Thursday, May 8, 2014
Willie takes high road on Mets in memoir
By Adam Rubin
NEW YORK -- Willie Randolph's memoir, as the title suggests, primarily deals with his New York Yankees days.
However, the former New York Mets manager does spend most of a chapter in "The Yankee Way: Playing, Coaching, and My Life in Baseball" chronicling his time managing the Mets.
Randolph takes the high road regarding the Mets, even if that probably will result in less attention for the book as compared to Mookie Wilson's shots in his recently released memoir.
Courtesy of HarperCollins PublishersWillie Randolph's new memoir is entitled: "The Yankee Way: Playing, Coaching, and My Life in Baseball."
Randolph writes about his 3 a.m. ET firing in Anaheim during the 2008 season: "I walked into that last meeting with Omar Minaya thinking that I was going in there to fight a battle to save the jobs of a couple of coaches. In the end, that battle was already over, the decision about my fate as manager already decided. I wasn't happy about the decision and felt then, much as I do today, that if given the opportunity, my staff and I could have contributed to the kind of sustained excellence that the Braves and Yankees had enjoyed."
Randolph omits that he had begged the front office to fire him at Shea Stadium before getting on the plane to the West Coast if that was going to be his fate in California anyway. The Mets' public-relations advisers had recommended against the optics of firing Randolph on Father's Day in New York. So Randolph got on the plane, won a game against the Angels, and was fired in the middle of the night, creating a public backlash.
Also omitted from the Mets chapter entirely is the name Tony Bernazard. Minaya's top deputy and Randolph had a poisonous relationship, fueled by Bernazard's attempts to divide the clubhouse.
Randolph reminisces about telling Minaya that he thought Pedro Martinez might be dissuaded from signing with the Mets because of the hostility of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry on which they had been on opposite sides. Randolph ultimately came to immensely respect Martinez, writing: "Unlike a lot of big stars, Pedro is a fun-loving guy and a great teammate, somebody who loves the camaraderie and wants to make everybody better. During the final, forgettable homestand of 2007, I heard a commotion in the clubhouse one afternoon and found out later what caused it: Pedro was cavorting around wearing nothing but a necktie. He had the place rollicking with laughter. It was a nice sound to hear at that particular time, perfect for loosening up. It worked about as well as my pep talks, but at least he was trying."
Regarding that 2007 team that infamously squandered a seven-game lead with 17 to play, Randolph writes: "That 2007 club was talented, no doubt about that, but I don't think they had the chemistry of the championship teams I played on in the late '70s or the chemistry of the Core Four (Jeter-Pettitte-Posada-Rivera) teams. Guys got along and had fun for the most part, but I don't think they all knew how to win. I know for a fact that as the season played out it became clear that we had some areas of weakness, particularly in the pitching staff, that proved too tough to overcome."