A day after some of us tried to determine if a skipper has ever been fired between games of a doubleheader, the New York Mets finally succeeded in ending the managerial career of Willie Randolph after his club had won 3 of their last 4. And why, exactly, was Willie and a pair of his soon-to-be-sacked coaches made to fly cross country yesterday? So much for the ecology conscious New Mets.
The Mets have fired manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto, the team announced shortly after 3 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday.
Bench coach Jerry Manuel has been named the team’s interim manager, while Ken Oberkfell, Dan Warthen and Luis Aguayo will join the staff.
Warthen, who was serving as Triple-A New Orleans’ pitching coach, succeeds Peterson in that role at the major-league level. He rejoined the organization after spending the previous two seasons as the bullpen coach on Grady Little’s Dodgers staff.
Oberkfell, a former major-league infielder, has managed the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate the past four seasons. Aguayo was the Mets’ field coordinator, overseeing minor-leaguers at the Port St. Lucie complex.
GM Omar Minaya, who let Randolph twist in the wind without a bona fide vote of confidence for the past month, will hold at press conference at the Angels’ stadium at 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday. If the Mets continue to flounder, the scrutiny will undoubtedly shift to Minaya, who is signed through the 2009 season.
Earlier this morning, Rubin spoke with WFAN’s Tony Paige and claimed players were learning of Randolph’s termination from Mets beat reporters via text message. Dignified stuff, Wilpon inc. Presumably, Jerry Manuel possesses secret powers that will keep Moises Alou and Ryan Church in the lineup everyday.
For whatever it’s worth, I don’t believe Fred and Jeff Wilpon are the worst owners in sports. As long as James Dolan and Bruce Ratner own their respective basketball teams, the Wilpons aren’t even close to the most loathed owners in the New York metropolitan area. But for all the credibility the Mets purchased with their acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana, there isn’t enough money in Flushing to erase the sort of ill will their handling of this episode will generate.