Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fire away!

Hands up who didn't see this coming? Thought so.

Hands up who saw it coming after a 9-6 win over the LA Angels? Thought so too.

Bizarre timing is the main topic of discussion among the press after Mets GM Omar Minaya pulled off what the New York Post called a "midnight massacre" with the dismissals of manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto. Erstwhile White Sox skipper Jerry Manuel takes over the 'politans.

Don't expect this to do anything but add fuel to the fire for the "Fire Gibby Firsters." You look at a New York Mets team that is a game below .500 at 34-35, and then across the aisle to a struggling Blue Jays squad at 35-36. Both were expected to compete this year, both are battling the stigma of underachievement that plagued their 2007 campaigns.

Perhaps the most notable difference is that the Mets were actually closer in the early season playoff races than the Blue Jays are. The Mets sit 6.5 games back of NL East-leading Philly, and have won two straight against a first-place AL team, while the Jays sit eight back of the Red Sox and have lost two straight, as well as coming off a series loss to a last-place AL team.

The key difference for the Gibby brigade is that the Jays have not faced anything close to the internal squabbles and conflicts that have made the Mets into an unteneble situation. Billy Wagner criticising his teammates for not speaking to the media, and Randolph's own accusations of racism being the guiding force behind press criticisms of his management didn't exactly make things hunky dory in the clubhouse. Sure, Gibbons has had his spat with Frank Thomas this year, but that's not exactly something G.M. and mastermind J.P. Ricciardi could himself deflect blame for.

But the overall situation is that with Seattle canning Bill Bavasi and now Willie Randolph's forced departure, the argument that it is too early to consider a shakeup will be less and less valuable, and hopefully less prominent as well. The Blue Jays will not look out of character by considering a shakeup at this point, as the floodgates are open.

Get ready for a whole new set of Jays Talk callers, folks.


sager said...

Not Nieto!

There's probably not much equivocation when the manager and two coaches get sacked.

The Beep called it: "Unable or unwilling to undertake a needed rebuilding of their aging roster, the Mets will suffer more disappointment in 2008, only this year it will start on Opening Day."

Willie Randolph wasn't a great manager, but by all acccounts he's considered a classy guy and shouldn't have been the fatted calf in a tabloid feeding frenzy.

Tyler King said...

As unfair as it is, that's the business they know and choose to be involved in.

As they say - you can't fire the players.

sager said...

Yes, they get fired, but the Mets organization comes off very poorly for how it was handled.

They had manager who was going to get fired fly out to the West Coast, manage a game, run the post-game press guantlet, and then the team put out sends out a press release after 3 a.m. Eastern saying he's been fired.

How would you react if, say, Queen's did that to a coach you knew? There's no apples and oranges here because we're still dealing with human beings. Willie Randolph is a man. I hope I never get treated like that, I hope I don't have to treat someone like that.

Tyler King said...

Agree with you totally - I'm just saying this is definitely the business where you're most likely to see that.

There was a New York broadcaster from WFAN on the Bullpen this morning who said he was "ashamed to be a Mets fan today" because of how it was handled.

sager said...

The Tao pointed out the Mets' situation is much different than the Jays'.

(I like their point that people look down on Gibbons since he speaks with that Texas accent ... if you want to hear a bunch of pseudo-intellectual snobbery toward people from flyover country, go read Deus Ex Malcontent.)