Chris Carlin and Kim Jones of WFAN had Willie Randolph on as a guest yesterday, and he had a lot to say about a lot of things. After spending a good deal of time talking about the New York Giants, the conversation eventually moved on to the Mets. I transcribed it for you and will post it in two parts with the rest of the interview going up later today.
Attitude – People wanted me to get fired up and show them I was upset at the way things were going. They wanted me to pick up and throw the water cooler, and in fact I did only never in public. Every once in a while you get fired up and you want the guys to know that you are upset at the way things are going.
The Collapse – I still never got it out of my system. You have to learn to let it go a little bit, but for me it was during the quiet times when I am alone and think back to all those games in May or June, they just jump out at you and you end up wondering about all of the little things we should have done right. Sometimes I’m sitting on my couch and I have flashbacks about all those games we should have won.
The 2008 Season – Going into the new year I feel real good about things because I think we all learned a lot of things. I’ve been talking to all of the guys and I think they feel good too. Everyone that I’ve talked to can’t wait to get back at it. They know that they wasted a golden opportunity and can’t wait to redeem themselves. I’ve talked to most of the guys more this off-season than I have in the past because of the way the season ended. It was so sudden and such a shock that I had to check in with the younger guys to see where their heads were at.
Tom Glavine, Paul Lo Duca, Leadership – I think if Moises Alou stays healthy, and I know that’s a big if, he could be one of those guys. Last year he admitted that he never was really comfortable interjecting. I told him that most of these guys respect what he has done in his career and really look up to him, and he should not be afraid to voice his opinions. I am a firm believer that people don’t have to lead the way they (Glavine, Lo Duca) did. As long as you’re on the field everyday and producing, people will look up to you and listen to what you have to say. Paulie did his own thing and he was fiery and emotional, and of course Tommy was the guy who would speak up at our meetings and they both contributed that way, but sometimes that kind of leadership is a little overrated. This year the Mets will get most of their leadership from the coaching staff and their manager.
Moises Alou – He is very important because he’s the kind of guy that will lead by example. He loves to be in a big spot and his confidence exudes when he is on the field and I think that can become contagious for us. He is going to play a lot, but not every day as I expect some other guys to pick him up for about 60 games or so, because my key for him is to keep him healthy.
*** I really love Willie… he is an eternal optimist and the Mets will need that optimisim more than ever in 2008. As a manager I thought he regressed some last season and I questioned many of his head-scratching decisions. However, managers are like players and you need to let them mature and grow. Willie is the perfect manager for this team right now. That being said, I believe he will be on the hot-seat this season and will need a great start before he can move past that kind of talk. His immediate future is certainly tied to the teams performance in 2008.
In the second part of his interview, Willie discusses Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Carlos Delgado and Johan Santana.