Mets And Randolph; How Low Could They Sink?

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[Sports And Politics]

It'll be a long, lonely flight home for former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph and deposed coaches Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto.

Like a thief in the night, New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya finally swooped in with his machete and brought Randolph's tenure as the city's first black manager to an end.

Although the move was widely expected, the way in which the Mets went about it demonstrates a disheartening lack of class from an organization that has long battled to shed its second-rate status in New York City.The Mets brass knew full well they were going to make this move on Sunday night after the Mets split a double-header at Shea Stadium against the Texas Rangers. So why would they allow Randolph to fly across the country with the team knowing that his rein was over?

To duck the New York media, that's why.

The team waited until the New York press had gone to bed before announcing Randolph's firing in a press release after 3 a.m. ET, hours after the Mets' 9-6 win over the Angels. The gutless move means New Yorkers will have to wait another day before seeing the blaring back pages of the New York Post and New York Daily News.


Randolph ultimately paid the price for last year's stunning collapse which saw the Mets miss the playoffs after leading NL East by seven games on Sept. 12. But unlike former Yankees manager Joe Torre -- who kept his job after the worst post-season collapse Major League history against the Boston Red Sox -- Randolph lacked the equity that comes with four championships at the helm.

Randolph's foundation was a shaky one -- built around the likes of creaky old veterans like Carlos Delgado, Luis Castillo, and Moises Alou. He paid with his job because their window of opportunity effectively slammed shut during those two fateful weeks last September.

He met this fate because Minaya fell hard for too many seemingly washed-up players like Delgado, Alou, Pedro Martinez, and Orlando Hernandez. He went to the chopping block because Jose Reyes hasn't been who we think he is.

And now with Randolph gone, Minaya's head is the next to head to the chopping block. Minaya bet $138 million of the Wilpon's money that this roster -- which relies too heavily on retreads like Fernando Tatis and Damion Easley -- could contend in the NL East.

Minaya was reluctant to let Randolph go because he knows the Wilpons will have his head next if the Mets don't play up to expectations. Lets see how the Mets handle that one.

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