While there is really no good way to fire someone there are right and wrong ways and you’ll find almost unanimous agreement that the Mets dismissal of manager Willie Randolph was handled poorly and showed a lack of class. Randolph was finally put out of his misery at around 3 o’clock this morning our time after the Mets had beaten the Angels in the opener of a three-game series in Anaheim. Also getting “pink slips” were pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto. Bench coach Jerry Manuel takes over as interim manager for the rest of the season while Mets Triple A manager Ken Oberkfell and pitching coach Dan Warthen along with Luis Aquayo join the coaching staff.
There is no argument that Randolph was on thin ice and his firing has been talked about for weeks with rumors really heating up over the weekend. However why would the organization make him fly cross-country after a Sunday game in New York to fire him on the left coast after a victory? The answer is pretty obvious….to avoid the media circus that would have taken place back home and to give Manuel time to get things together before the team returns to Shea Stadium next week. While one can argue the validity of that the Mets treated Randolph like a second-class citizen when he has shown nothing but dedication to the organization. He was allowed to twist in the wind with luke-warm votes of confidence from General Manager Omar Minaya with Minaya finally pulling the plug on New York’s first black baseball manager in a west coast version of a “midnight massacre.”
Whether Randolph was a good manager is not the issue because he did provide plenty of fodder for second guessers. However he has been a beloved figure in New York for the way he conducted himself as a player and coach during his Yankee career and most recently as manager of the Mets. Unfortunately the Mets did not conduct themselves very well here and the organization takes a big step backwards. They and Minaya showed a lack of class and character which of course will be completely forgotten by fans if the team starts winning because at the end of the day…I guess that’s the only thing that counts.