You said it, Willie.
Not about racism (for the record, the intimation Willie “played the race card” is a joke — he just raised the issue, as is his right to do), but about the fact that something stinks around here.
The Randolph Era is beginning to look like another mangerial tenure destined to end unhappily and soon, and that’s a shame: While I’ve never been a great Willie fan I feel terrible about how the fans (and players… and some journalists) have been treating him. I admire his iconoclasm and desire to be dignified: It’s just that this team isn’t lending itself to either end. We don’t need tortured interpretations of pinch-running tendencies and pretend outrage based on willfull misinterpretation of since retratcted quotes (complete with the “I-can’t-believe-I-used-to-idolize-this-guy” piling on). The team is at sea, and it doesn’t appear that Randolph is capable of rallying them to greater success anymore.
If he’s lost the team, that’s when he goes, and no sooner.
Interesting factoid about Mike Piazza: He was assigned No. 31 in Los Angeles when it became available following Roger McDowell‘s switch from 31 to 17. McDowell, the former Met, switched to 17so as to honor his ex-Met teammate Keith Hernandez. Hernandez, of course, wore 17 in New York because 37 — his number in St. Louis — had been retired for Casey Stengel (and 7, 27 and 47 were already issued).