Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fire Willie Randolph?

Get serious. Step back for a moment and see what Randolph has done in the past two seasons. He took a losing team and got them above .500 last season and a few outs away from the post-season this year. He did it despite the Wilpons' refusal to show him any respect. Randolph was brought in on the cheap and they acted as if they should be canonized for doing so, they refused to let Randolph name his coaches (which I consider the baseline for respect and the ability for a manager to do his job with confidence -- Randolph got to name one coach and that guy was quickly fired), and the front office brass kept coming into the clubhouse and lending players their ears, whittling away at Randolph's standing with the team to the point where he had to complain about it. (They ignored him.) All this after years of being treated like the token black interview so teams that had no intention of hiring him could claim they spoke with minority candidates. So sure, you could argue Randolph should have refused to sign on without getting to name his coaches (most coaches would resign rather than accept that situation), but after years of being treated with disrespect and seeing his chance to manage slipping away, Randolph clearly felt the need to accept any position, however humiliating. And he succeeded. Steady, major improvement the first two years. Let's see what he does next year. But if this collpase means even less power and control for Randolph (when he should be given more commensurate with a major league manager), they'll just fire him next year and blame him for what can mostly be ascribed to bad deals and weak pitching, even though they forced him to manage with one hand tied behind his back. As the beloved Joe Torre says, it starts with pitching and Randolph didn't have it. Or respect.

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