The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 15A
Howe to manage as lame duck
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Mets
fired manager Art Howe yesterday but left
him in the dugout for the final 2 1/2 weeks of
a season gone bad after the All-Star break.
General manager Jim Duquette said he
wanted to announce the firing after the
year, but was forced to act this week after
news broke of his plan. He said he asked
Howe to stay for the final 17 games, and the
"The fact is, I'm not fired now. I'm leav-
ing after the season," Howe said during an
awkward day at Shea Stadium. "I'm not a
"You see it happen to other people," he said.
"You always hope it doesn't happen to you."
Howe's contract runs through the 2006
season and he's still owed $4.7 million. But
with the Mets at 63-82 - following a 66-95
finish last year in his first season - manage-
ment decided it was time for a change.
"I saw strength and courage and convic-
tion when I met Art Howe and I said, 'Let's
go,"' owner Fred Wilpon said on a confer-
ence call. "I take full responsibility that the
results weren't there."
% Wilpon said Duquette would choose the
next manager, and there are sure to be plenty
of prominent names in the mix.
Former Mets stars Gary Carter, Lenny
Dykstra and Wally Backman have been men-
tioned, as have current major league manag-
AP PHOTO ers Lou Piniella and Buck Showalter, along
Art Howe, right, who was In the second year of his contract as manager of the Mets, was fired yesterday. with former Arizona manager Bob Brenly.
Even former manager Bobby Valentine, who
guided the Mets to the 2000 World Series,
could get a look.
The Mets began the year with a payroll
over $100 million, highest in the NL. But
injuries took their toll, and they rapidly fell
out of contention after the midseason break.
"I don't want to get into an evaluation of
Art," Duquette said. "It wasn't working."
It was not certain the last time a team let a
lame-duck manager stay in the dugout for so
long. In the NFL last season, coach Jim Fas-
sel asked the New York Giants to announce
his firing but allow him to stay for the final
two games, and he did.
Howe told the team about the move before
they took batting practice, and said the club-
house was "very quiet." Critics often said
Howe was too laid-back and too easy on his
players - in fact, outfielder Richard Hidalgo
and pitcher Victor Zambrano walked into the
meeting after it already had started.
Howe and Duquette later met the media in
the manager's office to talk about the deci-
sion. It made for at least one uncomfortable
moment - after Howe was done speaking
and sipping his coffee, a Mets official asked
him to get out of his chair to make room for
Later, Wilpon talked to Mets flagship
radio station WFAN and the interview grew
a bit contentious. It got so loud that a Mets
employee was asked to turn off the sound
system - which was tuned to WFAN - in
the Shea elevator used by suite holders, pric-
ey fans and club officials.
News broke earlier this week that the Mets
would not keep Howe, who guided Oakland
to playoff appearances from 2000 to 2002,
after this season. He met with Duquette and
Wilpon on Tuesday, and Duquette told Howe
the plans but also asked him to serve out the
"I've never walked away from anything.
I've never quit anything," Howe said.
Howe and Duquette both said injuries
had hurt the Mets. Stars Mike Piazza, Tom
Glavine, Cliff Floyd and many others have
been banged up.
The Mets were only one game out of the
NL East lead when they won their first game
after the All-Star break. But after July 15,
they went on a 16-38 skid that dropped them
far out of contention.
The Mets went into yesterday night's
meeting with Atlanta trailing the division-
leading Braves by 22 games.
"It's unfortunate," Floyd said. "We all
know that when things don't go well on the
field, the first person to take the blame is the
Asked what Howe said at the start of the
meeting, Floyd said he missed that part of
Howe, 57, said he'd think later about
whether he'd want to manage in the future.
"After this season, I'm going to have to
thaw out, to say the least," he said.
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