Goodbye, Willie

Pax Arcana

Baseball at its best is a flowing symphony of balletic swings and synchronized motion. Baseball at its worst is an awkward duck flying in a windstorm. Somewhere in the middle are the Mets.

The New York Mets, official ball club of Pax Arcana, spent roughly $600 billion on players over the past few years — the bulk of it on proven veterans with track records of late-season success. Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Moises Alou, and Carlos Delgado are the most prominent members of that group, though solid veteran players like Ryan Church, Luis Castillo, and even Ramon Castro were expected to at least continue their solid play. Homegrown stars Jose Reyes and David Wright are getting paid commensurate with their career performances, which have thus far been stellar.

Obviously the last 17 games of the 2007 season didn’t work out quite the way the Mets wanted. They blew a 7-game lead in the N.L. East and missed the playoffs. With the addition of Johan Santana this year, the Mets looked to turn that all around.

They didn’t. They are currently 34-35 (which is, I’ll remind you, a perfectly respectable record for any team not named the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets). So they fired manager Willie Randolph.

I always liked Willie Randolph, even when he played for the Yankees [/ducks steak bomb hurled by guy in Dropkick Murphys shirt]. And I find it hard to believe that the Mets problems are his fault.

For one thing, everybody’s hurt. Church, Alou, Castro, Delgado, Martinez, Castillo, Brian Schneider, and Angel Pagan all have spent serious time on the DL this season. Castillo had double knee surgery, Martinez missed the first two MONTHS of the season, and Church has suffered multiple concussions and says he can’t see the ball anymore. Delgado and Alou are both suffering from acute olditis.

A lot of the sports bloviators are making a big deal about the timing of the firing. The Mets canned Randolph at 3 a.m. EST after a pretty big win over the Angels out in Anaheim. I say for $2 million a year you can expect a bit of inconvenience.

And you can expect to be blamed for something that’s probably not your fault.

Mets fire Willie Randolph [NY Daily News]


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