Willie's firing evokes memories of odd exterminations from the past
It's never easy being told you're not wanted, that the organization is going in a different direction and that your services will no longer be needed. You can couch it in a thousand euphemisms -- all related to "philosophical differences," of course -- but it doesn't change the fact that you've just been fired.
For a coach, losing a job is hard enough, but to learn about it on the road, after a win, at about midnight in an unfamiliar hotel, as Mets manager
But in sports, where job terminations are frequent, "coaches are hired to be fired." And although Randolph's dismissal was classless and crass, it doesn't come close to being the most outrageous firing in professional sports. In fact, it may not even be the strangest firing in New York baseball history. Remember that the Mets share the city with the Yankees and their longtime owner
From 1973-92, the Yankees managerial position had more turnover than the Baltimore Ravens' offense, with 13 different coaches occupying the spot during that period.
Arguably the most memorable of those firings came in November 1980. After Yankees manager
Steinbrenner's press conference, though, looks civil in comparison to the notable 2005 on-court near-firing of
As the game wore on, Anthony became so incensed with McElhiney that she eventually marched out onto the court during the middle of the game and fired her on the spot. Anthony had to be restrained by security and escorted off the court. McElhiney was "reinstated" as head coach by the other co-owners of the team but eventually resigned after the season ended. The Nashville franchise folded nine months later.
In truth, though, most firings aren't done quite so publicly. Sometimes they're done so privately that the coach barely knows it's happened at all. Take for example former Chicago Blackhawks coach
And remember former Toronto Maple Leafs coach and general manager
Three seasons earlier, Ballard orchestrated one of the most bizarre layoff ordeals ever when he fired head coach
"Everybody kind of looked at me. I just threw my hands up and said, 'I don't know,' " Neilson told SI in 1990.
Nothing even semi-official actually happened until March 1, when the Maple Leafs GM
Ironically enough, the "mystery coach" episode wasn't the last time Neilson would be unceremoniously fired. In 1999-2000, while coaching the Philadelphia Flyers, Neilson was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects plasma cells. He was granted a leave of absence in February, and
Then there is the case of
Some would argue that there's never a right time to fire somebody. But there certainly is a wrong time (3:12 a.m.). Oakland Raiders coach
More often than not, coaches know what's coming. In the case of Randolph, it was a matter of when, not if. And now that he's been relieved of his place on the hot seat, it's time for the Mets front office to explain this bungled firing -- one they hoped to bury in the news -- that won't soon be forgotten.