In Firing Their Manager, Mets Prove That Timing is Everything

Last Updated Jun 18, 2008 12:22 PM EDT

Everyone in New York, and every baseball fan, knew the Mets were going to announce the firing of under-performing manager Willie Randolph. It wasn't a matter of if, but when.

It turned out that when was at 12:15 am early Tuesday morning on the West Coast, which was 3:15 am back where it mattered, New York City.

The man who fired him, GM Omar Minaya, justified the timing by saying he waited until the Monday night game in Southern California ended and Randolph had a chance to a) get out of his game uniform, b) shower up and c) meet Minaya off-site. Pretty corporate sounding. Since the game ended around 10:15 pm, the timetable seems sensible and rational.

Which just goes to show how far "sensible and rational" go when you're making a public announcement.
In New York, and across the sports world, the Mets and Minaya have been ripped for the "middle of the night" firing and announcement, as if the Mets thought they could sneak the news by everyone while they slept. Instead of management getting credit for making a long-overdue decision that is probably the Mets' only chance to salvage their season, the story became the ineptitude of Mets management, as symbolized by their dark-of-night manueverings.

Sometimes, you can't control timing. But in this case, the whole thing was up to Minaya, and he whiffed. If I were his PR counsel, I would have said:

  • Don't fire him on the West Coast, it will look like you're trying to run away
  • Do it with dignity at your home ballpark or at least in New York
  • Feed it right into the heart of the news cycle so they can chew on it and then move on
  • Have your messages ready regarding a) the value of Randolph's past contribution and b) why the team needed a new leader now
  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.