Sometimes the Manager Takes the Fall

Willy Randolph and his pitching coach Rick Peterson took the fall in New York as the Mets dumped both - even though the team has a better record to date than the Dodgers (who were accurately labeled "mediocre" this past weekend when they were swept by the equally inept and underperforming Tigers).

Randolph clearly took the fall for the Mets GM Omar Minaya. Minaya is the guy who assembled the squad Randolph had to manage. It was Minaya who saddled Randolph with overpaid Carlos Delgado, and the aged Alou

It was Minaya who didn't address the Mets pitching shortages during the off-season.

A manager makes some difference but truth be known not all that much. The GM makes a bigger difference and should take the praise when its due and the blame when that is the case.

Look at the Dodgers. It ain't Joe Torre's fault both Brad Penny and Derek Lowe, the 1-2 starters and planned "stoppers" suddenly fell off a cliff together. Torre didn't pick the long-gone Esteban Loaiza. Etc., etc., etc.

Now there are times when a powerful manager can exert tremendous influence on the front office. One case in point was the tandem of manager Tommy Lasorda and GM Fred Claire.

Now almost two decades later it is GM Claire who is remembered as the guy who traded Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields but it was in fact manager Lasorda who engineered that trade, convinced that Martinez was "too small" to be a big league pitcher and that HE had suckered the Expos into giving up the wonderful DeShields. That was what Lasorda publicly bragged when the trade was made.

Randolph was fired the same day the Seattle Mariners, instead of firing the manager, fired their GM Billy Bavasi. There will be others fired this year, as every year, both GMs and managers. Particularly when there are plenty of overpaid and underachieving ballclubs, the Dodgers included.

The $64 question in LA is what if anything the Dodgers will do to right their ship? No team is ever as bad as when they have a down season or as good as when fortune smiles their way.

That being said, the Dodgers, will only a single post season game won in over 20 years, look suddenly like anything but a candidate for post season play anytime soon.

The Dodgers won't get anything near the value for a Penny or a Lowe that they might have gotten before the season started. And that's the chances you take with the judgments you make.

The Dodgers are pretty laid back. They are not likely to pull any premature plugs just yet.

The thing about being an old writer is that older people can fine-tune memories into an art form. Frankly, these days we have to go back to the O'Malley years to remember a winning Dodgers team. And frankly the O'Malley Dodgers seems like so, so long ago.