Much like each successive episode of Lost, the Mets' own sci-fi melodramatic love story has left us with more questions than answers after Wille Randolph, Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto were canned in the middle of the night. Questions like:
- Why now? Why did the Mets string everyone -- Randolph, the team, the fans -- along for weeks just to pull a bush league maneuver like this? The timing makes no sense and the handling was so poor that this organization should be embarrassed from the top down.
- Why fire Rick Peterson? Did he hit Moises Alou in the back of the knees with a lead pipe and demand Fernando Tatis play in his stead? Did he secretly dump a vial of uber-regression serum into Carlos Delgado's scrambled eggs? No, but he did help shape John Maine into a very solid #2 pitcher and must have played some part in helping to coax the past month of encouraging pitching out of Mike Pelfrey. The staff *did* fall apart down the stretch last year, so that could have had something to do with Peterson's ousting. Or, perhaps this is just the Mets' way of saying they don't like the newfangled tree-hugging approach to his job. Peace and love and keeping the ball down and butterflies flying in formation? No thank you, they said.
- What do we expect from Jerry Manuel, who takes over for Randolph starting tonight? I don't expect the culture in the clubhouse to change meaningfully, though I don't know if that was ever a real problem here. I don't have the numbers to back this up, but I feel like Manuel has probably been ejected more often than Randolph over the past two seasons. So, maybe we'll get a bit more fire out of the skipper. I have no idea what Manuel's tactical management resume looks like, so I guess we'll figure that out as we go along. It can't be much worse than Willie's, I think we'll all agree on that.
- When is Manny Acta's deal up with the Nationals?
- Would Paul DePodesta be willing to move to the east coast?
Interestingly, the Mets have fired New York's first black manager and craftily replaced him with New York's second black manager.
This whole thing was bungled so badly that part of me wonders if it wasn't orchestrated from the start in order to cast Willie Randolph in the best possible light, leaving his reputation intact and perhaps making him more attractive to other teams. The only way this could have been handled any more ineptly would be if the Mets had fired Randolph via webcam while Jeff Wilpon was kicking the manager's dog on the other end.
Lost in all of this is the promotion of New Orleans manager Ken Oberkfell to the big league staff in a position that has yet to be determined. Obie has been an organizational soldier for a number of years now, winning minor league manager of the year a few seasons back with Binghamton. I'm happy to see him finally get a promotion and I hope to see him around Shea for a long time.