By Mike Steffanos
I have received several e-mails on this topic, and no one was thrilled with Willie's decision to be Steinbrenner's guest at the All Star Game. They felt his presence was an intentional embarrassment to the Mets.
My take, for what it's worth, is that Willie doesn't owe the Mets any consideration of whether something he chooses to do embarrasses them. They made the choice to take his job, which was their right, but that choice imparts a certain freedom to Randolph.
One correspondent pointed out that the Mets are still paying him, and will through next season. I'm sure that there are some conditions in his contract that might limit what he can do while still technically in the employ of the club, but anything that isn't contractually prohibited is fair game.
That all being said, I have to admit that Randolph has lost some of my support and sympathy with his actions since being terminated. Quite frankly, he has shown himself to be a bit of a whiner. He's got his few allies in the press blaming everyone but him for the failures of last fall and the first half struggles.
If I read one more piece about how Willie was undermined by his players I might scream. What is a baseball manager's primary job if not to be a motivating force to his charges? If Willie did indeed lose his team to the extent that the players wanted him gone, it only indicates to me that he should have been fired sooner.
If I was a club owner who was looking at candidates to manage my team, I would consider Willie's post-firing blame fest a strong black mark against him. I liked Willie more than most, but even I shed no tears when he was gone. I don't care how many articles Bill Madden or William Rhoden pen blaming everyone from Jeff Wilpon to Tony Bernazard to the Peanut Vendors. Many of his problems with the press, the fans and even his own players had their roots in his stubbornness as much as anything else.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed the ASG, Willie, but could you please just go away now?