WASHINGTON -- Willie Randolph didn't deny the Mets' plight on Tuesday afternoon. He discussed it, explained it and did his best to minimize it. And when he characterized it, Randolph said: "This is not Armageddon to us." At the same time, his players were meeting to make sure the latest decline didn't turn into a disaster.
The players conducted what several of them misidentified as "a fantasy football league meeting" -- one day after several players had concluded that some sort of meeting was needed. The clubhouse was closed from about 4:35 p.m. ET until about 5:10 p.m.
The specifics of what was said were not made public, though two players did offer the obligatory: "Good meeting."
Randolph indicated that one veteran player had approached him, seeking permission for the meeting after several players had discussed the need. Paul Lo Duca said on Monday, following the Mets' fourth straight loss, that he might address the team. But it was unclear whether he was among those who did speak. One player indicated a half-dozen players spoke.
Randolph supported the meeting, and at the same time denied -- and bristled at -- what he sees as an increasingly public perception that he has been too passive during the the Mets' recent troubles.
"Everybody perceives too much," the manager said. "I'm not like that with my players at all. The total opposite of what you might see. I'm very passionate. I'm very fiery when I talk to my players. The players that know me, the people that know me, they know that what you see is not what it is.
"When I'm with my players, I'm very passionate. And I get ticked off once in a while, and I get in their face and stuff like that. ... I spoke to my guys briefly just now, and I allowed them to have a get-together on their own ... just sit down together and talk about the game and what they're doing and stuff.
"What I do every day is interact with my team. There's some guys you have to get in their face, and there's some guys you have to give a soft hand to. We still feel good about where we are ... we, as a group, are going to keep things in perspective. For us, there is a calm and a feeling of wellness, even though we haven't looked that way."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.