Friday, February 08, 2008

All Right, I'll Be The First

You saw the collapse last season.

You saw that strange news conference that basically announced that Willie Randolph was not going to be fired, where Willie looked extra lost without the mustache.

You saw Omar Minaya keep up his end of the bargain by acquiring one of the best pitchers in baseball (of course, I'm talking about Brian Stokes.)

So the question must be asked: What happens if the Mets start the season by falling behind the Braves, the Phillies, and even the Nationals by a good amount of games ... then what? When a team on paper as good as the Mets have, assuming that a slow start isn't caused by a key injury or two (or five), what's the quickest way to improve the team?

Do you make a trade? With the bulk of the top minor leaguers gone in the Johan Santana deal, good luck getting an impact player back.

Fire a coach to send a message? Rick Down would like to remind you that they've tried that already.

Raise ticket prices mid-season? Don't tempt the Wilpons.

That leaves one option: Willie Randolph.

He has to know. He's got to know. After last season's news conference, he's gotta know that his job could be on the line ... even if his job shouldn't be on the line. Because if that 3-8 start comes to fruition, somebody in the mainstream media is going to write it (and that someone will no doubt be Wally Matthews). And once that happens, the onslaught will snowball (too many metaphors?) to the point where Willie is going to feel the heat every day even if he never lets you see him sweat.

If that 3-8 start comes to fruition, you could probably read the comments before anybody writes 'em.
  • How could Willie take Santana out in that situation, Omar only paid $137 and a half million for him! He's gotta go!
  • Marlon Anderson to the plate against a lefty when you got Damion Easley sitting on the bench?
  • Willie can't handle a small child much less a bullpen!

You know how I know those comments are coming if the Mets start 3-8? Because the comments would be there if the Mets start 8-3! A slow start combined with, say, Jimmy Rollins reminding everybody why he's the reigning N.L. MVP, and the Willie Randolph watch begins.

So I'll be the first to ask you this (because someone has to): Is Willie Randolph on the hot seat right now ... before the season even begins?


Itsmetsforme said...

wait, explain again why they can't just fire Rick Down?

ronhunt said...

Willie on the Hot Seat? You bet he is! He let the team get down on themselves during the stretch last September. The manager has got to figure out a way to get them back on track, and he didn't do it last year. He had better perform this year or else.............

Metstradamus said...

If only they could keep Rick Down in a closet so they could dust him off and fire him whenever the team loses 13 out of 19.

Demitri said...

This brings to point an even greater question. Are we as Mets fans, incapable of being happy?

I mean seriously, I had nothing but utter dread going into this season. The Santana trade reversed that and I'm actually counting down the days before I see them play in March in St Lucie.

I see that the euphoria for Metstradamus, lasted for all of six days.

I guess they can fire Apodaca again too if it helps.

Any of these sabermetrics guys have a stat called WPFRMCS?

(Winning Percentage after Firing a Random Member of the Coaching Staff)

Metstradamus said...


I wouldn't say the euphoria has worn off. Hardly. For example, I'm currently investigating the next jersey I'm buying with my tax refund money.

I just pose the question because the anti-Willie sentiment grew in leaps and bounds last season. And while the Mets should be the favorite in the East this season, I think everyone is expecting the team to go fast out of the gate. If they don't, which is possible, Willie's going to have a big target on his back. Heck, people were panicking when the 1986 Mets were 2-3. TWO AND THREE! And I can't be sure, but I think there were no blogs in 1986.

I don't think Mets fans are incapable of being happy. Mets fans are giddy right now!!! Am I incapable of being happy? Whole other question. But right now? Trust me when I say the following:


Anonymous said...

If the Mets fire Willie Randolf -- not that I am fond of his skills as a manager - who do they replace him with?

Geoff said...

MD, this is a strange post. I mean, for the most part, I agree, but where did this come from? Don't you think it's a little early?

I'm definitely a Willie Randolph fan, and after seeing Tom Coughlin take a step back, swallow a little pride, and reevaluate his style, I hope we see Willie do the same. The years of being with Torre made him a bit stoic, and hopefully last year's experience has made him realize that, and lit a bit of a fire in his gut. If not, I hear Bobby V is available.

Metstradamus said...

Geoff, I hear what you're saying. But the point is not to say that Willie is in trouble already or to complain about him.

Look, I'm a fan of Willie's as well. Check the archives, I've basically left him alone. And I agree with the comment before yours which asks "who would the Mets replace him with if they dumped him?" And I'd even go so far as to say that I don't care if he develops a "fire in his gut" or not. Sure I'd like to see him defend his players a little more vehemently in key spots (like Marlon Anderson getting tossed against the Phillies in that Saturday game at Shea in September) but you can't fake who you are.

All I'm bringing up is the fact that if there is a slow start, how fast does the heat turn up on Randolph? And to me, it's not too early to ask that because on the heels of the Santana signing, Omar Minaya has done his part ... he's gotten Randolph the part he needs to make the team more or less complete, and it's in his hands now.

Now, I personally think he'll be fine. I don't anticipate a slow start. But I thought the Mets would be fine going into the last week of the season too.

So I only ask, what if? What if there's a slow start? How fast does the heat go on Randolph is things go south again? Who else could you really put the heat on at this point?

You might respond by saying: "Well what if David Wright gets hit by a bus?" True, we're dealing in hypotheticals here. But what else are we going to do for two weeks, right?

Sorry, as always, for rambling late on a Friday night.

TK said...

You better believe it. Bringing Johan alowed Omar to atone for his sins, Willie doesn't have that luxury. He's got 162 games to breathe fire into this lineup and we all have to pray that Maine and Perez don't have "old self" seasons.

But if we don't have another year like '06 - you remember, OUR YEAR, the year Nothing Could Go Wrong (until some unintimidating wretch spoils your perfect season), we're going to find Williw under a LOT of scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Wait wait wait, Willie is going to feel the heat from a snowball?!

katherine said...

Willie Randolph is so great. I totally reject the notion that a manager has to be a purple-faced, bug-eyed rage-a-holic in order to inspire his players. That buffoon, Bobby Cox, had a wonderful line up going down the stretch last season, and even set a new record for childish displays leading to ejections from games, and did not seem to fire up his players in the final two months. From the day they acquired Texeira, to the last day of the season, they actually LOST a game and a half in the standings to the Mets.

I seem to recall two years ago, Omar making a comment along the lines of, "Julio Franco will always have a job in any organization I am in." I wonder if he would be considered for a coaching or managerial position?

Anonymous said...

fire him if he farts
if he dosnt fart, let him stay

Thou Art Hail Johan said...

Of course he's on the hot seat. There were thousands of Mets fans who wanted Willie to get fired after last season; HOWEVER, if it's not his fault (injuries, botched play by team's stars) you can't honestly put the blame on him. However, if we go 3-8, everyone will hate Willie. "O Willie used the Bullpen wrong & Wagner gave up that bloop single...we should have kept it in Sanchez..." My English Teacher has faith in I'll have faith in him...but once I see our Bullpen being overworked or Guillermo Mota coming back after being shipped across America from Milwaukee to the Mets Bullpen for Mike Pelfrey & F-Mart, I will be the 1st one to yell at Willie & Wilpon...(well I'd think that would be as hilarious as it would be excessively dumb) He has got a talented core...& he's got a devoted fanbase...

BlueDog said...

How about Wally Backman or Gary Carter. Send Willie back to the Bronx where he can wave runners in for the other team.

Prosen said...

With any luck Willie will be fired before the season begins. The man is a liability. He manages by gut, refuses to learn from his mistakes and confuses a lack of passion with stoicism.

Signing Santana changes none of this. Fire the bum.