Keith Hernandez says that Willie Randolph lost the Latin players in his clubhouse last year:
I don't know. I am not in that clubhouse. You know there's a code of silence in the clubhouse, and things are kept in house. But I do know that a lot of the Latin players — and the key Latin players — did not like Willie. And that's why they probably felt the move had to be made. Because they weren't performing. And all of a sudden Jerry Manuel comes in and it's like someone turned a light switch on. And all of a sudden Delgado is out of his slump and Reyes is playing like heck. So you know, it's one of those things.
I take this to mean that the players were less enthusiastic to play for Randolph and that general lack of enthusiasm translated into poor play as opposed to anyone intentionally dogging it. Either way, clubhouse dynamics are something those of us on the outside really don't and can't easily understand, so it's interesting to hear Hernandez's opinion on this. I'll only add that Randolph's apparent loss of the Latin vote, as it were, had additional consequences among the non-Latins on the team. You'll recall Billy Wagner going off last year about how Delgado and some other players weren't hanging around after games to meet the press? If Hernandez is right, they were probably doing that to hang Randolph out to dry, and in turn that hung guys like Wagner out to dry. That whole dynamic is on the manager in my view.
The funny thing is, there is evidence now that Jerry Manuel is losing his players too, with Johan Santana ignoring his signs Tuesday night and David Wright recently seen imploring Manuel to get out on the field and argue a call that went against the Mets (Manuel didn't). So maybe it's just a New York thing.
In other news there would be worse things for Bobby Valentine to be doing than updating his resume right now.