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A Post About Baseball; It's Been A While

The other day I was reading the New Yorker, which I do when I exercise, and I came across an amusing cartoon.  It shows a pitcher and catcher talking on the pitcher's mound in the middle of a game in front of a stadium full of fans.  The pitcher is saying, "I'm sure I could keep my slider down if they'd just fire the manager."  Got me thinking.

I haven't posted anything about baseball pretty much all season long, mostly because I've been so disappointed in my Mets.  The firing of their manager, Willie Randolph, a few weeks ago saddened me even more.  Now before this becomes a big "thing", I'm not saying that I don't think they should have fired Willie.  I'm not saying that I agree with the firing either.  I'm not sure one way or the other.  The team has played well for interim manager Jerry Manuel, a guy I've always thought was a decent coach and manager.  And I think that Willie himself had become a distraction for the team, simply because after last season's September collapse and this year's poor start, he was a marked man.  On the other hand, I think that the team played poorly at the end of last year and the first half of this season not because Willie managed them poorly, but because their starting pitching was shaky, their middle relief has never regained the form it showed in 2006, and Billy Wagner always seems to be one pitch away from disaster.

Randolph has always been a class act.  He was a terrific second baseman for the Yankees during their late-seventies glory days.  He was solid if not spectacular in the field, he could steal a base, he had great strike-zone judgment, and he came through with a good many clutch hits throughout his career.   He has long been an intelligent and insightful student of the game and was a key member of Joe Torre's staff during the best years of Torre's tenure as Yankee manager.  I'm sad for him, and I hope he finds a new position soon.  He's too good a manager not to be running someone's team.

Here's hoping as well that the Mets perform to their full potential during the second half of the season.  They're only a few games out of first, and with Reyes, Beltran, and Wright playing well, and Carlos Delgado poised for a big second half, they could make a run at the playoffs.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ebenstone
Jul. 10th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
It wasn't all Willie's fault but I had some issues with the way he dealt with the pitching staff. He was too quick with the hook sometimes!
davidbcoe
Jul. 11th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
Agreed. I think that the bullpen failures at the end of last year had something to do with his overuse of the middle relievers during the summer.
kmarkhoover
Jul. 10th, 2008 09:49 am (UTC)
How has the team performed after Randolph's firing? I don't keep up with the Mets since we know the only real baseball team worth following is the Chicago Cubs....

Go Cubbies!!
davidbcoe
Jul. 11th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
Cubbies are having a heck of a year. Somewhere Harry Carey is smiling....

The team has been performing well for Jerry Manuel, especially lately. They've won six in a row to bring their recond under Manuel to 14-9. They were 34-35 under Randolph this year. From that perspective it looks like a good move, and I think in part they've improved because the distraction of the "What's going to happen to Randolph?" speculation is gone. They've got a good team, particularly their everyday lineup. All the question marks involve their pitching. They're going to win a lot of 10-8 games....
mindyklasky
Jul. 10th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
I don't have a horse in the "Was Willie a good manager" race, but I thought that management handled his firing *very* poorly. Stranding the guy in California, after a pair of wins? Low class....
davidbcoe
Jul. 11th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
I agree with this, too. There's a right way to let a manager go and a wrong way. Leave it to the Mets to find the latter.

Thanks for the comment, Mindy.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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