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Reactions to the Mets' midnight massacre? Completely justified

Big League Stew

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Type in "New York image consultant" into the Yahoo! search engine and you get a return of about 17.3 million results.

Type in "New York public relations" and you get around 136 million responses.

While neither are nowhere near the search term "New York lawyer" (255 million bouncebacks), you figure the Mets could have found at least one man, woman or firm in Manhattan to invoke a little common sense into what will now always be remembered as the colossally-bungled firing of now Mets manager Willie Randolph and two of his coaches.

In the wake of what the NY Post is calling the "Midnight Massacre," — even though the press release hit reporters' email boxes at 3:14 a.m. Big Apple time — it's hard to imagine that general manager Omar Minaya and owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon could have handled the whole process any worse.

Though Randolph's firing was justified by the end of last season and the start of this one — you don't hear too much outcry over the actual move, only the method — Minaya and the Wilpons would have been better off launching Randolph into Flushing Bay after Sunday's split doubleheader against Texas than making him walk the plank into the Pacific 3,000 miles away after a win over the Angels on Monday evening.

Instead, by making Randolph fly across the country in an apparent attempt to try and bury the news break when only the New York trash collectors were thought to be headed to work, the Mets' front office comes off as looking like the most incompetent and unaware bunch in pro sports.

Did they really think that in the age of the Internet that the firing wouldn't be carved up and dissected by the time everyone arrived at their work desks, anyway?

Did they really believe everyone would just stick with talking about the previous front page news of Chien Ming-Wang's injury instead?

If so, then they deserve every bit of criticism that gets lobbed their way. If you follow the jump, you'll find a sample slew of excellent insta-reactions to Randolph's departure, all of them taking Minaya and the Wilpons to task for coming off as spineless and weak.

From this viewpoint, they earned every word.

Mike Vaccaro, NY Post: "What a crowd these bums are, all of them, from the Wilpons at the top to Omar Minaya down below, all of them who conspired to botch this firing worse than any firing has ever been botched. Ever. You wouldn't trust these guys to run a 7-11, let alone a National League baseball team. What a joke. What a cowardly, dastardly joke.

"A midnight massacre ... A three-a.m. thrashing ... Disgraceful. Utterly, completely, disgraceful."

Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports: "Randolph’s status had been a moving target and Minaya has treated it as such, raising and lowering his sights like a hunter with a fogged scope. Presumably, the owners played a part as well. It’s been clumsy, all of it, and entirely beneath Randolph and Minaya. But such is life in the big city, even when you’re a continent away from the big city."

Joel Sherman, NY Post: "If you are a Met fan this is a sad day. Not because of the removal of Randolph, booed heavily the last time he was seen at Shea. But because the organization for which you root does not seem to have any game plan — and apparently has no heart, as well. They actually made Randolph plus coaches Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto fly the charter 3,000 miles to California on Sunday night simply to be removed on Monday. Met management had to know what it intended to do because the Mets won on Monday. It was not as if some last straw was dropped. This made the people in charge of the Mets look aimless and petty."

William C. Rhoden, NY Times: "The firing ends months of wavering. The process of firing or not firing Randolph had become an unsightly display of weakness and a public embarrassment for a franchise that has not won a World Series championship in more than two decades but one that has one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball.

"Rather than come out and announce that Randolph was done or undone, Minaya and the team’s ownership hesitated and sent unclear signals. There was speculation about Randolph’s status after every loss; the intervals were reduced to each inning, each pitch, each play.

"What’s worse is that the organization, in its indecisiveness, seemed to be taking the blood lust of fans into consideration."

Matthew Cerrone, "As a Mets fan, I’m embarrassed this morning, and I feel a little dirty. I understand why Willie Randolph was fired. In fact, due to the time I spend talking to people connected to the team, I am probably aware of why he was fired better than most people.

The problem is that, like in so many cases during this team’s history, the story today will not be about replacing Randolph with Jerry Manuel and moving forward, it will be about the way this situation was handled – and rightfully so ... The Mets took so long to make this decision that it made them look foolish, classless and disorganized."

Lisa Swan, New York Daily News: "This is the baseball equivalent of when Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey announced at 9 p.m.. on Thanksgiving Eve, after every gossip writer out there had headed home for the holiday, that the couple was getting a divorce."

(Uh, sure.)

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