For Mets fans, the big question of 2008 is this: who will last longer, Shea Stadium or Willie Randolph?
According to the Loge13 Doomsday clock, Shea Stadium has 124 more days left in its natural life. Our blessed shrine will get a reprieve if the Mets make the post season, [I will wait for the laughter to subside]
What we don't know is how many days are left ticking on the Willie clock. And where is that darned clock? In Omar's office? Fred's? Jeff's? Who's in charge anyway?
I have avoided posting much about Willie lately here on Loge13. I enjoyed the notoriety of being the only Mets blog alive that hadn't written on the subject and frankly, blogging is boring when you write about what everyone else is saying.
And what is there to say? Randolph is a bad field manager. Anyone who has sat next to Ron Hunt in Loge13 has heard this said many times since 2005. And the problems go way beyond Willie. Anyone who watched last night's 7-3 embarrassment
can see the issues on the field. Delgado's listless approach to the game. Castillo's hobbled hitting. The Pelfrey Experiment (A.K.A. the 7th pitcher in a 5-man rotation). Anyone who thinks Jerry Manuel or Lee Mazilli (or Gary Carter) can fix this may not be thinking through all the issues.
But as I pondered the Mets this weekend while on vacation, things started to get more clear. And the bizarre press conference Monday afternoon brought it home. Omar gathered the media and Willie in one room to once again give the Met manager a tepid endorsement. He's our guy, Omar said, but with enough loopholes that the average person could come away convinced Willie is NOT our guy. How is that fair to the manager? What kind of message does that send to the destructive forces in the clubhouse? Omar could have said, "Willie is our guy. And if these players don't start showing some life, some leadership, some passion on the field, they are gone." But he didn't. He could have said, "Willie has until the All Star Break. Then we will re-evaluate." He didn't. Omar took no stand, and just let a problem that has dragged out for over a week/month/year continue to drag out.
And so I say: what has happened to this organization? The answer lies out beyond the outfield walls, hovering like a UFO from the planet Shopping Mall. Citi Field is what has happened to this organization. Management is too engrossed in next year that they have let this year slide. And along the way, they have forgotten how to deal effectively and benevolently with employees and fans. Show Willie support or don't. Praise your players when they perform and take them to task when they don't. Even Hank Jr. knows that (and by the way, The Spankees have just won 5 of 6). Our owners? They refuse to take their manager's call, making sure the press knows about this multi-time zone silent treatment. Nice.
And this lack of consideration is being applied to the folks in the stands too. It is now May 27. Partial season ticket holders at Shea Stadium STILL don't have any hopes for tickets in Citi Field. Yankee partial season ticket holders are picking out their seats. How does that show any respect to fans who have given their financial and moral support to the Mets for decades? Despite the state of the Mets, I'll be at Shea tomorrow night and I'd be in the stands next year if allowed. But that's not how this team operates. This operation prefers to let everyone dangle. And that's the problem.
As for who holds the Willie clock? The answer is: Willie. And it's set to June 3: the day Pedro is scheduled to return.
Martinez has the gift of leadership, of cutting through clubhouse politics with his bonhomie and his mini-me's.If Pedro can't turn this team around, no one can.