Queens is Burning

What a crazy day yesterday was.

Rick Down was fired as hitting coach. Rickey Henderson was added to the coaching staff but to an unannounced position. He may be hitting coach but so may Howard Johnson who filled the duty last night as Henderson couldn’t get to New York from Oakland in time for the game. After the move was made manager Willie Randolph came out in support of Down and general manager Omar Minaya was left having to explain the move. It was obviously a move made to send a message to the players but it revealed an interesting side to the Randolph-Minaya relationship that has never been seen publicly until now.

After rumors that either David Newhan or Sandy Alomar Jr. would be sent down to AAA to make room for Lastings Milledge to return it was Julio Franco who ended up being cut. After Franco was designated for assignment it was revealed in an article by Marty Noble of MLB.com that Franco has been talking privately about a lack of playing time and had planned on asking for his release. Is this a chicken or the egg issue?

Then it was revealed that during the All Star break second baseman Jose Valentin injured his hand will “trying to avoid” a fight. Apparently he got into an argument with an ownership partner in a Puerto Rican baseball team and slammed his hand on a desk instead of taking a swing at the guy. X-rays were negative and Valentin is listed as day to day. He says he’ll be ready to play again in a couple of days.

During the day it was also rumored that the Mets may trade for Chicago White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye. The teams obviously had no comment about this rumor.

Despite all of the off field distractions the team came ready to play. Jose Reyes and Ruben Gotay started the game with back to back home runs. It was the first time in Mets history that their first two batters hit homers to start a game. Later on Milledge came around from first on a Gotay single to score the game winning run.

All that was missing was Fred Wilpon in a turtleneck shirt and blazer.

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