Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wilpon Owns Up

Fred Wilpon takes responsibility for the inept handling of the Willie Randolph firing:
"I said (to Omar Minaya) 'When are you going to do this?' He said 'After the game (Mets-Angels, June 16).' I wasn't smart enough to say, 'And cut the New York press out of it?' I didn't even think of it," Wilpon said. "I screwed up."

Wilpon said Minaya was concerned the story would leak out if he didn't tell Randolph after the game (the firing went public at 3:18 a.m. New York time).

"I should have said 'Let's balance,'" Wilpon said. "'Either it may leak or why not just do it the next morning? Do it in the morning.' "
The first spin on this was "why did they do it so late?!" The response was "relax, it was only midnight Pacific time." The point, though, that Wilpon seems to now understand, is not that it was rude to Randolph as such -- at least the time wasn't; he was still left to dangle in some important ways -- but that it was rude to fans and the public to do it in a way avoided the press in such a calculated, or at least seemingly calculated way.

I'm not suggesting that teams have some fiduciary responsibility to the press itself, and yes I know they're a private business, but given how much support they get from the people of New York, I think they do have some kind of, I dunno, moral obligation to operate as transparently as possible or at least be straight up with the fans. Firing the field manager is a matter of great public interest to the folks who keep that ballclub afloat, and it just seems right to avoid the kind of secretive nonsense that went down in connection with the Randolph firing.

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