Thursday, June 19, 2008
Updated: June 20, 2:55 PM ET
How should you say "You're fired"?
By Jim Caple
"I know the perception is the way that it was handled, it was disrespectful. The reason it was handled quickly was out of respect for Willie. It was done quick. I don't believe in firing a manager at the game in uniform. That would have been more of disrespect to Willie Randolph. It wasn't going to happen.
I didn't realize that firing a manager while he's wearing his uniform is a sign of disrespect. Then again, as a baseball writer I'm used to standing in a manager's office while he answers questions in his underwear, his mouth full of pasta and Alfredo sauce spilling down his chin, so I may not be the best person to ask about what is the proper way to show respect to a manager.
For that matter, is there such a thing as a respectful way to tell someone he sucks at his job, that he has personally brought unhappiness and angst to millions of people, wasted a $120 million investment and that you no longer want anything to do with him? As it turns out there is. And here are the Miss Manners rules of etiquette for firing a manager.
First, some additional disrespectful ways of firing a manager Minaya failed to mention:
1. Having the manager escorted from the stadium by Mr. Met and Lady Met.
2. Meeting with him when he's still wearing his baseball uniform, then ordering him to change out of his uniform and into a vendor's uniform while informing him that he hasn't been fired, just "re-assigned" to the concession stands selling ice cream sundaes served up in mini-helmets.
3. Announcing the firing on the stadium scoreboard in between the pizza-delivery race and the Guess the Attendance game.
4. Texting him without even bothering to spell out the word "You're," instead typing "U R fired."
5. Waking him up in the middle of the night in his hotel room and telling him that you need to speak to him first thing in the morning about something very, very important, but you can't tell him what right now because you don't want to ruin his night's sleep, then adding that, oh, he probably should avoid ordering an InDemand movie or room service for breakfast or using the minibar unless he's willing to pay for it himself.
6. Giving him the bad news via signs flashed by the third-base coach during the bottom of the sixth inning.
7. Calling up his weekly radio show, identifying yourself as "Omar from Flushing" and announcing that he's been fired.
8. Firing him while he's in uniform AND wearing a fake nose and glasses.
9. Offering him a 50 percent pay cut after leading the team to four World Series titles, six pennants and a dozen consecutive postseason appearances.
10. Ordering him to finish out his contract as Mr. Met.
Unfortunately, there aren't 10 corresponding respectful ways of firing someone but there are three methods that will take the sting out of being let go:
1. Thanking him for his considerable efforts and tremendous dedication to the job, wishing him good luck with whatever he does in the future, offering to provide him a good reference and asking whether he wants the remaining $3.25 million on his contract in a lump sum or spread out over the next two years for tax purposes.
2. Telling him that he'll never have to manage the Royals again.
3. Firing him before he blows a seven-game lead in mid-September, misses the postseason despite a $115 million payroll and forever tarnishes his reputation.
BOX SCORE LINE OF THE WEEK
In our never-ending quest to bring you the finest in box-score lines, we go to Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium, home of the College World Series, where Stanford and Florida State played a rather interesting game last weekend. After Florida State tied the game with a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, Stanford broke open the game with 11 runs in the top of the ninth to win 16-5. Buster Posey took the brunt of the damage, although his defense didn't exactly help him out. His line:
1/3 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
Posey need not feel too badly. He hit .460 this season as Florida State's catcher and occasional closer, played all nine positions in one game, was named the national player of the year and was the No. 5 pick in the draft.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
-- Mets general manager Omar Minaya, explaining to USA Today why he fired Willie Randolph as manager at the hotel following the game