Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bronx Still Is Home for Randolph

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bronx Still Is Home for Randolph

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- That one pitch still haunts him.

Maybe not every waking moment. Maybe not every day.

But Willie Randolph still sees the knee-buckling, Adam Wainwright curveball that froze Carlos Beltran in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, dooming the Mets team he managed with the tying run standing on second base in the ninth inning.

And it still vexes the Franklin Lakes resident, who is trying to get back into the game's coaching fraternity.

"That's going to be with me the rest of my life," said Randolph, standing on the Yankee Stadium field Sunday morning before the Old- Timers' Day game. "I don't labor over it. But there's no doubt that that's something I still have flashbacks on."

Randolph, 58, still might be managing if that 3-1 loss had gone differently: if Beltran had swung with the bases loaded and two outs; if the Mets had won and reached their fifth World Series.

They fired Randolph in June 2008 after three-plus seasons, despite his possession of the second-highest winning percentage (.544) in franchise history behind only Davey Johnson.

"It's weird. One pitch. One game. One incident changed everything," Randolph said.

The Brooklyn native is trying to get back into managing. He last coached in the big leagues in 2011, when he served as the Baltimore Orioles' bench coach.

Randolph interviewed for the Houston Astros' bench coach position before the season and thought he had the inside track.

But he lost out to Eduardo Perez.

"I've been a mentor to [manager Bo Porter] for a long time, and he wanted me to be his bench coach," said Randolph, who also had been the Milwaukee Brewers' bench coach in 2009-10 and the third- base coach for Team USA in this March's World Baseball Classic. "But obviously they had other ideas."

Randolph looked good wearing pinstripes again. The six-time All- Star received a warm ovation from the crowd when he was introduced in the Old-Timers' pregame ceremony. …

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