The New York Mets Should Have Fired Willie Randolph Earlier

Rich SteinContributor IJune 18, 2008

Mets’ fans will have to bear with me for a moment here, but I want to take you back to the day that Willie Randolph's job should have come into question. That day is Sept. 16, 2007. 

Some of you diehards are already cringing. This is the day that the Mets dropped the third of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

On that day, the Mets took their ridiculous lead in the NL East and began the two week process of handing the Phillies the division on a silver platter. 

On September 30, just 14 days later, a loss to the Florida Marlins on the last day of the season would seal the Mets’ fate.

Why am I bringing up the past? Why am I rehashing the demons that plague Mets’ fans constantly? Because this is when Willie Randolph should have been let go as the Mets’ skipper.

New York was shaken up at the end of last season when the Mets missed the playoffs and the Yankees were ousted by Cleveland in four games. What ensued was a wild summer, which saw Joe Torre and Don Mattingly go to Los Angeles, and then saw Johan Santana come to New York.

Mets fans were excited to see the Yankees make such an egregious error, and were excited about bringing another ace to the staff.

But it wasn't enough.

The Mets soon found themselves without (auxiliary aces) Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Martinez, and they began rotating pitchers in from the AAA club in New Orleans. 

The Mets needed their offense to pick up the pace to keep their team at the top of the NL East, as they were predicted to do.

We all know what happened. The Mets’ skid that began in mid-September of last year has continued, despite the addition of Santana. 

The Mets’ lineup is a dazzling list of All Stars. Wright, Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, and Santana are all at the top of their game, but still the Mets struggle. 

This is a team that proved they could play together during most of the 2007 season, but now barely manage to stay within a game of .500.

When you have a team that is full of All Stars, and you can't stay over 50 percent of your games, you have what I like to refer to as New York City Syndrome. This is when sports teams (I'm looking at you Yankees and Rangers) pay big money for top players and then fail to win championships. 

The city's fans demand that heads roll when this happens. Those heads usually belong to managers and coaches.

Will firing Randolph midseason help? No.

It takes time for a new manager to get adjusted and for a team to change to a new system. The Mets will finish in the middle of the NL East this season, and then the search for a full-time replacement can begin. 

A new offseason will get the Mets in shape, and all we can hope for is that the 2009 season will be better.

My prediction: Expect to see more Mets leave New York before the season ends.