Clumsy at best, callous at worst, the New York Mets this past Tuesday morning unwittingly provided every organization with a blueprint of how not to handle a management shake up.
GM Omar Minaya relieved Willie Randolph of his manager position at the Mets after weeks of speculation of whether or not he would get the ax. As on-field leader of an underachieving team with a $140 million payroll, the move was understandable. The manner in which it was carried out, however, was not.
The 3am EST e-mail that announced the firing signals a gross misunderstanding of today's media. It's hard to view this as anything other than an attempt to avoid next day's print editions.
Minaya flew to Anaheim, CA, where the Mets were playing the Angels, to dismiss Randolph. He said he was concerned that waiting until a normal hour Tuesday to would allow word to leak to the press and, in turn, Randolph would have found out elsewhere.
The media jumped all over the club including Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who wrote, "The Mets firing of Randolph... will go down as one of the most disgraceful episodes in sports history." Given that this is an $800 million franchise, replacing the word "sports" with "corporate" is reasonable.
Firing him at a more sensible time - like Saturday, when the Mets got rained out - would have given the team and its communications department ample time for planning.
Public dismissals are never easy. And while timing might not account for everything, it is important. The Mets - a team that has committed its fair share of errors this season - committed a huge one here. It doesn't appear the PR director was in front of the story for the press or the players/employees. Companies facing similar, though likely far less scrutinized situations, would do well to learn from it.