Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Behind The Mets' Willie Randolph Debacle Lies an Organization That Despises the Media

Big-Time PR Boner by Mets Shows Front Office Dripping With Contempt, Devoid of Ideas

The sports stations and newspaper Web sites in New York have been dripping with bile all day over the classless, cowardly way the Mets fired manager Willie Randolph and two coaches.
While many agree it was the right decision, it was one made at the completely wrong time. But the Mets front office is good at breeding cynicism and outright scorn, a dumb move given the team's desultory performance since last September's epic late-season collapse.
First, the team does a mass email to reporters at 3:11 a.m. ET, just late enough to ensure it wouldn't make its way into the morning papers. Somehow, management forgot about that pesky Internet to get the story out.
Not that reporters weren't wary about something happening, even though the Mets had won three out of four games after last night's 9-6 win over the Angels in Anaheim.
WFAN Mets beat reporter Ed Coleman told Mike and the Mad Dog how Steve Popper of The Record asked Assistant General Manager Tony Bernazard at 11l30 p.m. Pacific time whether anyone would be fired that night. Bernazard replied in the negative.
About 40 minutes later, Randolph was gone. Later, Popper confronted Bernazard in the hotel lobby about his earlier statement, Coleman said.
Bernazard blithely replied: "Nobody got fired last night. They were fired today."
No doubt Bernazard, known to dislike Randolph, got a chuckle out of that. No doubt Popper was not amused.
But that's emblematic of the team's arrogance and lack of accountability to its players, its fans and the beat writers who day after day have trudged into a locker room that SNY's Kevin Burkhardt said recently was not a happy place to be.
By knowingly blundering Randolph's dismissal and not caring about the fallout, the Mets leadership -- GM Omar Minaya and owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon included -- will now find sharpened daggers confronting them in every sports section from here on out.
It's bad enough they did what they did when they did it. But when they messed with the media in the process, they entered a special kind of hell where even the thickest of skins are pierced. If Minaya thinks the heat is on now, just wait.
Somewhere, George Steinbrenner is having a good laugh.

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