15.6.08

The Willie Question: To Sack Or Not To Sack

Well one thing gleaned from reading a day's worth of New York media coverage of the Mets during a rain out is that surprise, surprise, Willie's job is in danger.

There must have been at least 8 different articles from 4 different sports pages taking disparate views; it's the players' fault, not Willie's for example. Or Willie should be sacked, just not on Father's Day. Or Willie should be sacked but replacing him with Jerry Manuel is a mistake. Or firing Rick Peterson along with Willie is a bone head move.

I've never really thought of Willie as a Manager of the Year sort of manager, he always seemed sort of fated as the guy who sinks or swims with how his players play rather than riding the wave of some overwhelming tactical genius to out-manage other managers in tight ball games.

He's made alot of visible errors, game-time decisions that are derided as borderline idiotic or pedantic.

His stamp on the team is made with invisible ink.

The issue with this team is age and that's Omar's, not Willie's fault. It's Willie's job to win with what he's got though and he isn't doing it. Has really only done it once, in 2006 and even then it seemed to be in spite of Willie, not because of him.

Nevertheless, I think sacking him this week if they continue to stumble in that detestable way the Mets have proved so capable of stumbling over the last 120 games or so, would be a mistake.

First of all, there's no logical, good replacement for him. You could make the argument for several former players who manage with spirit and fire that might inspire the Mets but let's face it, what's really needed is a healthy Alou and a Delgado suddenly re-discovering his hitting stroke to add some punch to the lineup and take some of the pressure off of David Wright and Carlos Beltran. Pedro ringing back his yesteryears would be a nice touch as well. What manager can do that?

Secondly, the Mets aren't out of it yet. I still think they've got one strong run in them this season, one which could at the very least propel them to wildcard favourite if not beyond the Phillies who, let's face it, are playing out of their minds at the moment and will have to cool off eventually. Baseball is several seasons in one and there's still plenty of games left to do something.

I doubt the Wilpons are much interested in opening their new Capitalist Pig Stadium with a team of failed and ageing former stars who are running on fumes. There's little hope in that scheme. But let's hope for the moment the Wilpons keep quiet. Let the GM do the job he was hired to do. This is his and Willie's last run if it doesn't work but to sever it prematurely would be to admit to several years on a fool's errand and millions in wasted contracts.

And I'm starting to like Willie's cool in the face of this feeding frenzy. He's showing me a cool I didn't think he had. I say let him, like Omar, ride it out and if they drown along with the team, so be it. If Willie were going to be sacked, last season was the time. The damage is done. The team is built for better or worse. There's still more than half a season to get it right. I just can't see some miracle manager coming in and turning this team around. They're built as a team, let them sink or swim as a team. And hell, rooting for them as underdogs as they are right now is a helluva lot more fun than expecting them to have been built as a perfect baseball machine. I'm willing to wait it out.

Blast from the Past: Before the Army started marching, I was writing on sportspages.com - (now ussportspages.com) anyway - this article brought back memories of even drearier Met days and a similar sort of fire sale mentality the Mets were inspiring.

5 comments:

jdon said...

i think they should both be gone. realistically you cannot replace a gm in mid season if his assistant is getting fired too. there just aren't guys available. i am not sure they have a run in them the mistake they made was not canning a player or two after last season. teams that lose like that ave to be broken up. wenever things go wrong in the future they look at each other and say "oops. here we go again." teams that fail like that never bounce back. yes, we added santana, but we never drained the poison. the infection did not go away. we might as well wait and fire them both. i pity the successor to both.

jdon said...

oh, and add sandy alomar to the list of coaches tobe fired. he is just terible. and delgado is a worse baserunner than marv throneberry. at least throneberry tried to run hard.

Jaap said...

yeah jdon, I agree with sacking Alomar straight away - it's not like the players don't make enough mistakes themselves without some muppet screwing them up sending them home. Reminds me of a few Manny Acta moves back in the day. Now look where he is.
The team will probably not bounce back, no. But the personnel problems they have won't go away for a new manager either. just a case of having a scapegoat, that's all. the players are the ones who should be sacked.

sanchez said...

what's this pap about keeping Willie? God, he should have been fired right after that loss to the Marlins. Right in the lockeroom. And Omar should have been forced to pick someone new and bring in some young blood.
You're looking at a sinking ship. Clean house completely. Get rid of Castillo, Alou, Delgado, Pedro and Billy Wagner. Waive the rest of the pen and start fresh. Get a few prospects in return and point to rebuilding a dead farm system and point to 2010. The experiment has failed and there are no more tomorrows for this ugly old team

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