There has already been a ton of blogs, articles, and statements made in relation to the Mets firing Willie. The funny thing is that most people are talking about the WAY they fired him, not just the fact that they fired him. And for good reason; as today the Mets reached a whole new level in absurdity and bizarreness. The New York Met front office, Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya and everyone else you want to throw in, have done just about as bad of a job you can possibly do in handling a situation like this. It's not like the Mets were handling it right anyway; the past 2 weeks they've seemed puzzled and not knowing where to go or what to do. But the news that came out today has shocked everyone and has made the Met organization look like the biggest nincompoops in the world. This could be worse than what the Yankees did with Torre. They've treated Willie like worthless crud. This is a mess folks. And I have a very hard time believing Jerry Manuel will come in and save this team after this weird fiasco.
Once again, the Mets have not had a good 2 weeks. While they went through a ton of bad slumps and bad baseball (Getting swept in San Diego, Wagner pitching like John Franco in his later days, Carlos Delgado, etc.), but Willie was still the manager. After getting swept by the Padres, Willie and the Mets' front office had a closed door meeting. That's when things looked grim. Let me say this first: I don't think Willie shouldn't have been fired in the first place. It's not his fault Omar has built an old, injury prone ball club. Signing Luis Castillo for a 4-year extension, re-signing Alou, the gaping hole that is middle relief, and in my mind putting too much importance on Pedro returning. With that said, this team should've been doing better and have the talent to play much better. And with a team with one of the highest payrolls in baseball with so much firepower on paper, they should be better. But, firing Willie won't do much in my mind. Once again, what will Jerry Manuel do to shake this clubhouse up? What's he going to do different? I don't know.
The Mets were already handling this bad because you could tell they were in flux. Everyday, the relentless gears of NY media were watching the Mets' every move, waiting for it to happen. And the Mets did nothing to stop it. They didn't come out and say that Willie's job was safe nor did they just fire him when it made sense. When the Mets lost 4 straight to the Padres, that was the right time to let him go. But they didn't. They kept him in the dugout, waiting for his own demise. He even joked about his own firing; saying Minaya was sharpening his machete. Even if you weren't a fan of Willie (which most Met fans were never even when they won 97 games in 2006), you had to feel sorry for the guy even before last night. That's like torture. The guy knows he's on thin ice yet the front office never tells him anything. Very few people could handle managing in NY in the first place, especially when you could be kicked out the door any minute.
So Willie was still in the dugout. To make a long story short, they win a series against the Rangers and then beat the Angels. They've won 3 out of 4 with Johan Santana on the mound tonight on the west coast. Willie must have felt comfortable. Until he got to the hotel. Now, this is when this situation reached the peak of craziness. You've heard it by now: They fire Willie (along with the pitching coach and the 1st base coach) at the hotel in the middle of the night. After the team just had a very encouraging win against one of the best teams in baseball. They made Willie and the whole team travel to the West Coast, and then they gave him the boot. The Mets didn‘t do a horrible job with this. They did a pathetic job. This makes Vince McMahon look classy. You make the manager wait after being cooked alive in NY, make him fly all the way to the west coast, the team WINS, and Omar is there in the middle of the night waiting to hand him is pink slip. This whole situation reeks of horrible sports management and business management with the most out-of-whack ethics ever. This whole ordeal was cowardly and spineless. The timing of this is laughably stupid.
Now comes out something that is even worse. THIS is truly classless. The story that Omar's VP Tony Bernazard was hanging around in the clubhouse as Willie was still managing and was bashing Willie to the players behind Willie's back. That's the sickest thing out of this whole deal. Not making Willie travel to the West Coast, not Jeff Wilpon trying to wash his hands from the whole deal (seriously Jeff, grow up. You're running a baseball team), but this takes the cake. That's just so disgusting and vile that it's almost hard to believe. I'm not a Met fan, but I've lost all respect for this group of suits. The crazy thing now is if the Mets continue to flounder, Minaya will be in some serious trouble. After all that and nothing changes, the Mets franchise will be severely pounded.
It's always been a thing sort of swept under the rug that quite a few people in the Met organization never liked Willie to begin with. Now that has unleashed and it's in plain sight. I feel incredibly sorry for Willie, but also for Jerry Manuel. He's in an incredibly tough spot now. He has to win or else this whole team and this whole organization goes down the drain for this year which would lead to maybe a drastic overhaul during the off-season. But right now, the Mets' image has been tarnished by mud and sludge. How the team or the organization will respond to this will be an entirely new issue. But there's no mistaking it: The Mets have botched this up to the extreme.
The New York Mets didn't think Willie deserved them anymore. They got it wrong. The Mets didn't deserve Willie.