Sportsbloggers and media types alike have been piling on Omar Minaya after his late-night, West Coast firing of Mets manager Willie Randolph, and why shouldn't they? Minaya's presser yesterday was an awkward and lugubrious P.R. nightmare and he did nothing to exonerate his actions from the night before.
But still, he indirectly attacked the media and blamed them for creating an atmosphere of uncertainty; they basically pushed him to make the move. From Matthew Cerrone's MetsBlog:
"He said, most managers get fired at lunch, in the morning or after the game, but because he works in a market with so much media and sources, he felt he needed to tell him the minute he made the decision, "And that's why it was done last night," because he didn't want a third party to tell Randolph first."
Plain and simple: Minaya made the decision the night before, spread the information through the Mets organization the next day, and the media forced his hand to fire Willie Randolph immediately after the game. Minaya's saving grace was that he was able to prevent Willie Randolph from learning about his dismissal while in uniform from an outside source!
Heck, two hours before Randolph's last game as manager, the rumors had begun bubbling up. Will Carroll learned that pitching coach Rick Peterson was to be fired from a 'source', he contacted another source in the Mets' organization who denied the rumor, and he was forced to rescind the news even though the entire Mets organization minus the coaching staff knew it was true.
He fired Randolph at the team hotel at approximately 11PM PDT and the email went out to the media at about midnight. The newspaper guys were all up in arms because Omar made the firing after the local papers had already gone to print. No offense, newspaper guys, but Omar Minaya owes you nothing. There's a 24-hour news cycle nowadays (as hack as that sounds) so we're so so sorry the stupid New York Post had to wait another day to print their hack headline. Yes the firing was handled improperly, but no, it wasn't because they did it at 3AM EDT.
I don't like Omar Minaya's methodology to building a team and I don't think he was right to fire Willie Randolph. Still, I don't think hiring Willie or firing Willie was entirely his choice. Owner Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff (the COO) were enthusiastic to hire a minority manager, the first in New York baseball history. They celebrate the diversity of the team and their fans, and are dedicating the front rotunda of the new CitiField to baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson.
But the Wilpons most likely reached their end when Randolph played the race card in an newspaper interview as the reason he was being criticized as manager. I don't believe that this was 100% Minaya's decision. No one does, regardless of how much he protested during his press conference.