Randolph gets opportunity of a lifetime

New Mets manager Willie Randolph doesn't have to sell himself anymore. Just win.

Updated: January 18, 2005, 11:58 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Willie Randolph never bought into the notion that bad lights and midnight bus stops at Denny's were a prerequisite for achieving his dream. He was always upfront about his desire to manage in the majors. But did the pursuit of that goal really require him to leave his family behind in New York and return to the minors to spend a summer nurturing prospects in, say, the South Atlantic League?

William Randolph
After a decade of waiting his turn, Willie Randolph is ready.
Coaching with the New York Yankees is actually a pretty good training ground for managing. You have a front-row seat watching Joe Torre, the acknowledged master, placate George Steinbrenner while juggling the expectations of the most demanding city, media and fans in sports. As a bonus, you're pretty much assured of a fat postseason check to supplement your salary every year.

So Randolph plugged along for 11 seasons in the Bronx, content in the knowledge that his chance would come, until a series of rejections made him bite his tongue and wonder. He became something of a professional interviewee, getting annual token looks from teams with a desire to avoid a fine and rebuke from commissioner Bud Selig.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer