Jaime C. Harris
As the hit song by Jamie Foxx “Blame It On the Alcohol” flows from my Bose speakers, I can’t help but think who Jeff Wilpon, the New York Mets’ COO and son of the principal owner Fred Wilpon, and Tony Bernazard, the team’s vice president of player development, will blame for the Mets’ early season struggles now that former manager Willie Randolph is long gone.
Randolph, now the bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, was fired under the cover of night last June supposedly by general manager Omar Minaya when the Mets were 34-35 and six games behind the eventual World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East.
I write supposedly because several media members I spoke with last year who cover the team expressed that Wilpon and Bernazard had it in for Willie and compelled Minaya to make the move. It seems that they simply did not like Randolph and made it personal.
Word was that Bernazard operated in cloak and dagger fashion in undermining Randolph by sharing with certain players on the team negative criticism Randolph leveled against them in meetings with front office staff. If this is indeed true, Bernazard is a snake and unfit for his position. And if Minaya and Wilpon knew this was taking place and did not fire him, what does this say about their judgment and leadership? Did they condone such scurrilous actions?
A little over an hour ago the Mets fell to the St. Louis Cardinals by 5-2. They are 6-8 to begin the season and have glaring holes both in their everyday lineup and starting pitching. Sports talk shows are already ablaze with angry fans calling for manager Jerry Manuel to bench left fielder Daniel Murphy, relegate Gary Sheffield to a pinch hitting role so that Ryan Church can be the regular right fielder, and shake up the starting rotation, which coming into tomorrow afternoon’s game versus the Cardinals had a collective ERA of 6.89 and was averaging only 5.1 innings per start.
Those numbers of course exclude Johan Santana’s, the best starter in baseball, who is 2-1 with an amazing 0.46 ERA in 19.2 innings pitched.
Since Manuel took over the team upon Randolph’s ouster, the Mets are not one iota better. There has been no tangible improvement. Logic dictates that neither Manuel is, or Randolph was the problem. That leaves the front office.
Blame it on the….