I don’t think Willie Randolph’s players hate him. That is not the sense you get around the team. But what you sense is perhaps just as damaging. There is indifference about him. There is not a wholehearted disrespect, but critically there is not respect either. Not hate, but not love. And this is bad for Randolph. Because as I wrote in today’s Post, his job is clearly on the line. And at a moment like this, you would want your players invested in you. You would want your players at heighten concentration and effort levels.
Randolph, however, has been unable for a while now to get consistency in those areas. Maybe nobody can. Maybe there just are too many low-pulse players on this team. The problem is that the first in the firing line is not presently the man who assembled this group (Omar Minaya) or the people who pay the players (the Wilpons). It is Randolph. The fans don’t like this team and the media has picked up on that plus the uncomfortable environment that exists in the Met clubhouse. And the Wilpons are very susceptible to fan and media choruses. That is why Willie is in big trouble. And that is why if players in that clubhouse actually do like and/or respect Randolph, they better find another gear now, this weekend, the Subway Series. There might be a lot of tomorrows for the 2008 season. There are not going to be too many more as Met manager for Randolph unless the attitude and results begin to change swiftly.