Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Angels 6 Mets 1

Update: First game of the post-Willie Randolph Mets. 3 errors, poor pitching, a Jose Reyes tantrum. Welcome, Charlie Manuel.

Jill goes into Willie's firing in more depth.

Willie probably had two defining managerial lessons. The first was the insane Yankee clubhouses of the 70's where he learned that it's possible to win & still be a bunch of miserable wretches. The other was working for philosophical Joe Torre when Steinbrenner stayed in the background & the Yanks were blessed with some steadying personalities & the glue of Jeter & Rivera. But he had no managerial experience at any level when he took over the Mets, in the toughest town in baseball. His marching orders in 2005 were in effect "Do what you can this year, but you gotta win the Pennant next year." He had interviewed many times to manage smaller market teams, was never hired, & we did wonder why he never got the jobs. Willie had problems finding a balance between handling the "kids" & dealing with the old pros. Maybe he just expected them to go out & play like he always had. How do you handle Jose Reyes when whatever you do may have the opposite of the intended effect? How do you convince Carlos Beltran he could be the King of Queens if he just showed some consistancy? How do you make John Wagner shut up? How do you manage a team to win a game 3-2 rather than lose it 2-1? Or win it 9-8 rather than come up short at 8-7? Which is how the Mets have been losing more than they've been winning. It's tempting to imagine Lou Piniella in a Mets uniform, screaming, sulking, kicking dirt, ripping up third base & heaving it into left field, that a hotter personality might have animated this collection of ballplayers into creating some magic. I doubt it. There's a lot more wrong with the Mets organization than Willie Randolph. He may be the least of the problems.

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Now that Mike Piazza is retired, maybe he'll have a future in coaching.
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