Since as far as I can tell the only person actually campaigning for Lee Mazzilli to take his rightful place as Mets manager is me – I’d like to thank Bob Raissman for ripping me in today’s News!
Some fans are impatient and want Willie Randolph fired.
When the Mets return to Shea Friday, Willie Randolph might be wondering if he’s checking his team into Shea Stadium or a psychiatric ward.
Or as WFAN’s Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa put it Wednesday afternoon: “Mets fans are nuts.”
Not all of them. Just the impatient, lunatic fringe who, after a grand total of 32 games, and with the Mets a game-and-a-half out of first in the NL East, want Randolph fired. And they already are lining up candidates – such as Lee Mazzilli and the man who invented baseball, Bobby Valentine – to replace him.
Even after the Mets pounded the Dodgers, 12-1, before returning home, the choir was singing off-key.
There’s a blanket excuse regularly provided for these irrational ravings that regularly exit the mouths of first-time callers, long-time morons. Even Mets brass uses it to justify the reaction.
It goes like this: “Mets fans are still upset over the September collapse. They have a hangover. They were hurt and won’t stop hurting until the Mets return to the playoffs.”
The refrain can be heard on an hourly basis. Sounds nice, but it’s a load of …
The same whining. The same micro-managing, and second-guessing, has been going on for years. When things were not going well for the Yankees, some of their fans were just as wacked. It has has more to do with a football mentality, where every game is deemed critical, than it does with those poor oppressed Mets fans who get the shakes when they hear the word “September.”
George Steinbrenner brought this football philosophy to New York baseball. How ironic. Those Mets fans, the same ones who want Randolph fired – now – sound just like The Boss did when he was flying by the seat of his pants, acting on pure emotion, and making horrible decisions.
Having played – and coached – for Mr. Steinbrenner’s organization, Randolph knows frenzy. The stuff Randolph encounters now has a different twist. Much of it is media-based.
Last week, Randolph felt compelled to have a closed-door chat with Billy Wagner following the closer’s criticism of Oliver Perez. This is the same Wagner who has a weekly spot on ESPN-1050. Does anyone really think Randolph is thrilled with Wagner having his own radio platform in addition to the daily forum he has to blow off steam in the Mets’ clubhouse?
A couple of days after last season ended for the Mets, Randolph walked by some writers who were in the clubhouse listening to Paul LoDuca‘s final WFAN spot with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts.
“Is he (LoDuca) throwing me under the bus again?” Randolph jokingly asked the scribes.
Things said in jest are often meant to be serious. Randolph is a serious guy. During the Bronx Zoo days, Randolph, unlike many of his Yankees teammates, kept his business behind closed doors. His philosophy has not changed.
If Randolph has ever heard ESPN-1050’s Wagner promos, where listeners are told to expect high verbal heat – and the unexpected – from the pitcher every week, he likely has cringed. There will come a time this season – perhaps multiple times – when Wagner, like LoDuca, is going to say something on the radio that elevates the level of controversy.
In bizarro Metsworld, words don’t even need to be spoken to spread the insanity through the Valley of the Dumb. And with all these sports TV debate shows, sports talk on radio, satellite radio, newspapers, and all the blogs, there is more impact and the capability of spreading far-reaching lunacy.
On Tuesday, there was a published report claiming Randolph had said playing on the road provided a “welcome refuge” from the negativity of fans who show up at Shea. The official line coming from the Mets was Randolph was “misunderstood.”
According to two sources who were present for the interview, Randolph never said the road was a relief.
“‘Misunderstood’ was a very nice way of saying it,” one mole said. “I don’t know if what was written was misrepresented or just completely misheard, but ‘misunderstood’ is too generous. There is no way Willie said it (what was reported).”
Nonetheless, the “story” set off a chain reaction. Randolph, who never said what he was accused of saying, was ripped by talkies for “whining” about “negative” Mets fans. The rips were accompanied by the always creative and highly perceptive “fans have a right to boo” line.
And in what seemed like high comedy, Benigno, on WFAN, asked Brian Schneider (another Met with a radio gig) to speak about Randolph’s “comments” that “just came out in one of the newspapers.”
Schneider attempted to analyze what Randolph “said” and wound up explaining the reason why he and some of his teammates actually like playing at home.
“There’s nothing better than playing at home for me,” Schneider said, “because you get to sleep in your own bed.”
No doubt at that very moment, someone in radio wasteland was blaming Willie Randolph for not checking the mattresses.