Fans and some in the media may have called for his head, but yesterday the Mets ended any speculation on Willie Randolph's future with the Mets. General manager Omar Minaya said that Randolph would return as the manager of the Mets next season. Randolph, who has two years and $4.25 million remaining on his contract, was blamed by some for the end-of-season collapse by the Mets, but not by Minaya. At one point during the 40-minute press conference, Randolph joked about his shaved mustache, "It's not a good time to be recognized in this town." When asked again later about why he shaved his mustache, Randolph said, "I tried to cut my throat, but I aimed too high."

Minaya said that he looked more at Randolph's history as the manager and not this season, though the season still had an effect on his thought process, "I felt the way the season ended I had to at least step back and ask myself, 'Moving forward, should Willie Randolph be the manager?' I thought about that, and I also thought that I needed to talk to my ownership about what I was thinking. And after thinking about this, I have decided that Willie should continue to manage our club." Despite Minaya's confidence in Randolph, he did say that he's looking at all aspects of the team, including the rest of the coaching staff.

For his part, Randolph never thought his job was in jeopardy, nor is he concerned about his job security, "I'm here to help this team win a world championship, get my players prepared and ready to do that. I didn't come here because I wanted to make money or because I wanted people to see my face. I'm here to help this team win a championship, and I can't state that enough."

New York is a funny town - where Mets players have press conferences to state their sexual preferences and management have press conferences to state their confidence in their manager.

Photo of Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph by AP/Craig Ruttle