, its shared by multiple parties. Jeff Wilpon is a moron, born of third base and thinks he hit a triple - classic story. Randolph shoulda kicked Reyes in the ass a while ago and straightened him out - guy's got boat loads of talent and no focus - you gotta put those two things together to reach that higher level - "the worst thing in life is wasted talent". I always hated Rick Peterson - pompous moron - where did this whole "Rick Peterson is a genius" thing come from anyway?


2008-06-17 06:36:16
9.   Simone
Tough being a manager in New York. Joe Torre got an half-ass offer to get him out and now the Mets firing Willie in this low life manner. Why didn't Minaya just fire Willie before he got on that plane to California? I hope Willie takes a first class flight back to NY and charged the Wilpons for the expense. The Wilpons are ridiculous.

Ultimately, the Mets are a bad team with a couple good players. The Mets are paying the price for trading Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. About time that Rick "pitching guru" Peterson finally get fireed after his role in that trade debacle.

2008-06-17 06:42:06
10.   ChrisS
In any event, I don't see this helping the Mets at all. Their problem is reliance on too many declining vets, similar to the Yankees, but the Yankees have talent down on the farm and the Mets do not.
2008-06-17 06:48:17
11.   williamnyy23
7 If I was Hank, I'd have that offer waiting at the airport.
2008-06-17 06:49:47
12.   Alex Belth
At least the Steinbrenner's are blantant and obvious when they are jerks. This Jeff Wilspon is worse--one step shy of the Dolans--he's sneaky.
2008-06-17 06:54:15
13.   williamnyy23
While I don't think Willie was the cause of the Mets problems, I have no problem with teams changing managers in whatever way they see fit. Would it have been better to fire him on Sunday? Perhaps, but then again, maybe all the pieces weren't in place? It's not like Willie is going to be left stranded in California.

It's also silly to bring Joe Torre into this discussion. Randolph was fired, while Torre was offered a very lucrative contract extension that didn't meet his demands.

2008-06-17 07:00:05
14.   Bagel Boy
Yup, silly to bring up Torre. He wasn't fired. He got offered more than what he took. He just didn't like the terms.

Besides, Torre shoulda been fired a few years ago.

But the real bottomline is MLB managers just don't make that much of a difference (see again Torre in LA or Girardi in NY. Both teams are performing exactly as they did one year ago.

2008-06-17 07:03:42
15.   tommyl
My personal theory is that the Mets have hired Isiah Thomas and this was his first act. Classy as always.

Ok, now back to the team we root for. Think Andy will keep it up tonight against the Pads?

2008-06-17 07:03:59
16.   Simone
12 The Wilpon and Dolan dauphins are incompetent, period.
2008-06-17 07:07:31
17.   tommyl
14 Yeah, but the difference is that Torre is shooting himself in the foot in LA right now with his lineup decisions. He's going to get Nomar to play SS again and LaRoche is on the bench while Juan Pierre continues to leadoff? Kudo rots in the pen while EDSP makes appearance after appearance.

Aside from a few in game moves and the continued belief that Kyle Farnsworth has any net worth Girardi has done a much better job. They dumped Ensberg quick, he's rotated the workload in the pen a lot, hell he's even used Mo in a tie game on the road. Girardi is also contending with a woefully underperforming Cano, both kids hurt (and pitching badly when healthy) and Jeter looking like he's in decline.

I'll take Joe G at this point.

2008-06-17 07:10:29
18.   Raf
14 But the real bottomline is MLB managers just don't make that much of a difference

I agree, but the way this was handled reeks.

2008-06-17 07:14:23
19.   williamnyy23
17 I popped in on Dodger Thoughts a few days ago and the litany of Torre transgressions made me feel as if I was back in time at the Banter. Even though I think Girardi has been a little disappointing, and feel he is partly to blame for Wang's injury, I am glad the frustration of this season has not also included scratching my head every game trying to figure out Torre's logic.
2008-06-17 07:15:40
20.   Bagel Boy
Farnsworth just got his first save!

I think Girardi is better too (on the scale of decisions I agree with). Still, I don't think it makes a bunch of difference to the W-L columns. Pitchers pitch. Hitters hit. Fielders field. I don't thing the manager changes any of those.

2008-06-17 07:16:10
21.   dianagramr

re: Isiah: I just threw up in my mouth a little.

2008-06-17 07:17:04
22.   dianagramr
The problem is simple:

Minaya .... Minaya .... Minaya ....
(RIP Tim Russert)

2008-06-17 07:19:39
23.   williamnyy23
20 In most games I agree, but I think there are a handful of games each year that a good manager can help a team win. When you are a borderline playoff team, having a better manager can make all the difference.
2008-06-17 07:24:13
24.   ChrisS
I said it last year, and I'll say it this season as well. I think that a manager can do more to harm a club's chances to win than he can do to improve their chance to win. I think making poor personnel decisions and bullpen usage can have a greater negative impact than a positive one.

Willie didn't have the players and a new manager doesn't change that.

2008-06-17 07:27:02
25.   tommyl
20 Except they get to decide who plays when and how much. Giving Juan Pierre the maximum number of PAs on your team when he is an out machine is retarded. Not using your best pitchers as often as you can is dumb. Both hurt the team. A manager can't win or lose a game, but he can put his team in the best position to win. Torre is failing to do that this year for the Dodgers.
2008-06-17 07:27:37
26.   tommyl
21 That's the spirit! Meet the Mets!
2008-06-17 07:27:40
27.   Bagel Boy
Yeah, but then the few games Girardi has maybe helped win, he's given them back with Meachem as his third-base coach!
2008-06-17 07:29:36
28.   tommyl
27 You cannot blame Girardi for Meachem occasionally sending a runner incorrectly.
2008-06-17 07:30:32
29.   williamnyy23
I also think part of Willie's problem was he didn't have any leaders among his star players. A lot of people have traced the Mets decline back to Willie's benching of Jose Reyes last summer in Houston. Many reports have claimed that Reyes went into a shell after that incident, and that it had a negative impact on his play and the attitude in the clubhouse. Now, compare that to how Jimmy Rollins reacted to being benched by Charlie Manuel for not running out a grounder. He took full responsibility and accepted the punishment. Over the past two seasons, Rollins has established himself as a leader, and not surprisingly, the Phillies have shaken their image as a team with lots of talent and no heart.
2008-06-17 07:32:22
30.   williamnyy23
28 If Girardi did not previously lay out a plan for taking precautions with his runners, he is partly to blame. Meacham is still the main culprit, but I think Girardi should have been more proactive (assuming he wasn't).
2008-06-17 07:34:20
31.   williamnyy23
Strike 30 ...In 28 , it appears you were referring to Meacham more generally.
2008-06-17 07:36:10
32.   tommyl
29 I dunno, I think that's making a storyline where there isn't one. The Phillies have shaken that image because they won last year. As for Reyes, he's never proven to be the superstar he was supposed to be. I prefer to think his first half last year was an abberation, not the norm and he's returned to form.
2008-06-17 07:40:41
33.   Raf
29 I think the problem had more to do with the team not being as good as advertised, than a leadership issue.

As for Reyes vs Rollins, you have a case where players react differently to certain situations. It's pretty clear they have different personalities.

2008-06-17 07:42:14
34.   williamnyy23
32 They won last year, but Rollins was a big part of it. If you believe Phillies fans and reporters, his role as a leader was as important as the great performances he gave on the field.

Your point about Reyes is valid, however. He really hasn't established himself as a star. Still, there was a feeling that Willie's "picking" on Reyes created a split in the clubhouse.

2008-06-17 07:52:35
35.   Bagel Boy
29 I think the notion of leaders influencing games has even less to it than managers doing the same.

25 I agree with this analysis. But then it's who the team hires. Torre had enough of a track record that they should have known they weren't getting a guy that was going to play Kemp over Pierre. Again, that ain't the manager.

With the Mets, they don't have those choices.

28 I was joking. But I don't know what Meachem offers this team. I miss Bowa (and so does Cano).

2008-06-17 07:53:07
36.   monkeypants
19 28 29 30 I wish the NL would get into the 21st century--it's the only league where dead horses have to run the bases.
2008-06-17 07:56:10
37.   Raf
34 That could be the problem; I don't believe Phillies fans & reporters...
2008-06-17 08:21:05
38.   tommyl
34 Its sort of like the old story that the A-Rod vs. Tek battle in 2004 sparked the Sox. Except that they lost the next few games and all. Writers want stories, they look for themes in what are basically statistical noise.
2008-06-17 10:38:25
39.   JL25and3
It's been clear for a long time that the Wilpons lacked the guts, the vision and the drive of the Steinbrenners (or, at least, the main one). Now it's clear that they don't even have his class or decency, and that's saying something.
2008-06-17 11:56:05
40.   Vandelay Industries
Class and Steinbrennner in the same sentence. Who would have thought that in 1989-1990?

Hank may yet grow into the older learned man we will all remember George Sr. as. He, like his father once was, is prone to self-indulgent and youthful thoughtlessness when speaking to the media and likely to Yankee employees.

The Wilpons however, blame Willie in the dead of night for a problem created exclusively by themselves and Omar Minaya. Pussies. May the Mets faulter further this season.

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