After firing Willie Randolph in the middle of the night following a win and West Coast plane ride, Mets GM Omar Minaya had to explain the timing of the dismissal as much as the reasoning behind it.
“I could not do this on Sunday, because the reality is that I made the decision on Monday,” Minaya told reporters gathered for 5 p.m. press conference at the Angel’s ballpark following the managers dismissal, which was announced by press release in the middle of the night. The GM chided the New York press corps for putting the worst possible spin on the firing, by reporting that Randolph was fired at 3 a.m., noting the three-hour time difference.
“11 p.m. at night, after a game … standard procedure in letting a manager go in this game,” he said.
Minaya said he considered firing Randolph last September after the Mets historic meltdown kept them from the playoffs.
“It pains me to make the decision, the reality is the biggest fan of Willie Randolph is Omar Minaya,” said the GM who hired the first black coach in New York baseball history.
Whether or not it needed to be done, the handling of Randolph firing will go down in Mets lore as another typical organization gaffe. Randolph was left dangling for weeks, and fired without much class. In fact, Minaya, said the distraction over Randolph’s fate— which he could have quelled with a statement of unqualified support—was part of the reason Willie needed to be let go. (Talk about circular logic.)
“It was not fair to the team, it was not fair to Willie Randolph, it was not fair to the organization,” Minaya said. “I think he was resigned to it. When all is said and done, I think he was relieved.”