May 19, 2008

Willie- PLEASE Don't Do This!!!!

Ian O'Connor at North Jersey writes about Willie Randolph and his reactions to the media and SNY production:

The Mets were about to pound the Yanks by an 11-2 count, and Randolph was working himself into a lather, preparing for a bigger-picture fight. He was defending his style of leadership, criticizing the Mets' own network, SNY, for framing an incomplete portrait of that style, and wondering if the color of his skin contributed to the perception that he's a manager who doesn't have ample control of his team.

"Is it racial?" Randolph asked. "Huh? It smells a little bit."

Asked directly if he believes black managers are held to different standards than their white counterparts, Randolph said: "I don't know how to put my finger on it, but I think there's something there. Herman Edwards did pretty well here and he won a couple of playoff [games], and they were pretty hard on Herm. Isiah [Thomas] didn't do a great job, but they beat up Isiah pretty good. ... I don't know if people are used to a certain figurehead. There's something weird about it.

"I think it's very important ... that I handle myself in a way that the [African-American managers] coming behind me will get the opportunities, too ... ."

Come on Willie... There is no reason why you should have pulled that card out of the deck. I know that us fans aren't trying to push you out of office because of the color of your skin. If last season had a color, then it would have been green, for the way it tied my stomach in knots and made me feel like throwing up! Besides that color, come on man. Look at the whole team. Does he think we want Santana, Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, Pedro and others off the team because of their skin color?

EDITOR'S NOTE - From David: I was hoping, no, praying, that it wouldn't come down to this, to making this about race. I am only speaking for myself right now, though I may as well be speaking for Jonathan and John, whom I know will agree with what I am about to say, just as we agreed with what John posted above. We are New Yorkers- whether we live there now, or were raised there, and that means that things like judging people by "color" or "nationality" are reserved for the very small minority, as the majority of us are, indeed, minorities of one kind or another ourselves. Willie Randolph, in spite of what you think about his management style and success, has long been a great role model in the game, not just for African-Americans, but for baseball fans, period; for Americans, period! He's someone who worked very hard to get where he is, and hasn't forgotten what it took to get him there! His foundation, in addition to the many other things he's involved in, shows this involvement each and every day! I personally loved his style of play as a Yankee, as I've said many, many times on this blog, and he is one of a handful of Yankees' that I actually could say I loved as players, a notch below my love for Mets' players themselves. When he became a Met, at the end of his career, it was a great moment, and I remember talking to Jonathan about it, and we thought it was a great move, as Willie could be like a manager on the field. When he was hired as our manager, we also thought it was a great move - never because of his "skin color," only because of what we felt he'd accomplish on the field. Let's see- on the walls above my desk are autographs of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Oscar Robertson, Willie Mays, Gary Carter, Tom Seaver, Pedro Martinez, Mike Bossy, Ted Williams- to name but a few- and you know what they ALL have in common? They were all great ballplayers that I've admired, and they are all part of my life in one way or another- some due to personal circumstances, most due to being a fan of their talents and achievements; the one thing they all have in common is that they wear a uniform! If anything, perhaps one might say that we're prejudiced against a uniform, be it Phillies, Braves or Yankees- and that, I would summize, is allowable in the world of fandom that we exist within. However, since Willie has worn the orange and blue, I'd say that the vast majority of Mets' fans (outside of the vocal few who seem to embarass any team in spite of everyone's good intentions) have accepted and embraced him as our manager- until the collapse of 2007. Willie is viewed by the vast majority of Mets' fans based on his contributions on the field, as manager of this ballclub, within the context of "wins and losses" and, for the most part, nothing more. I urge everyone in the media, whether you post on a blog, leave comments on a blog, write for a newspaper, broadcast for a network, or simply read/view one of those, to judge Willie simply on the merits of his on-field accomplishments as a manager with this ballclub. Taken by just those standards, especially from this point last season until now, his work so far is no better than that of Art Howe, another manager who was firmly on the hot seat as well.

Finally, we're also assuming that what was written in the article was 100% accurate, and having read O'Connor's work, I have no reason to assume that it's not. The one area where I'm willing to give a measure of doubt is tone- things like sarcasm, humor, etc., don't often translate well to the written word- I'm sure each of you have misread emails in your lives! However, comparing himself to the likes of Isiah Thomas and Herm Edwards is ridiculous- why didn't he throw Ray Handley, Bruce Coslet, Rich Kotite, Art Howe, Dallas Green, Jeff Torborg and, prior to the Super Bowl, Tom Coughlin? They received a hard drumming on their way out of town- and that, in essence, is what it means to manage/coach in ole NY - it's not about race, it's about victories!

We're going to try not to post any additional issues about "race" on this blog, just as we've stayed away from the ignorant comments regarding the international make-up of this club in years past; we urge everyone else, including Willie, to keep this about baseball, and nothing else! The best thing that could happen would be for the Mets to go on a winning streak, go 12-2 over the next 14 games or so, and let the talk of Willie's managerial demise subside. It's amazing what a nice win streak can do, and perhaps it will make this again about what we're here to discuss in the first place- BASEBALL!!!!


Anonymous said...

I just read your post, and O'Connor's article, and I have to say that this smells like desperation on Willie's part. I was born here, but am of Puerto Rican heritage, and have loved baseball since I was a little kid. My dad moved here a year before the Mets began, and they've been his team ever since. My favorite players growing up were Cleon Jones, Jon Matlack, Darrly Strawberry, Al Leiter, John Franco, Mike Piazza, Pedro and Carlos Beltran - not for their color, only for their play, both what they did, and what I HOPED they'd do. Didn't always get it, but that's why there are 30 teams competing each year. Willie, don't do the whole "race" thing- it minimizes what you stand for, your long list of off-field contributions and makes it easier for everyone to use whatever differences they possess as an excuse for their lack of success. The color of your skin didn't lose last season; the latin heritage of a majority of your players didn't lose last season; not playing up to expectations lost, and that is something that knows no color. As David said- win games, please, and let's all get past this...that darn Rodney King line keeps popping up in my head- "why can't we all just get along..."

Anonymous said...

I was born in Brownsville, like Willie, and have been a Mets fan all my life. It's not about race, Willie - it's about winning. Show everyone- win more games, inspire your players like I know you can, and be the manager that you already are as a man. You can do it- and don't make excuses, you're better than that!

Anonymous said...

Willie can only and must only be judged on the merits of the job he has done on the field. I think the majority of us do exactly that, and I agree- there's just no call for this, just as there's no call for fans to call out latin players and saying there are too many of them on this team, as who says what constitutes "too many." Willie can't manage this team, Willie gets fired- no if and or but.

Anonymous said...

Baseball should be the great uniter, not the great divider. Willie was just angry- he's been a uniter forever, and he's just under the gun like he's never been before. Let's give him a chance to finish up the season and see what he can do- and if we don't win, he's out based on merit and nothing else. I think that's what everyone's saying, and Willie would be, too, if he wasn't under as much fire as he's been...