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domingo, junio 15, 2008

There Is No Joy In Metsville, Mighty Willie's Striking Out

Will This Man Have A Job On Monday?

Last night's rain-out means that the Metropolitans have a double header today against the Texas Rangers. It's interleague play and to me not all that interesting. But there is a very interesting story line. If the Mets don't win, I think you can wave bye bye to Willie Randolph, their manager. That means, I think, that the players, who haven't done well under pressure, are under even more stress for today's games. In addition to their chronic, season-long underachieving (that's a nice way to put it), I doubt they want to be responsible for the traditional, scapegoat firing of their manager and the bad feelings that will engender, especially when the NY press's drama kings say, "Willie had to be fired because the team wouldn't play for him."

Fortunately for Willie, this do-or-be-fired test comes against a Rangers team that may be slightly worse than the Mets. But guess what? Even if Willie survives two games today, the next games are in Los Angeles against the Angels beginning on Monday night, and the Angels are 13 games over .500 and leading the American League West. The Mets never play well on the west coast after traveling at night. If the Mets play in LA the way they did in San Diego, Willie's going to be gone.

There is some reason for firing of Willie. You can find it in bookkeeping and in the standings: the Mets are 2 games below .500, they're 7 games behind the Phillies in the National League East after playing 66 games, and they've lost 6 of their last 8 games, including the sweep by the feckless Padres. Nobody with more than 50 at bats is batting .300 or more. You cannot find an explanation of why a team that has so much talent and is paid so much money is playing so badly. When that happens, the first person to go is always the manager.

And it wouldn't break my heart if Aaron Heilman, whose complete lack of control is responsible for so many of the recent losses, were fired, too.

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