A funny thing happened in the last 48 hours or so. I was reading Newsday and some of the other online Mets beat writer blogs and I saw the name Tony Bernazard in one of the titles. I took a sip of my coffee and then muttered "Damn, I really hate this guy!"
"That does it" I thought, "I’m writing a blog about this piece of crap." I stopped and thought a little more and realized I had no freaking idea who this guy was. Yes I know he’s Omar Minaya’s right-hand man, and that he runs the Mets Minor Leagues, but those are just titles. For some reason In the last two days I’ve become conditioned to hate this guy.
Maybe it was Mike and the Mad Dog who went ballistic on him Tuesday afternoon. Maybe it was the few times he was mentioned as this shadowy covert figure who had much to do with the division in the clubhouse. Who knows…
So rather than me write unsubstantiated arguments on a person who is fast becoming a pariah in New York City sports, let me instead steer you to the following articles written by those who know him best and have had first hand experiences with him.
Bill Madden, who is an icon in this industry, wrote this in his Daily News article yesterday.
Meanwhile, Bernazard, the unofficial godfather to the Mets’ Latin players, has been a constant undermining presence in the Mets clubhouse even though he is supposed to be Minaya’s assistant. If Randolph had a problem with the Latin players like Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes – it was only because they felt they could go to Bernazard with their problems. Even worse, clubhouse sources have said Bernazard would relay to the Latin players critical comments Randolph made about them in private meetings of the Met high command.
And this morning, Ken Davidoff of Newsday shared some sentiments of his own.
He (Bernazard) seemed unaffected by the public flogging he has taken for his perceived role in the Midnight Massacre. In fact, when I asked him about the countless reports that fingered him as a primary culprit, he claimed ignorance, and then turned to defiance.
"I’m not going to comment on it," he said. "I don’t talk about what we talk about internally. I’ve got a great reputation. I don’t have to defend myself against unfounded rumors."
The truth, however, is that Bernazard’s reputation has taken a pummeling. Take this for what it’s worth, but Wednesday, I received two phone calls from industry contacts — the first, a longtime friend of many Hispanic players, and the second, a scout from an American League team. Both, unsolicited, brought up Bernazard, both professed to not know him and both offered the same sentiment: "I hear he’s a really bad guy."
And early Tuesday morning, when the hatchet fell on Randolph and the two coaches, Bernazard could be seen in the team hotel, giddy as a schoolgirl with a new dress.
That’s a heck of a lot of perception to overcome.
I’ll let you decipher this information yourselves, but clearly there are some red flags and warning signs. His underlying workings may have already led to a few firings this week. But, if Omar Minaya doesn’t address the behavior of his close friend and confidant, the circus will continue to thrive in Flushing, Queens.