Friday, June 02, 2006

Report Card, Part 2: Willie & Omar

Okay, we're late with our Willie & Omar portion of our first Mets' report card, and we apologize and will do 2 extra credit projects as punishment. Without further ado, on to the grades...

We love him...we love him not...we love him...we love him not...and this is the paradox of having Willie Randolph as our manager...we are the children of Tilden High parents, and Willie went to Tilden, too...we grew up Mets fans in Queens, and Willie grew up a Mets' fan in Brooklyn, where both our dads are from...Willie played 2B for the Yankees, and David played 2B for Ralph's Tackle in Little League...okay, the parallels have stopped, but one thing must be noted- Willie Randolph has been and remains my all-time favorite Yankee and one of the few whom I have ever rooted for while wearing their pinstripes...and therein lies the majority of our frustration. First, the bad: for someone who was one of the most intelligent and instinctive players of his generation, Willie makes many game-decisions that leaving us scratching our head in wonder. For one and a third years now, Willie has made so many questionable moves that he is guilty of being out-managed by men who are not in his class in either experience or understanding game-pressure, and whom should not be able to outmanuveur this one-time field general...quite frankly, Willie has had me questioning more decisions then any other 3 Mets' managers combined - and that includes the likes of Frank Howard, Dallas Green, Jeff Torborg and Art Howe! Now, the good: It's been said that good managing should be seamless and not apparent to the average fan, and it seems, everything that Willie does bucks this trend. Mets' fans have become patently aware of the positive force this team has become, and that starts with Willie Randolph. Great CEO's aren't necessarily the best at all of the specific portions of their job- they are idea people who are smart enough to get the most out of the talent that surrounds them and creates a work environment that allows this creativity to achieve great results. Sound familiar? Willie has certainly created an atmosphere that players want to be a part of and can sense that they are a part of something special. It's great to have players such as Delgado, Beltran, Wright, Floyd, Glavine & Martinez, winners-all, in our clubhouse, but while we look at these players for the leadership they have brought (or will bring), remember that players such as Floyd & Martinez & Delgado haven't always been portrayed well by the media, casting them as at times selfish, something we have yet to see...we certainly have an interesting melange of players in the clubhouse this year, and Willie has done a masterful job of blending these myriad personalities into a squad that certainly lives by the "one for all, all for one" credo, and for that, and the fact that we are in first place right now by 5 games over the Braves and 5.5 over the Phils, makes Willie's grade: B (The sound you just heard was me picking Jonathan up off the floor...wake up, bud, it's a long season!)

Omar, Omar, Omar...the man we thought, all along, should have been running the Mets' upon the departure of Steve Philips...the man I practically leaped over Spike Lee in spring training last year to procure his autograph and thank him for all that he had done for our team...the man who takes the success of the Mets more to heart then any of us, because he is not only the architect of this team, he is a fan of baseball and especially of the Mets, and that is something that he hasn't forgotten when fans ask for a moment of his time, good, bad or otherwise...Omar has changed this team from top to bottom, effecting everything that touches the organization from hiring new medical personnel to creating a first-class baseball academy in the's true that not every move a GM makes, even the best of them, is the right move, but so far, Omar has been seemingly doing the impossible, which is fielding a great team in the present while creating an organization filled with potential stars in the future (Pelfrey, Milledge, Martinez, Gomez, et al- whether he drafted them or inherited them)...much like the Yankees 90's dynasty...and Omar remains a modest, approachable and warm person under scrutiny the likes of which most of us will never come close to being under in our day jobs. Omar is an expert at shifting gears, from acquiring tons of bullpen help at, seemingly, the cost of the rotation, only to land 3 potential starters in 72 hours without giving up anything at a time when practically every other team in the sport is looking for starting first, it seemed like this year's version of our bench would fall far short of last year's, and then Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez, two players Omar believed in, start coming on strong for us and once again the bench is a major strength for us...with Omar at the wheel, any deal is possible, no player is untouchable and the days of losing players such as Alex Rodriguez are long's still a long season, but this is merely the first report card of the year, and so Omar's grade:

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