While Wille Randolph is described in a New York Observer profile as “doing his best work behind the scenes”, the Times-Herald Record’s Mike Geffner is far more impressed with Captain Red Ass’ leadership credentials, claiming “if only the Mets had a roster full of Paul Lo Ducas, instead of being intent on getting rid of the only one they have, maybe then they’d have clinched the division by now and not holding on for dear life.” Hey, if the Mets had an entire team of Paulie Gonuts-types, the available dating pool for Long Island’s straight high school dudes would drop dramatically. (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory)

He has, more than anyone on these Mets, pushed himself out in front as a leader on a team that for years now has seemed to lack one, calling out his mates when they desperately needed to be called out, chiding them for everything from laughing on the bench to, the greatest indictment of all, simply not caring enough.

He has only said all the things about the Mets that Willie Randolph, for whatever reason, won’t say but that most of us have already thought and felt.

And last night, during a private chat we had before the Mets lost another game to the Nationals, 10-9, despite a rousing six-run ninth inning that was started by Lo Duca’s leadoff single and ended with his popout to right, he had this blunt, disturbing message: “Hopefully this turns around and we make it to the playoffs. But if we play like this in the playoffs, we’re going to get beat anyway.”

“I’ve been like a broken record,” he said. “I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t even know if I’m getting through to these guys, but I just want them to know that this is real.”

Last night when there was still a real possibility of a Phillies win reducing the Mets’ margin in the NL East to one game, Gary Cohen wondered aloud if a rookie starter had ever been thrust into a situation quite like the one facing debutante Phillip Humber on Wednesday. It’s a great question, and I really wish I wasn’t thinking of Bobby Sprowl.