Tuesday, June 17, 2008


My assumption is that no one is reading this, seeing as I've completely s**t the bed as far as blogging goes for a couple of months now. To be fair, I've been relocated from my home in NY down the chop-country, ATL, GA, started a new job packed full of hours, and moved into a new house with an infant, so getting the time to write can be tough, even though I've kept watching all of the games, no matter what.

That being said, I've been waiting for the right moment to kick things off again, and I just can't keep my mouth shut about this, so let the floodgates open, I shall blog again.

To tell you the truth, I may be in the minority, but I really didn't want to see Willie go, and I find the whole thing to be rather sad. Perhaps it's sentimentality rather than reason speaking, but to me this was Willie's team, and that feeling has only been intensified with him now suddenly gone, something I found out about, by the way, at about 6:45am as I pulled into work with a phone call from my father in NY. Having gone to bed with a 4-3 Met lead in the 5th, I almost assumed they would blow it, the way things have been going, and when I woke up and checked the boxscore on my phone I was very pleased, and got a little wave of optimism. Then the phone call, and all day all I could think was, damn.

To me, Willie Randolph represents the man at the helm of the ship when this franchise rocketed back to relevance in a way unseen since the '80's, and I'm not forgetting 1999-2000. The way he guided that team in '05 and '06 was really perfect, he was the right man for the job, and a bad finish to 2007 plus a third of '08 isn't enough to cancel that out. The core of the great '06 team is still here, and more than anything, all of us Met fans really just want that team back, or something like it. That was his team. This feels like his team. I just don't think he deserved to get the boot mid-season.

Plus, I genuinely like him, and if you saw the brief initial interview with Willie as he left the hotel in Anaheim, I don't know how you could call it anything but downright heartbreaking.

Maybe this just feels like the end of an era that once seemed like an empire that would never die; Willie, David, Jose, Pedro, Wags and the Carloses looked like a sure dynasty, and while many of the members of that list may yet see glory, it is now set in stone that things will never happen they way we thought and hoped they would. Jerry Manuel may go on to win us a bundle of championships, and I'm sure that would be as sweet as anything, but for now, things are just off; we were naive in '06 to think that it would all just keep going, the way sports are today, and this is reality. It's the day you and your highschool sweetheart realize you're both going to college.

And I don't want to get in to whether Willie motivated Reyes enough, whether he double-switched appropriately, or any of that. I just feel how I do.

But anyway...
In spite of all that, I'm not quite on board with every sportswriter and their respective mothers with the perception that the Mets handled the whole thing in a "gutless", "classless", "cruel" or "amateur" way. The list could go on, and they're dumping it all on. Initially I thought about it that way, but I actually bought Omar's logic in the press conference, particularly because he seemed very sincere. I can see how he would want him out at the very instant the decision is made for a variety of reason: the risk of leaks, which Omar pounded home a lot, the risk of a manager who nows he's done managing a game, and really, I can see the problem with the mere idea of allowing someone who you've resolved to fire to manage a ballgame. Did the whole thing drag out a bit too publicly over the last couple of weeks? Yes. But to be fair, Omar seemed to take his shots for that, and it is New York. If the thing had been approached the same way in Atlanta, no one would have blinked an eye, which is why it's tough to compare organizations in that way.

I though Omar was pretty darn direct today, and I give him credit for it. I don't think it was all handled splendidly, and obviously I don't agree with the decision at its base, but I'm not gonna linger on the 3:15et/12:15pt am issue.

And whether I think his predecessor should be gone or not, I really liked Jerry Manuel in his portion of the press conference, and apparently, based on what I've read in the various online forums, most Met fans agree with me. I thought he seemed very intelligent, very personable, and most impressively very smooth and comfortable in what was a very uncomfortable situation. His resume isn't incredible, but neither was Joe Torre's, or Terry Francona's. Who knows?

I do agree that if you're gonna bag Willie, someone with a different angle had better come in, but I don't see the whole Manuel is just Willie version 2.0 thing. Why? Because he's a nice, calm, black guy? (And trust me, I'm not playing any race card, I'd be the last person on earth to get PC on you) That's silly; Jerry Manuel struck me as having a very different presence from Willie Randolph, and from what he said, he has a different approach to the subtleties of managing a baseball team.

To sum it all up, I moved 1000 miles away form home, I'm sorry I dissapeared from the blog, I'm sorry Willie's gone, I hope I'm wrong about that, I don't think Omar's evil, I like Manuel even though I wanted Willie to stay, and I hope I'm right about him.

Now go beat the Angels. Let's Go Mets. Geez.

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