Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

UPDATES: Manuel stays in 53Oberkfell wearing 55 (formerly belonging to Nieto); Aguayo in 51(formerly Peterson) and Warthen in 59 (most recently belonging to … oh my). Meantime, looks like the same old Mets are back.I may wanna do that myself

If the smoke ever clears from the debate of what level of “class” was exhibited in the late-night canning of Willie Randolph, we just might before too long see it wasn’t such a bad decision after all.

For as bad as Randolph’s firing looked, and for as excrutiatingly pitiful as Omar Minaya’s attempt at spin this evening was, Jerry Manuel’s introductory press chat that followed was every bit as encouraging.

After years of hearing Met executives improvising earnest but evasive nonanswers and mindless platitudes about getting on the same page and winning, I’m pretty sure I heard Manuel say four things I only dreamed Willie ever would:

* The bullpen needs more rigid structuring of roles.

* Running and bunting are strategies to be employed judiciously.

* The regulars look worn out and could use a break.

* Sandy Alomar shouldn’t be coaching third base.

How hard was that? While the clamoring for his head no doubt turned Willie into a sympathetic figure as his clock wound down — particularly with me — and as much as in my heart I believe the team could somehow have found the effort to successfully grind it out even with him on board, I don’t think Willie’s stubbornness would ever soften to a point where those simple objectives could be achieved.

It’s one thing to talk a good game and quite another to execute on these goals. And it’s entirely possible those goals are acheived and the team continues to disappoint. But I have to admit it: I am encouraged.

Let’s Go Mets!

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