Wagner On Willie

With all the Willie bashing and contrasting love for Jerry Manuel, I feel it appropriate to post the following, a quote from Billy Wagner given to the Daily News:

As for Manuel’s managerial style since replacing Willie Randolph in June, Wagner said, “I keep hearing about Willie getting bashed. But Willie, in all respect, had no real influence on how we were playing. We’re all individuals, were all playing hard, but we just weren’t getting it done, earlier this year and the end of last year.

“I’d probably say his best managing was when we were not playing well. He was trying to make the most of it, trying to make things happen, and those things weren’t happening. But for whatever reason, when Jerry was named interim manager … we just finally hit our stride.”

No comment from me … just trying to help balance the heavy pile on Willie in the media / on the blogs this year.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 September 8, 2008 at 8:47 am
    Yet, this is also a guy who said:

    Moreover, Wagner – who told ESPN, “I don’t want to bash Willie, because I liked him. But before, it was more of The Yankee Way. It wasn’t The Mets Way” – said Manuel’s personal connection with the players, from a kick in the rear to a soothing word in their ear, has been the key.

    “I think we all know there’s an urgency in here, and we see it through our manager who – in a 10-2 ballgame, (Ryan) Howard’s (fan) interference call home run – goes out there and gets thrown out of a ballgame. I think you see the urgency,” Wagner said, referring to his July 7 ejection for arguing a homer that was initially ruled a ground-rule double.

    “But he also has a way of coming in when you’ve had a tough game he lifts your spirits up. Some of the bad games I’ve had, he walked by me and said ‘Hey, I ain’t worried about you.’ That means a lot, veteran or rookie when your manager walks by you with a tap on the back or a boot to the butt. Everybody falls into have fun, play hard, play fearless and it’s worked.”


  2. Micalpalyn September 8, 2008 at 10:57 am
    Kudos walnutz….beat me 2 it……………
  3. Walnutz15 September 8, 2008 at 11:06 am
    I just think that now that the dust has settled — with the chips landing where they have……that some are going to back-track, and defend Willie’s “class and dignity” for some reason or another.

    Nobody ever went against the grain, there. Willie’s a classy man.

    Doesn’t make me forget the times he blamed things on the fans, instead of his mega-millionaire roster….

    Doesn’t make me forget the time he said that Met fans were nowhere to be found before he was hired…..

    Doesn’t make me forget his absolute timid-nature when it came to going out and sticking up for his players on the field.

    I won’t pull any punches. I’m elated that Willie Randolph is not the manager of this team anymore — and that the team’s success has seemingly coincided with his firing.

    There were too many things going on at the time — that told me it could only be downhill from there. A team that played inconsistent baseball, with a manager that seemed unwilling to kick their arses in public about it…..was not going to work.

    Manuel has had his players backs — moreover, their best interests — from Day 1. And I mean this, from the get-go, sitting Reyes to get some rest….in lieu of having him go back out and risking a strain in Anaheim.

    Part of the problem with Willie and Delgado — is that Willie NEVER sat Delgado……even when he was playing banged-up. See if that’s gonna work out, over-time……

    Coincidentally enough, I think that the straw that broke Willie’s back was NOT arguing Delgado’s 3-run homer at Yankee Stadium. Alomar went nuts — hell, Manuel got TOSSED from the bench…..yet Willie was calm as ever; no coincidence, in his “professional” “business-as-usual” corporate home at Yankee Stadium.

    God forbid he raised his voice — or showed a pulse.

    I like Manuel’s GANGSTA-Mets. He’ll hold you accountable……and call you out when you don’t produce.

    At the same time, he’s got your back.


  4. joe September 8, 2008 at 11:34 am
    ok i’ll make one comment …. Randolph did bench Delgado … and Delgado hit .325 over the next ten days. Then Randolph was fired.

    This team is winning because of one person, it’s true: Delgado. With Delgado carrying the team since July, you could have Helen Keller managing it and they’ll win.

    If Delgado stops hitting, the public challenges and drawn-out mumbling will get really old, really quick. Hopefully Carlos keeps going through October.

  5. Walnutz15 September 8, 2008 at 12:06 pm
    Ehh, he got “benched” for 2 games vs. tough lefties…..

    That was something that should’ve been implemented many moons ago — and not “new development” strategy for Mr. Randolph. Another of his managerial problems — adjustments.

    But yes…….it has always been clear; and a point I’d driven home with all who’d listen. Delgado would be the key “bridge” in this Met lineup; between Beltran and Alou.

    The Mets were without all 3 of them for far too long a time….in terms of clicking on all cylinders.

    At least it’s been nice to have Beltran and Delgado back at full force. Not something you could necessarily write off as “academic” under their previous manager.

    I think that both players have enjoyed the regime change…..much moreso than they’d eevr lead on publicly.

  6. joe September 8, 2008 at 12:40 pm
    You think? Isn’t much of a doubt from my perspective. It’s not a secret that Willie criticized both in “closed door” meetings that Tony Bernazard chose to make “open door”.

    If I were either of those guys, I’d be thrilled too. How can you be happy when you know your boss thinks you’re not giving 100%?

  7. murph September 8, 2008 at 12:59 pm
    In baseball, just like in any business, a manager’s performance can be measured by the results of the team.

    Bottom line: Randolph didn’t get it done in 2007, and wasn’t getting it done in 2008. Manuel will be judged the same way. These next 3 weeks are going to be crucial to Manuel’s legacy, and possibly his Mets future.

  8. Walnutz15 September 8, 2008 at 1:14 pm
    Willie’s in-house approach wasn’t working anyway….glad that some dirty-laundry was aired-out — especially if it meant that these guys would actually respond to it.

    P.S. — Wagner’s headed for surgery over the weekend, and will be out a year.

    Let the overbearing K-Rod talk begin — for a whole winter, to boot.

  9. joe September 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm
    The in-house approach was set down from the top, meaning the Wilpons. They never liked their dirty laundry aired out. That was one of the reasons they were on board with Omar’s choice of Willie in the first place — they wanted to be like the Yankees.

    It was only after starting the season in fourth place, the postseason looking like a pipe dream, and TICKET SALES SLUMPING that they became desperate and changed everything.

    How soon we forget …. you don’t remember the comments in May and June on MetsBlog and other forums talking about how people weren’t buying tickets and sales reps were ready to jump off bridges?

  10. Micalpalyn September 8, 2008 at 1:57 pm
    2 cent opinion;

    a. i cant say i am happy about the willie fiasco, if he was fired last off-season very few would have said much. Then again the wilpons would have been panned as ‘classless’. BUT i for one hate the way Willie managed. In all 3.5 yrs. from game 1 when he let Loop blow pedro’s 1st game then allowed him to blow a potential WC season.

    b. But in the same context its not like the Art Howe firing was any better. This after art howe was told to play Piazza at 1st and have Reyes play 2nd base. Then after he was fired…publicly had to stay and manage the rest of the season.

    c. In the 60+ games Manuel has had win or lose i never had that sinking feeling i had when Willie was in charge.

    d. Future: I think Omar can sleep well knowing Manuel is handling both his high priced stars AND his future gems. Even if nises, murph, Evans, Parnall, muniz, kunz dont makr it with the Mets I think all of this set have accrued enough value that when traded it wont be for spare parts. It WOULD have been interesting to see manuel handle say a BJ upton, Elijah dukes or LASTINGS Milledge.

  11. Taylor September 8, 2008 at 3:45 pm
    I can’t really decide whether to attribute the Mets’ turnaround to Manuel replacing Willie. Its just such a huge difference its hard not to think that.

    If it is due to Willie’s firing then its something whereby a great many of the players on the team are suddenly just playing better. I’ve wondered if Randolph didn’t somehow sap the player’s confidence with subtle negativity.

    You can’t always be emphasizing to players what their limitations are. You want them to feel like they can do great things. You want them chomping at the bit to go out and show what they can do.

    Guys like Easley, Tatis, Chavez and Schneider have been so much better that its hard not to think that Manuel’s attitude has something to do with it.

    I don’t know what to think. Its sort of magical thinking to believe that a guy can come in and make so many players suddenly start playing so much better.

    Also I think they started playing better a few games before Randolph was fired.