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Tag:Willie Randolph
Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:07 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 12:16 pm
 

Only the Mets

Only the Mets, right?

Only the Mets could have a player arrested in the clubhouse, after a fight with his father-in-law -- in the team's family room, in front of his teammates' wives and children!

Only the Mets could have their manager tell reporters that he'd definitely use Francisco Rodriguez to close today's game against the Rockies -- if Rodriguez gets back from court in time -- after his morning arraignment! Of course, about an hour after Manuel said that, the Mets announced that Rodriguez has been placed on the restricted list for two days, meaning he can't pitch, they won't pay him and they have a couple more days to figure out what to do next.

No, it's not funny when a family dispute gets so heated that someone (Rodriguez's father-in-law, in this case) needs treatment at a hospital. But it sure is Mets-like.

Is there any team in baseball that has embarrassed itself more over the last four years?

I'm sure I'm missing something, but here's the list:

1. The collapse. On Sept. 12, 2007, the Mets held a seven-game lead over the Phillies with just 17 games to play. They went 5-12 the rest of the way, and the Phillies won the division by one game.

2. The concussion. After outfielder Ryan Church suffered his second concussion in three months, the Mets allowed him to fly with the team from Atlanta to Colorado. The Mets later admitted this was a bad idea.

3. The firing. After going back and forth on whether to dump manager Willie Randolph, the Mets had Randolph fly to California with the team in June 2008. Then, two hours after the first game of the trip, the Mets announced that they had fired Randolph -- at 3:12 a.m. New York time.

3. The collapse, part II. In September 2008, the Mets didn't lead by seven games, but they did lead the division by half a game on Sept. 19, and led the wild-card race by 2 1/2 games the next day. They lost six of their last nine games, lost the division to the Phillies and lost the wild card to the Brewers on the final day of the season -- in the final game ever at Shea Stadium. Oh, and the Mets scheduled their Shea Goodbye ceremony for after the final game, when there was nothing to celebrate.

4. The press conference. First there were the stories about assistant general manager Tony Bernazard allegedly taking his shirt off and challenging Mets minor leaguers to a fight. And there were stories about Bernazard allegedly fighting with Rodriguez on a team flight. Then, when the Mets fired Bernazard, they somehow made things worse and more embarrassing. On live television -- on Mets-owned SNY -- Minaya accused New York Daily News reporter Adam Rubin of campaigning for a job with the team. To make things even more complicated, and more embarrassing, Rubin worked part-time for SNY, and in fact it was an appearance on SNY before the press conference that reportedly set Minaya off.

5. The surgery. This January, the Mets picked a fight with their most talented player, complaining publicly about the timing of center fielder Carlos Beltran's knee surgery. The Mets claimed they didn't know Beltran was having surgery. Beltran's agent, Scott Boras, said he had told them.

6. The Maine problem. Convinced that starter John Maine had a physical problem that was causing him to lose velocity, Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen made the decision to remove Maine from a start in Washington after just five pitches. Warthen later told reporters that Maine is "a habitual liar in a lot of ways as far as his own health." Maine had an angry exchange with Warthen on the Mets' flight home that night. He never pitched in another game for the Mets, and recently had season-ending shoulder surgery.

7. The bullpen fight. During a game against the Yankees that same week, Rodriguez and bullpen coach Randy Niemann got in what The New York Times described as "a heated confrontation" in the bullpen, in view of fans. Niemann later took responsibility.

8. The arrest. According to Kevin Burkhardt of SNY, Rodriguez went directly to the family room after Wednesday night's 6-2 Mets loss to the Rockies. While there, he apparently got into an argument with his wife, and when his father-in-law stepped in, the confrontation got physical. Rodriguez's father-in-law was taken to a local hospital. Rodriguez was arrested.

There's more. Those are just the highlights. Or the lowlights.

Only the Mets.


Posted on: June 24, 2008 7:48 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2008 7:50 pm
 

Friends don't let friends ... win games?

Jim Leyland hates managing against his friends, because either you lose or they do. Dusty Baker says the same thing.

"You'd rather manage against adversaries," the Reds manager said today. "It's more fun."

As it turns out, though, there are a whole bunch of friendly matchups around the majors this week. Leyland against Tony La Russa. Baker against Cito Gaston. Bobby Cox against Ned Yost. Cox against Gaston.

Leyland worked for La Russa in Chicago, and worked with him in St. Louis. Yost worked for Cox in Atlanta. Gaston played with Cox, played for him and then coached under him in Toronto. Gaston and Baker were teammates when Baker broke into pro ball in Austin, Texas, in 1967.

"My first game was in Little Rock, and I dropped a fly ball," Baker said. "I cried, and I said I was going home. Cito said, "Don't worry, kid, I'll take care of you. . . . He helped raise me in the game."

So how does Gaston feel about facing both Baker and Cox in his first week back on the job? He doesn't mind it. He has no problem facing his friends.

"I've always felt that if someone's going to lose, let them lose," he said.

*****

Tonight's A.J. Burnett-Bronson Arroyo matchup didn't attract any special-assignment scouts to the Rogers Center, something of a surprise since both starters are candidates to get traded.

While the Jays are willing to move Burnett, they're said to be setting their sights high, looking for an established outfielder (preferably left-handed hitting) in return.

As for Arroyo, it's just as well for him and for the Reds that no scouts were here. He didn't record an out in the second inning and left trailing, 9-1, after the shortest start of his career.

*****

Atlanta advance scout Bobby Wine was at the game, because the Braves play the Blue Jays this weekend. Wine was just happy to be somewhere where a manager isn't about to be fired.

"I was in New York the weekend before Willie (Randolph) got fired," Wine said. "Then I was in Seattle for (John) McLaren's last game. Then I was in Milwaukee for (John) Gibbons' last game (with Toronto). Holy cow, I'm like a black cat."

*****

You've seen the numbers that show the American League is once again dominating the National League in interleague play. The difference between the two leagues isn't lost on the players.

"We know what we're capable of doing against the National League teams," Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels said, after the Phils lost five straight to the Red Sox and Angels.

Did he mean that the Red Sox and Angels are better than any NL teams?

"Hands down," Hamels said. "They're a lot better than the NL teams. Even playing in an NL park."

Posted on: June 20, 2008 3:06 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2008 3:08 pm
 

Cito returns

Cito Gaston was the perfect manager for the Blue Jays of the early 1990s, and he never received enough credit for winning back-to-back World Series. He should have gotten another job after the Jays fired him with five games left in the 1997 season.

Now he has. Or rather, now he's gotten his old job back.

And now I can't help but think it's not going to work out.

These aren't the Jays of the early 1990s, a team that was ready to win and needed a manager who would take away the pressure and just let great players play. Gaston was criticized because he didn't make many moves, but with the team he had then, that was his strength. The players knew what to expect, and they went out and performed.

This team is different. There's no Joe Carter, no Roberto Alomar. The Jays can wear those old-time uniforms every day, rather than just on home Fridays, but it's just not going to be the same.

Just as with Willie Randolph and John McLaren, the first two victims in this bloody week for big-league managers, it's hard to make the case that John Gibbons should have kept his job. I never bought the Jays as a threat to win the American League East (not with that lineup), but with a 35-39 record and 13 losses in the last 17 games, they're underachieving.

It's hardly a shock that they made a change, and it won't be a shock if general manager J.P. Ricciardi follows Gibbons out the door (especially after the mess he made with his Adam Dunn comments this week).

No, the question is whether Cito Gaston is as right for the Blue Jays now as he was almost two decades ago.

It's hard to believe he is.

There have been rumblings that general manager J.P. Ricciardi is in trouble

Posted on: June 17, 2008 9:21 am
 

What a Mets mess

It was time for the Mets to finally make their decision on Willie Randolph -- but not like this.

It had reached the point where the Mets really couldn't avoid firing Willie Randolph -- but not like this.

You wondered how the Willie saga could get worse. Well, it got worse, and now this is Omar Minaya's legacy with the Mets.

When Minaya himself gets fired -- and doesn't that seem all the more inevitable now? -- the secretive cross-country flight and post-midnight massacre will be the way he's remembered. The Mets GM made a move he was totally justified in making, and yet he did it in a way that made him look indecisive and undignified at the same time.

Minaya has to be fearing for his own job, and not just because the Mariners reminded us Monday that general managers also take the blame when overpaid teams underachieve. Mets ownership can't be happy with the way their team is being ripped this morning.

Is ownership at fault, too? Of course, but that doesn't matter. Owners don't get fired.

Managers do, especially managers who watch their team blow a seven-game lead with 17 games to play. The Mets could have fired Randolph on that evidence alone, and a baseball man who knows MInaya well told me that the GM wanted to do exactly that. The owners, who had just given Randolph a contract extension, apparently said no.

Too bad they did, for all involved. The Mets could have avoided the mess they made over the last couple of weeks.

And it is a mess, a bigger mess today than it was yesterday. And that hardly seems possible.

Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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