Much has been made about the 35-minute team meeting the Mets had on Friday. I mentioned it in my State Of The Union Address on Sunday, and it certainly paid dividends in the boys' weekend series against the New York Yankees.
The meeting was classified as a "closed-door affair", but I happened to sneak past security and hid in the locker room during the conversation.
Tape recorder handy, I recorded the entire thing. What follows is the official transcript of my recording.
Willie Randolph: Ok guys, bring it in. I think we need to have a team meeting.
The team pulls their chairs toward the middle of the clubhouse and takes a seat.
Randolph: I wanted to get all you guys together to talk about what's been going on. The talk radio shows say we have clubhouse turmoil, and that we're not performing to our potential. I don't think that's the case at all. You guys are all great players, and I don't care how badly you play, I'm not going to bench a single one of you. Heck, you veterans could go zero for the next three months and you'll be out there every day. Why? Because that's the way Joe Torre did it, that's why! It worked for him, he won four World Series rings. Never mind the fact he was doing it with guys like Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada—that doesn't matter. What matters is it's the Yankee way, and that's the way we're going to do it, because we're the freaking New York Yankees!
David Wright: Uh, coach, we're the Mets.
Randolph: (Looking flabbergasted) Really? Wow, could have fooled me! I didn't mean anything by that guys, I don't fantasize about being the Yankees manager at all, not even during games when I should be arguing calls so my bench coach doesn't have to get thrown out.
Jerry Manuel: Somebody has to do it.
Billy Wagner: Coach, I'd like to say something if that's alright.
Randolph: F***in' SHOCKER! Just kidding Billy, go ahead.
Wagner: I just wanted to apologize to everyone for the comments I made to the media. I was just upset because they always come to me for quotes, and I don't understand why they do that when I didn't even play in the game. It wasn't meant towards anyone in particular and if anybody took it that way, I'm sorry.
Randolph: Nice, Billy. I'm sure nobody took it that way.
Wagner: Actually, I can't lie. It was absolutely meant towards specific people, and you know who you are. Yea, I'm talking to the 37 Carlos' we have on this team.
Randolph: There's only two, Billy.
Wagner: Whatever. Would it kill you guys to stick around for more than three minutes after we lose to answer questions so David Wright and I don't have to stand there and get roasted like it's a dang Comedy Central Special? Yea, I know, you guys aren't comfortable speaking English. Give me a break. You guys can tell your life story in English when you go 3-3 and we win 5-0. But as soon as you guys are faced with some confrontation, it's no habla ingles.
Carlos Delgado: I take offense to that.
Wagner: I'm sure you do. Your English seems fine when you hit a homer in the game, buddy. Just stay longer and answer their questions, please. It's not too much to ask. All the other guys on the team are tired of it.
Carlos Beltran: Hey man, I answer their questions too.
Wagner: Get a load of this guy! Mr. "We're the team to beat"!! Really backing that up with that hot April huh big guy? I know, I know, your right pinky toe's had a hangnail for a while, so that really affected your swing. I get it. What I said to him goes double for you. And do me a favor, do something with your hair. You look like a 15 year old kid who wanted to be cool and bleach his hair, but had no idea what he was doing so he turned it orange.
Randolph: Billy, this wasn't the purpose of the meeting. We're trying to resolve everything, not anger everybody.
Wagner: Ok, ok. I'm sorry. You know I'm an opinionated guy, I just love hearing myself talk. It's a curse. That's why I do all the radio shows and give all those quotes, I just love talking. At least I back it up on the field, though.
Aaron Heilman: Oh really? Mr. "I've got something to say about everything, but fold in September like a cheap suite?" Hey, Billy, I know you've been great this season, but how bout that Houdini you pulled down the stretch last year? I know, you had a "dead arm". You throw 70 INNINGS A YEAR. Come on, man. Leave everybody alone.
Wagner: This guy wants to go now? Every time you come into a game it's an automatic loss. Then you walk off the mound, and sit in the dugout looking like a high school kid who just found out he got his girlfriend pregnant. You know, that patented Aaron Heilman "I can't believe this happened to me" look. Try not giving up seven runs in an outing, then you can come at me.
Oliver Perez: Come on guys, stop this. We're way too good a team to be doing this to each other.
Wagner: Here we go. Look who's decided to join the party. Ollie, you got lit up like a Christmas tree by the PIRATES. You're like herpes man: we think we've got you under control and pitching consistently, and then BOOM! You have an outbreak of utter stupidity. I'm not going to listen to a word you say.
Randolph: Billy, that's enough. I will not tolerate you talking to your teammates like this.
Wagner: Somebody has to say it, skip, and we sure as heck know it's not going to be you. You'll play these guys until we go 0-162; they all know you're not going to bench them. Hey, Castillo, you haven't been talking much over there. What do you have to say?
Louis Castillo: I'm just trying to fade into the background, and pick up my paychecks wearing a ski mask, because god knows I'm the most overpaid player on the team. Even I'm embarrassed. Oh well, Omar's my boy. You know he's going to help a fellow Latin brother out. Three and a half more years, baby!
Wagner: Beautiful. This is what I mean, skip. Louis looks like he's a 70 year old man when he runs, but you don't sit him down. Alou comes back from the 47 millionth injury he's had in two years, and boom he's back in the lineup.
Angel Pagan: Yea, that wasn't too cool, coach.
Randolph: I know, Angel, but you know my policy: If you've played more than five years in the majors, I'm going to play you. It doesn't matter how poorly you're playing, you'll never sit. That's just the way I do things.
Jose Reyes: We know coach. And personally I think it's awesome. How else could I coast for the last year, swing at balls above my eyes, and have a lower on base percentage than Carlos Zambrano and still play every day? Keep up the good work coach, you're really getting through to me!
Randolph: See? And who says we don't have a connection?!
Ryan Church: I don't think these things apply to some guys on this team. This stuff never happened last year in Washington.
Brian Schneider: You said it, Churchy. That was because we had Manny Acta at the helm, you know, the guy the Wilpons REALLY want managing this team.
Randolph: Hey now, you guys are new you don't know what's it's like around here. How come Johan doesn't feel the same?
Johan Santana: I'm getting paid over 150 million dollars to play once every five days. You think I care about any of this stuff?
Randolph: Good point. Come on, there's gotta be SOMEBODY who's got something productive to say.
David Wright: I do, coach.
Randolph: By all means, go ahead David.
David Wright: Guys, we have an unbelievable team here. We'll be an even better team if Pedro can pitch more than 12 innings this year. We're a freakin' All-Star team. We've got pitching, defense and a good bullpen. And our offense could be an American League squad. Not to mention our bench. They haven't said anything, because they're the best part of this team right now.
Damion Easely, Marlon Anderson: (Simultaneously) YEA! 'Bout time somebody noticed!
Wright: I love this team, and I love all you guys. We can be a great team, we just have to play with the fire I play with every single night. I want to see guys pumping their fists, hustling, and caring about the game. Heck, even if you don't, just ACT like you do. Just try it for one game. Let's put all this stupid stuff behind us. Just do all those things tomorrow against the Yankees, and if it doesn't work, we'll go back to the drawing board.
Randolph: Well said, David. You're a true leader, heck, you should probably be managing this team with speeches like that.
Wright: Don't worry, skip, I practically already am.
Randolph: So what does everybody think? Let's go out there tomorrow, put all of this stuff behind us and take it to them!
Randolph: Ok! I think this meeting's really helped clear the air. If anybody needs me, I'll be in my office planning my assassination of Joe Girardi. They've gotta give me the job then!
The team erupts and high-fives each other as they huddle up.
David Wright: Mets on three! One! Two! Three!