Fred Wilpon's Apology Comes Too Late For Willie Randolph
Mets Owner Fred Wilpon apologized for the way General Manager Omar Minaya handled the firing of former manager Willie Randolph.
Already 32 games into Jerry Manuel's tenure as Mets interim manager, Wilpon said that he met with Minaya to find out when Minaya would fire Randolph. When Minaya said he would fire Randolph after the Mets' June 16 game against the Angels, Wilpon said nothing to detract him.
As a result, the firing occurred after the game, a 9-6 win over the Angels. The game, on the West Coast, lasted three hours and ten minutes. Already considered a late game for most newspapers in the Eastern time zone, Minaya waited until close to midnight on the west coast to fire Randolph. The firing went public at 3:18 am, June 17, back in New York.
A few weeks of backlash ensued against the Mets front office, especially geared toward Minaya and Wilpon. Many criticized them, saying that Willie deserved better than to be fired in the early hours of the morning after a game the Mets had won.
32 games and 38 calendar days later Wilpon admits he made a mistake.
Many things have changed in little more than a month. The Mets have gone from fourth place in the NL East to having sole possession of first after today's matinee win over the Phillies. The pitching staff has shown great improvement and the offense is more consistent than they were the first half of the season. The team shows more life when they seem to be out of the game.
Whether or not the firing of Willie Randolph and two coaches (including pitching coach Rick Peterson) is the cause of the team's resurgence is not the issue. The fact still remains that Wilpon decided to admit his mistake now, when his Mets are playing like a good, if not dangerous, team heading into the last sixty games of the season.
Willie Randolph, you deserve better.
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