On a day like today it’s good to live in a two-tabloid and two-baseball-team town. The Daily News scores a major coup today with an exclusive from ousted Mets manager Willie Randolph on just how the bizarre firing went down. You’d expect it to be a total hatchet job, but it’s pretty evenly keeled. Randolph gives his side of the story of what happened when he went down to Mets GM Omar Minaya’s hotel room on Tuesday night. One of the things Randolph received was this “parting gift,” which would explain why he’s not completely excoriating the Mets organization:
“It was a copy of my Met contract that basically says I better not say anything detrimental about the team, or I might jeopardize the rest of the money I have coming to me.”
Randolph tells the News that he “never saw it coming.” He refers to getting “whacked,” which brings to mind some sinister Mafioso plot. All the references to “Omar” make me think of Omar Little from The Wire, who was just as ruthless as Omar Minaya appears to have been, especially when the banner headline on page 4 reads: “5 FATEFUL WORDS THAT I NEVER SAW COMING: OMAR WANTS TO SEE YOU.”
Randolph also uses the two-page spread to apologize for the remarks he made about how his race was the reason he was so heavily scrutinized.
“The bottom line is that by suggesting that the color of my skin had something to do with how I was judged, I did nothing but sow the seeds of my demise. I kick myself about that every day. It makes me angry — and really sad.
Randolph also asserts that he thought the remarks were “private.”
Despite the setbacks, Randolph remains positive. He says, “It took me 10 years to get a big-league managing job, and I hope and pray there will be another such opportunity in my future.”
In the Post, meanwhile, the front-page baseball story is Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain. The Yanks have won seven straight, which inspired both tabloids to use a “7 Up” reference on the back page. The Post calls Chamberlain “Joba the shut” for his first win as a starter, against the Padres. This inspires several columns about how it’s about time Joba starts showing his prowess and that this win “is yet another example of why the Yankees Universe is so much more of a respectable place than the Bizarro World of the Mets” because Joba now is providing the rotation with good performances, something desperately needed with the loss of Chien-Ming Wang.
Still, the News wins in the sports department today. The Randolph exclusive is just too much of a coup.