I admit, when the Mets are on the west coast, I am perfectly content with finding out the score in the morning. Of course, I usually miss some kind of fireworks (like Oh Pea getting shelled for like 900 runs in 1/3 of an inning), but last night I actually missed a game I could have sat and watched. That said, I was in bed at an early hour, for my road trip to Baltimore this weekend really wiped me out (I'm old, deal with it).
So imagine my surprised while I was visiting some of my go-to in the morning blogs, that I go to find out the score of the game (c'mon BMF - at least give me a teaser in the first sentence on whether the Mets won or not!!) - and I see this:
Mets Name Manuel Interim Manager.
OK, totally not what I would have done. Not at this point. As I have always said, the time to fire Willie would have been at the end of last season. So even though Omar stuck up for him and gave him his backing (I think not as some evil-doer cover-his-ass kind of thing but an Omar loyalty issue) last year and even as much as a couple of weeks ago, I was going to back Willie too. Not because I thought he was the best guy for the job (I truly believe that would be Ken Oberkfell or Wally Backman at this point), but he was OUR guy. He was one of us. He went through the collapse, he was in danger of losing his job while the rest of the world is going through tough economic times. I felt like finally in these last few weeks Willie was one of us.
I know, big change from me - #1 Willie-hater (well, I'm sure I have some competition there, but I was certainly up there).
But the logic in firing Willie now I just don't get. But I can sort of understand it. At the same time, the following logic I do NOT get.
Tom Nieto - gone. As first base coach, what decisions has he made that have impacted the team greatly? As Joe D over at Metsmerized said yesterday, he pats some of the best ass I have ever seen. Very encouraging. Plus, I mean, of course this is just I like Tom Nieto, I've met him a few times and he's very cool. I don't think he did anything to warrant being let go (unless he is one of Willie's guys). I always felt though in the spirit of cleaning house, he should go on principle. But man, he was the last guy in picking-and-choosing I would have chosen.
Rick Peterson - Gone. Soul Glo has come under fire recently for the regression of John Maine (who was one-half of the one-two punch in the Mets pitching staff last year, with Oh Pea), and Oh Pea who has been regressing more and more to his erratic side lately. Also, Mike Pelfrey has been showing that he can come around but rumor had it he responds better to the NO pitching coach -- who I believe was Randy Niemann last year...not the guy who was promoted in RP's place, Dan Warthen. Who's this guy? Apparently he was promoted this year. I would rather have Randy Niemann, who is a no-nonsense old-school pitching guru. But maybe this guy is what we need for now. I'd have rather kept Peterson than that, but whatever.
Again, in the spirit of cleaning house, why on earth wasn't Send-'em-home Sandy let go? He's been responsible for more gaffes this season than I can pinpoint on Willie.
But now that Jerry Manuel has been named interim manager, I wonder if they have told him - you are only here for the rest of the season, you will interview for the job as everyone else would? Because as a result of Manuel's recently vacated position as bench coach, NO manager Ken Oberkfell (who is sort of a cult figure in Mets blog-land) dues have paid off and he will be bench coach with the big club. Halllelujah. About time they have some astute baseball folks up with the big team.
Here are my thoughts on the situation. Personally, I think it stinks that the team waited for the team to be on the road to fire Willie. This situation first off reeks of Wilpon interference. Kind of like the trades of Kris Benson (a good thing) because of his loud-mouthed wife and Lastings Milledge (potentially bad thing) for having a flashy personality plus the blackballing of Wally Backman in the organization, the Wilpons' fingerprints are all over this catastrophe. As much I don't like and didn't like Willie as NY Mets, it was pretty shitty to do things the way they did -- dragging it out, letting things bend in the wind.
Omar Minaya once said that if Willie didn't win, then he (meaning Omar) wasn't doing his job properly. So if anything Omar's loyalty was actually a good thing in this juncture. He wasn't going to make Willie the scapegoat for his short-sightedness.
But I also wonder if the Wilpons have told Omar - get this team ship righted. Otherwise you are next. And fire Willie. We don't need the distractions.
Because, you know, the Mets don't have enough of those these days.
As much as I feel bad for Willie, c'est la vie. He'll get another job, hopefully with the Yankees so he can go home once again.
But don't expect this team to go on a tear. As a poster on BMF said today - it's like starting a fire with a wet paper towel.
Just another routine Mets management jumbling.