Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Willie's Demise

I wasn't really following the minute-to-minute of Willie Randolph's departure as the events unfolded, though I did know about it as my lover and I bought a newspaper in a vain attempt to find a movie theater near the storm-threatened campground showing anything besides Kung-Fu Panda. But Sunday someone on WFAN said something about Willie's comments regarding SNY and racism, which I hadn't heard about, so I went looking for info on that.

It happened a whole month ago, and his actual comments weren't that bad (or very coherent, actually) and were more about the hate he gets from the fans than about SNY. And even just glancing at the comments beneath the Daily News story on Randolph's apology, it's hard to deny that he has a point: the only question in the minds of some fans seems to be the extent to which Randolph's status as a lazy Negro blaming his personal failures on nonexistent racism might be mitigated by his being given the hopeless task of leading a team of lazy Mexicans to victory with his scheming Mexican boss undermining his authority at every turn.

Anyway, I don't know what to say about the firing itself. I do think that the phenomenon of players going over Randolph's head to Omar Minaya (in any language) was symptomatic of problems rather than causal, which is also to say that who knows what the root issues even were, let alone whether they were resolvable. But in any case it's not like the owners or GM could have just ordered unhappy players to listen to Willie and have things work out, so it's at least not a terrible decision.

And at the same time, Omar and the ownership did give Randolph the opportunity for redemption rather than (as some predicted) axing him after last year's collapse, which demonstrates faith in the organization. So I think they handled it about as well as could have been hoped for.

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