Friday, June 13, 2008

Mets Willie Randolph Asks: 'Where Is the Love?'

During a recent practice session during a home stand against the Dodgers, Mets manager Willie Randolph looked up from the batting cage to see portly Dodgers broadcaster Charlie Steiner ambling over

"Charlie, come here," Randolph called to him. "Give me a hug. I need it."

As the two former Yankees employees embraced, Randolph was in the process of surviving his first MLB rumors gauntlet, spared from being fired by a sudden spurt of player productivity and what would turn out to be a short lived revival in the standings.

Now Randolph finds himself in trouble again as the team continues to fall short of the .500 level, is seven games out and leading only the lowly Washington Nationals.

"It's a bad feeling to get your butt beat," Randolph admitted afterwards.

As Newsday columnist Johnette Howard noted in the next day's editions: Randolph might have added: "Again," as his most recent 10-inning, 5-4 humiliation in Arizona marked the sixth straight game in which the Mets have blown a lead.

Steiner -- host of The Beat on XM Radio channel 175 -- has steadfastly defended Randolph on the grounds that Randolph doesn't swing the bat, throw the ball, make the catches or run the bases; his players do.

The problem is that Randolph sets the tone in his clubhouse, and his clubhouse is run like a retired millionaires club: "millionaires," because they are millionaires; and "retired" because they are retired, at a rock bottom minimum of 27 per game.

The Mets have no vibrancy, no spirit, no fight and no tenacity, and because Randolph seems unable to instill in them any sort of cohesion, character or drive, a change must come in the name of making a change for the sake of a change. You're bright, you're experienced, you're knowledgeable and capable, Willie, but your methods for whatever reason just aren't working and it is time for you to go.