Richard Justice lays the hammer to the Mets in the Sporting News online today. By day he's a Houston Astros beat writer, but by night he apparently beats on franchises that seem to lack direction, especially from ownership.
Although the column jumps back and forth between his points and struggles to achieve any continuity, Justice takes a number of shots at Fred Wilpon for letting this sad drama drag on. From the article: "The Mets have become a joke, and that joke begins with the people who are evaluating Willie Randolph. When the Mets beat the Rangers on Friday, Randolph's job was spared for at least a day. No manager should be evaluated in this day-to-day, move-to-move way. But it's clear to anyone in the free world that the Mets already have their minds set on firing Willie Randolph. To allow him to continue to work under impossible circumstances is both cruel and dumb. But that's the Mets. This organization has a history of infighting, and the leadership of the franchise is too weak to stop it. Everything that's wrong with the Mets begins with the boss, Fred Wilpon. He should have -- and could have -- taken care of the in-house tension a long time ago."
Hard to argue with that. One day the Mets are firing Randolph, the next day they aren't. Then they're firing coaches instead, then it's Randolph and the coaches, then it's different coaches. The latest buzz is that it's pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto facing the ax. It doesn't make a ton of sense for either man to be fired - Peterson was here before Randolph and has done good work with the Mets' pitching staff, while Nieto is a first-base coach who has little to no influence on the team. If the Mets were going to fire anybody, it should be Sandy Alomar, Jr., who has had an abysmal year as the third base coach.
Justice's support for Randolph is too strong; anyone who doesn't think Willie is a poor game manager is either lying to you or not paying attention. He also gets himself into a huff about the suggestion that Keith Hernandez should be the next Mets' manager, as if it's not a well-known fact that Mex has no intention of leaving the broadcast booth for a job that demanding. But Justice knows one thing - the problems with this organization do not end with the manager. The problems go all the way to the top.