In spite of the fact that both of their teams are a game below .500, those who are clamoring for John Gibbons' dismissal shouldn't take the midnight execution of the Mets' bench boss Willie Randolph as a sign that Gibby should be going next.
Let's remember that the Mets were absolutely built to win NOW. They have brought in big names (Pedro, Beltran, Delgado, Wagner, Santana) and built from within (Wright, Reyes, Pelfrey), and this was supposed to be a powerhouse. They have the third largest payroll at more than $138 million, which is actually more than the Red Sox are spending. They were also number three in payroll last year when the team went into the crapper in the final month of the season.
It's hard for us to say what Randolph's role was in the decline of the Flushing Nine. Certainly, some of those big acquisitions have underperformed in recent years (looking your way, Carlos), and it's hard to stick that on Randolph.
But one distinction we would make between Gibby and Willie is the manner in which the folksy, taciturn Texan has learned to deal with the media. Sure, Toronto isn't New York, but with three national sports networks, lots of talk radio and four dailies following the team around, Gibby's job in handling the media is no walk in the park.
Unlike Randolph, Gibbons has learned to give polite and usually honest answers without throwing his players under the bus or escalating the situation when things are going poorly. We tend not to give the man any credit because we're all a bunch of self-satisfied arrogant Canadians who figure than anyone with a Southern drawl must be a hick and a dope. But Gibby's learned from his run-ins with players in the past, and knows that giving the press an "aw shucks" bon mot will usually get them off his back and diffuse the situation.
It's not to say that we think that Gibby's got a ton of rope: both he and J.P. are meat if the seats in the SkyDome don't start to fill up soon, because the Rogers folks are focussed on the bottom line of the time above most everything else.