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Queens fans cry foul at Randolph’s ouster

Mets manager Willie Randolph's midnight firing sparked an uproar in Bayside as Mets fans came to terms with the team's sudden decision Monday night to replace Randolph with bench coach Jerry Manuel midseason.

"I'm really upset," said Sharon Salamon, 26, of Bayside, who believes Randolph's firing was unfair. "He's not holding the bat or ball; he's not responsible for how poorly the team is performing."

Randolph, the team's manager since 2005, was let go at midnight in California following the team's two wins over the Anaheim Angels.

His abrupt termination came as a surprise to fans.

"This shows that the team has no class and no style," said 66-year-old Richard Murphy, a Bayside resident. "They've gone way down."

"You can't blame the manager all the time for the players," said Ike Dennis, 45, of Baldwin.

"At least they left Manuel," said Marty Pollak, a 55-year-old businessman from Syosset. L.I., who has been working on Bell Blvd. for 30 years.

Jerry Manuel, the interim manager, has been the Mets bench coach since 2006. Before joining the Mets, Manuel served as the Chicago White Sox's manager from 1998-2003. During that time, the Associated Press named Manuel the 2000 American League Manager of the Year.

"It's not a Yankees situation with Joe Girardi, where a stranger is running the show," Pollak said. Even though he is a fan of Randolph, he said it was just a matter of time before Randolph was replaced.

"They spend so much money on players to make them play well. None of this is Randolph's fault," Pollak said.

In 2006, Randolph brought the team just a victory short of playing in the World Series. That same year the Baseball Writers' Association of America awarded him second place for the title of National League Manager of the Year. Randolph's career came under fire in 2007 when the Mets had a seven-game lead in the National League East and lost the division on the final day of the regular season.

"I liked him. I thought they'd see him through this stretch of uncertainty," Pollak said.

"Every move he made, he was just unlucky. The more he did, the worse it got," said Chris McVetty, 33, a Manhattan resident who works in Queens. McVetty conceded that Randolph did try his best with the team, but did not get the results he had hoped for.

"That's just how it is. It's all about winning these days," said 27-year-old Antonio C. of Ozone Park.

"It's just [veteran players Carlos] Delgado and [Carlos] Beltran running things now," said McVetty, suggesting Randolph was never given complete control of the Mets since becoming manager. "They're letting the inmates run the asylum."

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