June 17, 2008

Never a "GOOD" time to be fired - But THIS is just wrong!

Let's face it- there's NO good way to be fired- not even with a multi-million dollar package to go home to. This, however, is one of the WORST firings I've heard of, and that's saying a LOT considering I've been around literally thousands of firings in my time.

The story today should be that Jerry Manuel is going to get a chance to run the Mets and, hopefully turn things around before it's too late, but that lead has been buried in the story- and, in spite of what even other bloggers on this site might think, the Mets just took a situation where a manager who deserved to be fired just found the sympathy that he never did while he managed here...

In case you haven't heard just how this was handled, the Mets allowed Willie and company (i.e. Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto) to travel all the way to California, over 3000 miles from NY, on the evening of Father's Day, only to be fired the following day, around midnight Pacific time, after a VICTORY no less! I am NOT against the act of firing Willie, Nieto and "the jacket"- not at all- I just don't like the way this was handled. I've known for a while just how far the team had gotten away from Willie, and there will always be a plethora of things that will never come out in this process, but the firing had to happen- just the way it happened leaves a very bad taste in my mouth- and it's NOT morning breath!

As to the "why" this happened the way it did - well, there are a number of reasons. First, the entire plan was somehow "leaked" to the media- how else do you explain the fact that, a few days ago, it was "speculated" that the Mets would fire Willie, Peterson and Nieto and that they would be replaced with Dan Warthen (pitching coach), Ken Oberkfell (first base) and Jerry Manuel as interim manager (also, replacing Manuel on the bench will be Luis Aguayo, the team's field coordinator). Therefore, they had to do this sooner rather than later, or risk looking worse than the organization already does.

Second, firing Willie and crew away from "home" means that there's less chance that reporters will have easy access to them in the way of interviews, etc., and thus allows the team to have a chance to put their "spin" on things. There are a lot of reporters who travel with the team, but more than likely, Willie, Peterson and Nieto will not be readily accessible before tomorrow's papers have been put to bed, let alone get an interview up on the web.

Third, the team might have been "afraid" that, if they won 2 of 3 from the Angels and 2 of 3 from the Rockies, after winning 2 of 3 from the Rangers, it might be "harder" to fire the manager - and that's just a crock. Willie didn't have the support of ownership, with only Omar keeping him employed- and that level of insulation was removed last night by dispatching Omar to CA to pull the plug on Willie's tenure. If they truly believed that Willie should have been fired, it should have happened Sunday night in New York, not overnight in CA. It should have happened after the collapse of '07, not allowing a third of yet another season get away from us; and now he's fired because of how it might have looked if we actually won a few?

Fourth, there's always the chance that Willie "fell on the sword" himself- it's possible he was informed by Omar of the pending coaching changes, and Willie chose instead to support his coaches, didn't approve of the move and decided that, rather then wait it out any longer, he accepted his fate and decided to move on.

Maybe we'll know more today or tomorrow...but what we know NOW is that Jerry Manuel is the manager, we have 2 more games in CA, and then three in Colorado before coming back to NY. At least Manuel will have a few games under his belt before being totally blitzed by the NY media!

At 5pm today, EST, the Mets will have a press conference, led by Omar, where they will introduce Manuel and company officially. Right now, I'm not sure if this move says that Omar's even deeper in the weeds, but it sure seems so as this can't be the fashion in which he envisioned firing Willie and company. At least I hope not...

Finally, Mets' fans, we got what we wished for- for now, at least. Willie, a class individual, only gained in dignity due to the classless fashion this firing took place; I will miss Willie, the man, not the manager...I don't think Manuel is the long-term, nor even the short-term, answer as manager of this team...but progress may have been made in hiring the man who should have been named manager a few years ago, one Ken Oberkfell, someone we've been calling for at least 3 years now (from our old site, Mets Trades).

Man, this team is never dull, and waking up today felt like facing a four-alarm fire after a deep sleep...it's going to be an interesting week, folks...stay tuned!

PS- NOW is the time to hire Leo Mazzone, let him travel around the minors for 2 months, get a handle on all of the Mets young pitching prospects, then allow him to see the team from the press box in September and announce that he's being brought on to run the pitching for the entire organization.

Willie - we wish you well, and we're sorry that your tenure with the Mets wasn't more successful - believe us, we really, really wish it were! You're a great human being, and we appreciate all that you tried to do...and we' d bet you'll be even more successful wherever life takes you next! Good luck and great fortune- SHEA NATION

No comments: