It’s that time of year again, kids. Once again, it’s the end of June. Summer has officially begun, the kids are out of school, the beaches have opened and Managers and GMs are updating their resumes. Yes, this is the time when underperforming teams realize they suck and decide to start rolling heads, whether they deserve it or not.
Most predictably on the chopping block were the heads of the Seattle Mariners’ Manger, John McLaren, and the General Manager, Bill Bavasi. Prior to the start of this season, many people believed the Seattle Mariners were a serious contender this year for the American League West, after showing such promise by barely missing the Wild Card in 2007 and acquiring Baltimore Orioles ace, Eric Bedard in an off-season trade. For the first time in about a decade, the fans of Seattle were looking forward to a summer of Mariners baseball. Unfortunately for them, it hasn’t worked out that way. In fact, they’ve been one of the worst teams in baseball.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure heads would roll in Seattle. So last week the Mariners decided it was time to let McLaren and Bavasi go. One can’t help but wonder if Ichiro Suzuki regrets extending his contract.
Another team that’s failed to live up to expectations is the Toronto Blue Jays. This was yet another team that was expected to be a major contender. With a pitching staff that includes A.J. Burnett, 2003 Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, and key acquisitions of Scott Rolen and David Eckstein, the Blue Jays were expected to be major players in the American League East, rivaling the Yankees and Red Sox. But, of course, the American League East has been a crazy division with the Yankees spending a good portion of the season in the basement and the Tampa Bay “Don’t call us Devil” Rays actually leading the division for a significant portion of the season (which I believe is a sign of the coming apocalypse). Somewhere along the line, the Blue Jays just stuttered and then collapsed.
Blue Jays GM, J.P. Ricciardi was left with the task of firing the Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons, who coincidentally was one of his closest friends. Then for an encore, Ricciardi went on the radio and personally ripped into Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Dunn for basically no reason at all. What a week! Gibbons has been replaced by Cito Gaston who led the Blue Jays to World Championships in 1992 and 1993.
And then comes the big one. With the way the New York Mets had been playing, you had to figure that somebody was going to get fired. This was a team that was supposed to run away with a World Championship in 2007 and then suffered one of the worst collapses in baseball history. One wonders if the Baseball Gods were punishing the Mets for their hubris with their cheesy “Our Team, Our Time” song that was practically getting the polish ready for their World Series rings. Then the Mets went out and acquired Minnesota Twins ace, and two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana. This was the move that was supposed to push the Mets to the top. Once again, the Mets were supposed to run away with it all this year…….and they’ve fallen apart. It was time for somebody to get the axe in Flushing.
To say the Mets could have handled the firing of Manager Willie Randolph better would be like saying the Titanic had a leak. For a while, rumors of his immanent firing circulated, but then were dismissed by GM Omar Minaya. But a few weeks later, when rumors began to circulate again, it became pretty clear that somebody in the Mets’ front office *coughthewilponscough* wanted Randolph gone. So rather than handling it quickly and respectfully, the Mets decided to fly him our to California, wait until the team won a game and then wake him up in the middle of the night to tell him he’s fired. But on the plus side, at least they covered the expenses for his hotel room. Along with Randolph, Pitching Coach Rick Peterson and First Base Coach Tom Nieto were fired. Replacing Randolph is Jerry Manuel. Shockingly, Omar Minaya still has a job……….for now.
Posted originally: 2008-06-24 21:46:07