New York Mets

Problem Veterans Sinking Randolph- Mets

As the Mets limp home after an awful 2-5 West Coast swing–including a four-game sweep by the lowly Padres–the calls for Willie Randolph’s managerial head will undoubtedly get much louder. Unfortunately, it’s really not his fault. Willie is no Miller Huggins, but he’s a solid game manager who relies heavily on his veterans. And as last September proved, these overpaid “clubhouse leaders” are not to be relied on. You would think that throwing the NL East into the toilet last season would teach them a lesson. It didn’t. Unless Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya make some changes, this last season at Shea Stadium will go down as the worst in Mets history, which is really saying something. The main culprits in a bad group: Billy Wagner, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado.

All Other Sports

American Horse Racing’s Biggest Gamble

There will be a lot of gambling done on Belmont Stakes Day: millions of dollars will be won and lost at tracks all across the country. But the biggest gamble will be taken by the sport itself. Barely a month after the death of Eight Belles, racing will go all-in, betting on the injured hoof of Big Brown and hoping for the big score every bettor wishes for.

The satisfaction of that score has already diminished; Big Brown’s story is not as heartwarming as local legend Smarty Jones’s, nor is his trainer a big ol’ teddy bear you can root for. There are no Frances Genters to accept the trophy if he wins; Big Brown is owned by what is basically a hedge fund of investors. And then there is the issue of his sore feet; the quarter-crack he currently has may not be a big deal to his connections, nor to his doctors, but it is a news story that scares the bejeezus out of most of the folks that will tune in to ABC on Saturday.

What if he breaks down?