The Only Way to Fire Him Badly

While I like Willie Randolph and didn’t want him fired, I’ve long said I could live with it because I felt a change needed to be made for changes sake, and who knows what the problem is?

However, if Randolph was the problem, then undoubtedly so was Manuel and Howard Johnson, but they are still here. Of course, the shoddy way the Mets handled this so far could mean they’re gone when they wake up in Anaheim today. Ken Oberkfell is promoted from Triple A manager to first base coach, and I assume that the idea is he’s the favorite for manager and Jerry Manuel is truly an interim guy, but if the Mets go on to win in the playoffs like they are capable of, how can you fire him? And firing coaches/managers twice within a season is just an unneeded (for the players) distraction and disruption.

If they were going to fire him, Friday was the time after a bad stretch of games. Instead, now they’ve won four of six and three of the last four. They didn’t make a huge move, bringing up triple A guys to fill the coaching spots, so why did they need to hold off on making this decision? I even went to bed last night thinking the Mets were on an upswing and Willie probably even had a days reprieve or so. To make a guy fly out to Anaheim and win a game well with a young pitcher on the mound, a game where he made the right bullpen moves to win the game, and then fire him after it is silly.

Maybe it was in deference to Randolph? If they fire him Friday and then the Mets start winning, he looks bad and like the cause of the Mets struggles. However, now that they’re playing well again, it just looks like any other manager firing and maybe he doesn’t get all the blame.

I know nothing about Nieto and have no reason to understand why he got fired, but Peterson I can live with an am almost happy with. I don’t really know how much impact he has had, and how much impediment he has been. I tire of his babying pitchers and his pitch counts and what seems to me to be molding a pitcher to his philosophies rather than teaching the pitcher how to succeed with what he’s got. I know nothing about his replacement though, and it’ll be interesting to see how things go. The only guy I’m really curious about is Perez. Maine has progressed enough that I think he’ll actually benefit with someone else’s suggestions and only get better. Pelfrey to me was just a matter of confidence and practice, not necessarily who was giving it to him. Plus having Pedro here is worth as much as any pitching coach.

So we have all day and night to talk about this, and then it’s time to move on and start/continue playing good baseball and get back to the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.

Does Willie still get to go to the All Star game? Also, I don’t want to hear from Yankees fans on this. The Yankees totally mishandled Joe Torre (although at least it was in the offseason) and have a crybaby for an owner.

And in a game of what if?

Willie Randolph gets Jim Leyland’s job, and manages the Tigers to a championship over the Mets. Then after asked “You’ve just won the World Series, what are you going to do now?” he returns to Anaheim where he was fired. “I’m going to Disneyland!”

Subway Series, and getting going

I haven’t been a proponent of firing Willie Randolph, and I still don’t believe firing him will fix this team. However, at one point something needs to be done, and that’s about all there is to it. These next seven games are important ones though, more important than these last seven.
The Yankees are actually the right team for them to play. They’re an average pitching team with a good offense, which is actually very like the Phillies, and it plays to the strength of the Mets. Their pitching is their strength, which should be enough to shut down the Yankees, and their offense has enough firepower to score plenty of runs against them.

After that a short four game series against the Braves, who if they stay healthy are definitely better than the Phillies. Keeping themselves ahead of the Braves, and beating them in this series, would go a long way to make them, and us, feel good.

If they don’t play well against these teams, then barring suddenly going on a 10 game winning streak or something, it’s probably time to ditch Randolph because whether it’ll help or not, he’s ultimately culpable for the performance.

Watching the last few days, I’ve felt like the Mets have gotten a lot of bad breaks recently, whether it’s great catches, line drives right at people, or pitching to contact that finds holes. I’m confident this team will have good stretches, but depending on when and how that stretch comes, it might not be enough to put them in a positive, relaxed frame of mind for the rest of the season.

Maybe the energy associated with, and they can deny it exists all they want, the Subway Series will actually wake the Mets up. So here are my predictions, as crazy as you may think they are.

(Santana) Game 1: Mets 8, Yankees 1

(Perez) Game 2: Mets 5, Yankees 3

(Maine) Game 3: Mets 6, Yankees 1

Aggressiveness and Finding the Balance

This team still feels like it’s trying to find that right balance between aggressive and sloppy. The problem seems to be, and this was probably the case last year too, is that when they’re unsure they’re leaning towards aggressive, which leads to sloppy mistakes like forgetting to check a runner back to third, or breaking for the plate like Clark did on the double play Sunday. It translates into hitting too. This is why I don’t believe, and never did, that the team was ever ‘flat’ or ‘uninterested’.

They played hard last September, and they are playing hard now. Maybe too hard. Think about how often Reyes was thrown out last September. He wasn’t doing it just for stats, or selfishness, he was playing aggressively, trying to make things happen, just like _everyone_ says he should do/does. So what happened this year? He seems to be trying to tone down the aggressiveness a little bit, be smarter, but so far it’s not working. Just like it didn’t work when they tried to change how he ran. Reyes, like the rest of the team, needs to find that balance of aggressiveness and smart baseball, and when they do the difference is going to be remarkable.

The difference this year is that last year they succeeded with the aggressiveness early, and maybe they stubbornly stuck to it when it turned bad. This year it’s failing for them early, and they’ll be able to adjust to it and turn it around. It’s not Willie’s fault either. He can only teach, he can’t execute. If they players can’t execute on what they’re being taught, it doesn’t really matter who or what they’re being coached to do. However, this team is too good, and wants it too much, to not be able to execute all season. I thought as much before this season, but so far it doesn’t look like Atlanta or Philadelphia is capable of running away with the division to a point where the Mets can’t catch up; In fact, neither team is ahead of the Mets in the standings.

The biggest concern I have is still the bullpen. Even if Sanchez is as good as he was two years ago, he’s going to almost definitely replace either Muniz or Smith on the roster, and both of those guys have been good. It’s Heilman, who you hope will turn it around like he always does, Schoeneweis and Sosa who have been the biggest culprits, and they won’t be replaced. As the weather gets warmer and the pitchers get more comfortable, I have to believe both Maine, Santana, and hopefully Perez and maybe even Pelfrey will be able to go a little deeper into games more consistency, and allow Willie to more regularly use only the top three or so guys in the bullpen who are doing well, instead of routinely having to trot out the 5th and 6th best relief options they have.


Beltran’s making statements now? Good. I love it. I’m glad he thinks the Mets are the team to beat. They are. They own this division. This was my favorite part.

“I don’t care,” Beltran said. “They boo me in Houston. One more city won’t make a difference.”

Good. Stop worrying about what fans think and just take what belongs to you. Maybe Willie’s right when he suggested you becoming a father gave you confidence.

It’s still February and I’m starting to feel some strong magic with this team..March 31st can’t come soon enough.


It sounds like some people might have an issue with Willie Randolph’s comment about sipping the champagne being sweeter when they do pull it out.

I don’t have an issue with it, I like the confidence, I liked that he was talking packing for Detroit before game 7 last year. Confidence!

Joe Beningo is talking about “This isn’t the Yankees, this is the Mets” trying to say we’re not as good as them because we’re second-class. We’re not. We’re not their shadow, we’re our own team, and Willie Randolph not panicking is better than expecting it because “It’s the Mets”

If you don’t have something nice to say..

I still trust Willie, I do. It’s only the regular season, but I wish they’d played more to step on their throats. They’ve hit a little downswing offensively which is understandable after a two week stretch on fire, but the bullpen has been unable to make anything stick.

The Phillies won’t catch up, but you can’t let them sweep either. Even the four games, while it doesn’t sound like much, is enough for the division. Willie has some hard decisions ahead of him about postseason rotations and bench players, but he’s got an equally hard and much more important one in finishing out this bullpen. We’ll get some September call ups, and Willie has to be looking for some extra bullpen help. Someone needs to play well, so Willie can pull the “I can’t leave this guy off the way he’s throwing” justification for not putting Mota on the postseason roster. Honestly the Mets need to do some cost analysis and realize that the extra postseason money that they’ll make from the team going further into the playoffs is more than enough to pay off Mota’s contract.

Tomorrow I’ll be watching the game at the Ziegler theatre with the Mets at the Movies promotion they’ve been promoting for a couple of weeks. I have no idea what to expect, but hopefully it’ll be fun to see the Mets on the screen like that. Look for me, I’ll be the one with the Mets hat.

The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Mets

Here come the Braves. Literally, not figuratively, though if the Mets play badly this week it could be both.

In some of the time I spend in the Hot Foot Bleachers, I mentioned once that this upcoming series is a lot bigger for Atlanta then it is for the Mets. I was laughed at, but it still holds true. The Braves are four and a half games back, which means the best they could reach is two losses behind the Mets with a sweep. If the Braves win the series, which is what I’m sure they’re setting out to do, that puts them four losses back. Three and a half games back with only 48 left to go is what the Braves are aiming for. This isn’t a threat to the Mets; the Braves have been hovering around three and a half for a while now, unable to really put on the pressure. They’ve flirted with third place more than first place.

That said, the Mets still should go out there and win this series at home. They need to brush them back with the attitude of “What? You’re still here? This is our division now, check in again sometime next decade.” They can do this; they just won series against the two contenders in the Central division, they won a seven game road trip against the West division contenders. It’s time to show the Braves that there aren’t any contenders in the East division, only a repeat champion.

I have heard no word yet on if Willie Randolph is going to pitch his pitchers on normal rest next week, taking advantage of the day off to get Maine to pitch Thursday against the Braves instead of Friday against the Marlins. It would be the right move to get the best pitcher in the rotation to pitch against the team currently sitting in second place in the division.

I want all the Braves fans to be thinking about one thing Thursday night; the Friday preseason Falcon game against the Jets.

The Mets Are Still The Best in the National League

It’s hard to be optimistic at this juncture, so I’ll keep it short. The Mets obviously aren’t this bad, it’s just not the case. A lot of the problem is hitting, and all of the other problems with mental errors and actual errors and even some of the relief pitching is probably a byproduct of confidence. Once the Mets get going again, and they are going to get going again, these problems should melt away.

One of my biggest complaints is Jorge Sosa and the starting pitching. We’ve gotten some big games, like Monday night, that have looked like slump-busters, only to have the next day’s pitcher pitch us out of it early. This trend needs to stop, and we’ll get a stretch of good pitching again that will wake us up sooner or later. You can’t micro-manage these situations, blame Willie, blame Delgado or really anybody. They seem to be trying to hard more than not trying hard enough. Tuesday’s game turned on Beltran’s throw in the second inning. Pressing to help, seeing an opportunity he throws fast and hard and it sails into the stands. If the team is going good, Beltran probably pauses for that split second he need to make an accurate throw.

I can point out positive signs, throw out numbers, but none of it really means anything. The Mets will get out of this, and how they get out of it, and how hard they get out of it will go a longer way in demonstrating how good the Mets are this year than the slump itself.

I do think things need to be shaken up a bit here and there though. None of our outfield moves worked out, but I think we could do with testing out some of our Zephyr relievers up here, just for some new blood. Another new starter might work too, although while I think Sosa might have used up his magic, he definitely gets one more start. I wonder if seeing Philip Humber up here would motivate these bats to wake up for him though? Just a though, I’m sure Omar and Willie are in the process of making something interesting happen, and I trust them.

And it begins

Apr 02, 2007 02:06 PM

The Mets played wonderfully last night. There were some blips here and there, and some nice plays to get them out of trouble too. Watching them play like a continuation of 2006 and nothing like this past March just reaffirms how I feel about them taking this division. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them be the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs again this year.

Willie Randolph is a big part of that. Even when I disagree with his moves, I can see what he’s thinking and understand it. I love that he continues to put Wagner out there in non-save situations, challenging him to be ready always. He won’t be surprised again to come into a four run game and blow it. I also like that he’s open to change, experimenting with David Wright batting second in the spring. I really like Joe Smith, think he could be a big part of the team this year, and it was great to see Willie put him in last night where he could get his feet wet.

The season continues, A-Rod’s already made an error and struck out with runners in scoring position. Hopefully the Mets will continue to make news so that we don’t have to listen to the jibes about A-Rod and if he will opt out of his contract all year.