It’s been quite the day for the New York Mets. I can’t remember the last time there was so much embarrassment associated with the Mets, oh wait, yes I can, it was after the historic collapse last season. Since that fateful day, the Mets have continued to significantly under perform, so much so that it warranted, according to many, the dismissal of manager Willie Randolph. One thing is for sure; the Willie Randolph era has ended and the Jerry Manuel era has begun. Will this transition spark a change in the team’s play? We’ll have to wait and see.
For the Mets front office, this was not a good day. Since the news broke just after 3 AM Eastern time, the Mets have been crucified by the media, both in New York and across the nation. The consensus is that the Wilpons and Omar Minaya screwed up big time, although writers differ on who to place blame. Matt Cerone of MetsBlog, whose opinion I respect a lot, argues that the harsh media reaction was not justified. Matt and I were both on the “Keep Willie” side of the divide, for the record.
But I’m going to have to diverge from his opinion on this matter. Sorry, but when the sport’s most respectable and knowledgeable writers unanimously criticize the Mets management for how they handled this issue, it’s tough to argue against their stance. Among the harsh critiques I agree with are those by Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, and Jon Heyman. I won’t even go into the response in New York, but it’s also very, very harsh on the Mets.
Today, as much as it pains me to say, I’m embarrassed to be a fan of the New York Mets. I, like so many other fans, invest so much time, so much energy, and so much money into this team only to be disappointed again and again. Sure, so many of us clamored for the dismissal of Willie Randolph this season. But for the Mets to fire Willie in this fashion is simply unacceptable. I don’t know if Jerry Manuel is going to be able to turn this mess around, but I seriously doubt it. Nothing about this team convinces me that they’re a contender this season. Sure, the team is much the same as for the past two years. That’s not a good thing, though. Two years older, two years farther past it’s prime, two years too late. I’m not only sticking with my call for the Wilpons to fire Omar Minaya, I’m amplifying it. Of course, the Wilpons just botched one firing, so I have no faith that they’ll act appropriately in another.
Like I said, this has been a terrible day to be a Mets fan. I don’t think it’s dramatic to say that it gets harder and harder for me to defend this team as I get older.