Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 17, 2008
BASEBALL: Midnight Massacre

panicbutton.JPGIt's not 1977, but the Mets waited for deep into last night to finally sack Willie Randolph, Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto and install Jerry Manuel as interim manager.

I've been skeptical of firing the manager in midseason, and installing Manuel pretty much guarantees that no dramatic change is really at work, since Manuel's been at Randolph's side through all of this. That said, the team was going badly enough that you can't fault the team for cutting bait, and by this point the whole when-will-Willie-go drama had reached the point of no return; you can't leave a man twisting in the wind like that. The team had to either unambiguously give him the rest of the season, or be done with it.

I'm not a fan of getting rid of Peterson. His tenure has seen its share of successes and failures, and in some cases (e.g., Oliver Perez) successes followed by regression. But he's clearly a sharp and talented pitching coach, and of course he can't be held responsible for the failures of the offense.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:05 AM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

I think Peterson was fired less for performance reasons, and more because he's associated with the black cloud of fan resentment that's hovered over the team this season (in his case, dating back to the pre-Omar regime, rather than just to September). Even though he kind of got on my nerves, I think he was actually pretty good at his job.

Posted by: Jerry at June 17, 2008 10:23 AM

I'm actually a bit embarrassed today to be a Mets fan. Ownership could not have handled this worse (unless maybe if they had fired him mid-game, like while he was walking back to the dugout after a pitching change).

Willie was clearly not the problem with this team (underperforming / old & injured players are the problem). And installing Manuel will make zero difference. So next to go (unless everyone gets lucky and the players make a remarkable turnaround) will be Omar. But situations like this convince me that ownership will not do a good job of finding a replacement anyway.

Posted by: FundadCT at June 17, 2008 12:10 PM

So...fired on the West Coast, and the thought that comes to mind is 'How Does Willie Get Home?" Obviously he isn't sticking with the team the rest of the trip and I can't see the Mets chartering a jet for the recently axed, so what? Commercial air? Does he at least get first class? Is there a contract clause for this sort of thing? Did Omar hand him an open ticket when he was canned or send him right to the airport to wait for the next flight?

Posted by: bensdad00 at June 17, 2008 1:54 PM

I don't think Omar will be next. Delgado probably. But Omar, like all GMs, well most anyway, will have to adapt back to the old reality, that over 32 is also over the hill. Keith said it best, "The fountain of youth is over."

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at June 17, 2008 5:20 PM

Some Yankee fans I run into think that Willie will be welcomed back to the Bronx with open arms. In that case, maybe Hank Steinbrenner will pay for his return flight.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at June 17, 2008 5:21 PM

Omar will go, this team is not improving. He has imported far too much stale trash instead of talent. He is a shooter, that does not cut it anymore.

Posted by: abe at June 17, 2008 6:00 PM

Actually, after reading about the Mets front office management on ESPN today, this really reminds me of the way that the Raiders do business. One stupid thing after another with no discernable class at all.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at June 17, 2008 6:30 PM

Midseason firings are always more of an indictment on upper management than field management. The Mets have the talent available to improve, and if they do so it is because they are playing up to that talent not because someone else is pushing the tactical buttons. I fail to see how Manuel can coax Alou's body to be healthier, or Pedro's, or how a different managerial style can be the fountain of youth for Delgado. But the Mets surely will improve somewhat just on force of talent, and it will be interesting to see if their fans drink the coolaid and attribute it to Manuel.

Posted by: seth at June 17, 2008 8:16 PM

My thoughts on the real villain, and the guy who should be fired. For anyone who actually gives a damn.

Posted by: Mike at June 18, 2008 7:05 AM
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