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Ex-Mets Skipper Randolph Eager For Second Chance

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Willie Randolph is hoping to have a hectic offseason.

After two years as bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, Randolph is eager for another chance to manage in the big leagues. And with openings expected all around the majors this winter, the former New York Mets skipper will be waiting by the phone.

“I would love a legitimate opportunity to get another shot,” Randolph said Monday after Milwaukee’s scheduled game against the Mets was rained out. “Obviously, the reason why I didn’t take off any time is I wanted everyone in baseball to know that I wanted to get back into the rhythm of what I was trying to accomplish as a manager, and that’s to win a championship. To continue to grow, to learn. I could have sat home and collected my pay, but that’s not what it’s all about for me.”

The 56-year-old Randolph has a resume filled with success. He won six World Series rings as a player and coach with the New York Yankees, then was hired to run the Mets across town before the 2005 season.

He went 302-253 (.544) in almost 3½ years as manager, guiding the Mets to within one win of the 2006 World Series. But they missed the playoffs after a monumental collapse late in 2007 and were 34-35 when Randolph was fired the following season — not long after he suggested publicly that he could be receiving unfair criticism because he is black.

“I came as a young manager. Obviously, I did it in a big city. Again, I went through my growing pains. I had some ups and downs like any young manager would. But even then I thought I grew, and I thought I handled myself pretty well. So the last two years have just enhanced my experience, obviously, and taught me a lot more about the game,” he said.

Brewers manager Ken Macha praised Randolph for his loyalty and communication skills with players. Macha also credited Randolph for the development of slugging second baseman Rickie Weeks and the defensive improvement of young shortstop Alcides Escobar.

“He’s got a strong desire to manage again and I hope he gets an opportunity to do it,” Macha said.

Macha has a club option for 2011, making him one of the many major league managers in limbo as this season winds down. Another one is Mets skipper Jerry Manuel, the successor to Randolph after serving as a coach on his staff.

“When you go to manage in any league, there’s definitely a fraternity that understands … the big picture that we’re hired to be fired in some sense,” Randolph said. “It’s devastating, really. The pain, the hurt, the rejection. I know what that feels like.”

Weeks also thinks Randolph would do well with a second chance at managing.

“He’s done pretty much everything in baseball,” Weeks said. “He’s done it before. There’s no reason why he couldn’t do it again. That would be a pretty good gig for him.”

Randolph said he’s pretty exhausted after a tough year that included the death of his father. But he’s ready for a new challenge, and he thinks his time on the bench in Milwaukee has been valuable.

“The past two years, I’m glad I did it because I think it’s really helped me with my growth. I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “Not just Xs and Os, but seeing the game from a different perspective because when you’re a manager, you’re in a certain bowl. But when you’re a bench coach, you’re managing per se but you’re seeing the game from a different perspective.”

Now, it’s just a matter of getting that phone call and having an impressive interview.

“I’m not much of a solicitor. I’ve never been that way,” Randolph said. “I think that general managers and owners pretty much know who they want and what they want. And there’s almost like a pool, if you will. Even if you’re not in the game. You could be outside the game, but they know who fits their puzzle.

“So after we finish up strong this week, I’ll kick back a little bit, hopefully I’ll get some calls and look forward to going in and convincing them that I’m the guy to lead their team to the next level.”

The rainout will be made up as part of a twi-night doubleheader Wednesday starting at 4:10 p.m.

Both teams pushed back Monday night’s scheduled starters to Tuesday, though more rain is in the forecast. Randy Wolf will pitch for Milwaukee, and Mike Pelfrey for the Mets.

Dave Bush and Yovani Gallardo will get the ball for the Brewers in the doubleheader Wednesday, with R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niese going for the Mets. Neither team announced which pitcher would get which game.

NOTES: Mets LF Jason Bay, sidelined with a concussion since late July, said he definitely won’t play again this season. But he hopes to take some batting practice this week and go into the offseason with no restrictions.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.