Former Mets manager says his firing came as a surprise

NEW YORK -- Willie Randolph figured the New York Mets would
fire someone. He just didn't think general manager Omar Minaya
would pick him.

"I thought he was talking about whacking a couple of my
coaches," the ex-manager told several New York-area newspapers
Wednesday outside his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

"That's why I was stunned. I didn't think it was going to
happen," Randolph said. "At the time, I felt the way he was
talking to me, that I was pretty secure for the time being."

Minaya fired Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first
base coach Tom Nieto after Monday night's win over the Los Angeles

A day after splitting a doubleheader with Texas at home, the
Mets traveled to the West Coast to start the series in Anaheim,
Calif. The firings were announced in an e-mail at 12:14 a.m. PDT

"Not the way I would have handled it," he said. "Bottom line,
it is what it is."

Randolph said he watched some of the Mets' 6-1 loss to the
Angels on Tuesday night. Bench coach Jerry Manuel was promoted to
run the team the rest of the season.

Randolph was dismissed with the Mets struggling below .500.

"I felt all along this team would play better and we would
eventually get into the season and really do well. In my mind, this
all happened way, way too early," he said.

Randolph was set to be an NL coach next month in the All-Star
game at Yankee Stadium -- where he played and coached for long
periods -- and said he still hoped to take part.

At 53, Randolph also would like to manage again.

"I'm not ready to retire," he said. "Once you get a taste of
managing, it's kind of cool."