Mets Merized Online » Tony Bernazard Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:25:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How The Mets Almost Derailed The Career Of Juan Lagares Fri, 16 Aug 2013 12:17:06 +0000 juan lagares

In a chat for ESPN Insider, baseball analyst Keith Law fielded a couple of questions about the Mets including one on Juan Lagares.

Keith Law: Pretty darn good defender, better than I’d ever heard (never saw him before he reached the majors). He was 10th on my Mets prospect rankings before 2012, so he was on the radar, but spent about a decade in Savannah before he finally hit enough to move up the ladder.

Joe D: Law is right in that Lagares spent a ton of time in Savannah that included one full season and parts of three others, but there is a backstory to this that needs to be told. At the age of 17, Lagares was playing shortstop for the Mets’ Dominican Summer League. The following season at 18, he was skipped three levels (GCL, Kingsport, Brooklyn) and began the year in Single-A Savannah – a jump that he was clearly not ready for, and he was the youngest player in the league. Apparently Tony Bernazard, who made that call, was bent on rushing this raw talent up the food chain as quickly as he could. It was a bad call. Lagares remained in Savannah for the entire season and batted a disappointing .210/.262/.317 in 304 plate appearances.

In 2008 and 2009, Lagares was now being tossed all over the place, making stops at the Gulf Coast League (Rookie Ball), Brooklyn (Low-A) and eventually two more stopovers in Savannah. By the time he was ready to be promoted to Advanced-A St. Lucie, the decision was made to convert him from a shortstop to an outfielder because he was being blocked by Jose Reyes. He started a fourth season at Savannah being tested at all three outfield positions where they decided he was best suited for center field.

Ironically, he’d be moved to a corner outfield position once Matt den Dekker came along, even though many outside the organization believed Lagares was the more superior center fielder.

Lagares was mishandled almost from the very beginning and it proved to be an impingement to his development and stunted his ability to have a smooth and natural progression through the system.

In 2011, Lagares finally had his breakthrough season and batted .338/.380/.494 for Advanced-A St. Lucie and then after a promotion to Double-A Binghamton he actually improved, posting a .370/.391/.512 slash in 170 plate appearances. The rest as they say, is history.

Since his promotion to the majors in April of this season, Lagares has enjoyed steady growth at the plate and has made adjustments along the way while working with hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

After batting .234/.255/.340 in sporadic play that included week-long stretches on the bench, Lagares has finally cemented himself as the Mets regular centerfielder and he has responded with a .294/.336/.500 showing in the second half. As an everyday player and fixture in the lineup he even earned himself a National League Player of the Week honor in late July – a month that saw him post a team best .937 OPS.

Defensively, the 24-year old centerfielder is rated among the best in the majors and leads the National League with 12 outfield assists and is second in DRS (defensive runs saved) at his position despite only logging 57 games as a starter.

The Mets will have many questions going into the 2013 offseason, but center field isn’t one of them.

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Featured Post: The Mets Needed To Make Wright Captain Sun, 24 Mar 2013 13:00:55 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

There is a conspiracy theory everywhere you look. I read one suggesting the Mets made David Wright captain to divert attention away from the field, where they are projected to be bad. Very bad.

Smokescreens like that never work. Besides, Mets fans are like children and dogs in a way, after awhile, they know when they’re getting duped.C’mon. Are you serious? How long do you think that will last? With virtually no hope given to the Mets this year, they’ll be coming out to see Wright and the young players such as Matt HarveyIke Davis, Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler. The last two you’ll probably see sometime in June.

Besides, if taking the fan’s attention away from the team is the goal, they should have done this three years ago as the attendance at Citi Field has consistently dwindled.

Wright is simply the best player the Mets have, and arguably the best player – outside of Tom Seaver – they ever produced. And best, I mean both on and off the field.

As Major League Baseball goes after Ryan Braun and others in a witch hunt over PED’s, Wright has publicly stood up against drug users. A long time ago, when I asked Derek Jeter about steroids, he said: “I don’t use them, so it’s none of my business.”

Guess again. It is every player’s business for their sport to be clean and Wright, whether or not it comes from his father who is in law enforcement, has always stood for that goal. He should be commended for that alone.

I know some don’t feel Wright is clutch enough, but that’s nonsense. Baseball is about failing three out every ten at-bats just to be good, and Wright is the best the Mets have in that regard. Who else would you rather see at the plate in the ninth inning of a close game?

Jeff Wilpon said the appointment was for all Wright has done, and will do, for the organization in the future. The Mets have been awful on the field since 2008, and even worse off it with the Ponzi scandal, numerous bad signings and public relations fiascos. With all those around him losing their heads, Wright kept his, to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling.

When it was clear the Mets were about to sack Willie Randolph, Wright spoke out for his manager – and against management – because it was the right thing to do. He blamed himself and the players, not the manager whom management had spied on with Tony Bernazard.

A leader sometimes deals with uncomfortable things, and yes, Wright spoke against Lastings Milledge coming in late. He downplays it now, but it had to be done. Players often take their lead from other players, and when somebody doesn’t hustle, Wright lets him know it in a low-key, yet effective manner.

He doesn’t get in their faces, just their minds. And, that’s what leaders, and captains, do.

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Mets Were Wrong To Settle With K-Rod Wed, 20 Oct 2010 13:00:08 +0000 Yesterday the inevitable news broke that the Mets and Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) came to a settlement after K-Rod attacked his girlfriend’s father.  The results of the settlement means that K-Rod is now off the disqualified list and his contract is still guaranteed.  In turn the Mets will not pay K-Rod his 2010 salary of 3.1 million dollars. If his option vests next year, he will still get paid $29 million dollars for the next two seasons.

I guess this seems like a victory for the Mets but the Mets were wrong in doing this. K-Rod attacked a 50 year old man at Citi Field in front of the families of his teammates.  The 50 year old had to be taken the hospital after the savage attack.  I find it amazing that so many people are willing to look past this and just move on.

I would have respected the Mets if they had taken this grievance as far as they could even if they lost.  Of course the Mets were only thinking of that 3.1 million dollars.  I understand that they were scared of a union with way too much power, but this was not K-Rod’s first incident here in New York and with the Mets.  Let’s not forget the incident with Brian Bruney where K-Rod had to be held back.  Also last year it was reported that K-Rod had an argument with Tony Bernazard.  Then earlier this season K-Rod had a confrontation with Randy Neimann, the 54 year old bullpen coach. Clearly K-Rod likes to fight with older men.  K-Rod also violated a court order by texting his girlfriend.  It also was reported by the daily news that K-Rod at least on 1 occasion attacked his girlfriend and the mother of his two children so bad that she had to be hospitalized.  Even with all this evidence to support their argument, the Wilpons decided to take their 3.1 million dollars and let this guy continue be handsomely paid and a part of the team.

K-Rod is a bully and an abusive pig, no other way around it. The guy obviously has personal problems and should not be on this team.  I respected the Mets originally for going up against the Players Union but in typical Mets fashion they took what little money they could save and just dropped it.  Everyone wondered why the Angels would let K-Rod walk after a record setting season, and let the Mets sign him.  Obviously it wasn’t just the money, they were just happy to get him off their team.

It’s just a matter of time before K-Rod does something to hurt someone else or make the team look bad.

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Omar Does Not Deserve A Vote Of Confidence From The Mets Tue, 17 Aug 2010 11:00:37 +0000 About 2 weeks ago principal owner Fred Wilpon was asked about Omar Minaya’s job status after the 2010 season.  Clueless Fred responded by saying:

“Is the sun coming up tomorrow?”

I cannot understand where this vote of confidence is coming from.  Omar Minaya has been the General Manager since the end of the 2004 season.  In that time Omar has built a team that went to the playoffs ONCE!  As we all know in 2007 and 2008 the teams that Omar Minaya built collapsed in September.  2009 was an embarrassment as the injuries mounted, resulting in the Mets finishing in 4th place.  If the season was a week longer there was a real possibility that the Nationals could have finished about the Mets.

Omar was given up to 150 million dollars and could not put a championship team together.  Omar gave Pedro Martinez a contract that in all honesty he didn’t deserve.  Pedro was actually coming off the worst season of his career. I liked Pedro and was happy to have him on the team but there was a reason why Boston didn’t want to sign him that long.  Pedro eas injured for most of his contract and did not help the Mets win a championship.  Omar has given guys like Carlos Beltran and Frankie “Punchy” Rodriguez contracts that they didn’t deserve because they were coming off of career years.  For some reason Omar felt the need to give Luis Castillo a 4 year deal even though he was clearly on a decline.  Omar bid against himself and signed Oliver Perez to a contract that he flat out didn’t deserve.

Omar has been a horrible in season General Manager.  The Mets have needed help every year at the trade deadline but Omar except for trading for Castillo in 2007 has done nothing.  Every Mets fan knows that when July 31 is over the Mets will not make a single trade.

Last year he embarrassed the team by accusing then Daily News beat writer Adam Rubin of lobbying for a job within in the organization because Rubin exposed the inexcusable behavior of Omar’s buddy Tony Bernazard.  Omar gave an apology that made K-Rod’s seem heartfelt.  Whenever he gives a statement it turns into a downright disaster.

Now I know Omar has made the Wilpon’s a lot of money.  Remember the Wilpon’s never said their goal was to win a World Series, it was just to play “meaningful baseball in September.”  From 2005-2008 Omar’s teams accomplished that goal.  Omar has done a pitiful job as the GM.  He has not developed an impact player, he has let prospects come up way too early and he has brought guys in just because of their nationality.  Anybody who has run a organization like this should be shown the door, but this team gives him a vote of confidence.  Only the Mets.

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Look Who’s Talking Now Mon, 29 Mar 2010 16:55:25 +0000 Jon Heyman of had the following to say in a post to his Daily Scoop.

The Mets’ minor-league system looks a lot better now than most realized last year, when so-called experts rated it near the bottom. Those ratings will need to be re-evaluated now that five young Mets looked very good or better this spring. Left-hander Jon Niese will be the fifth starter (one scout said, “He won’t be No. 5 for long.”), shortstop Ruben Tejada will start the year with the Mets and supremely-talented right-hander Jenrry Mejia may make it as a reliever. GM Omar Minaya was determined not to take Mejia to start the spring, but the momentum seems to be swinging the other way. Plus, Fernando Martinez re-established his value as a bright young outfield prospect and first baseman Ike Davis looked terrific, especially at bat. It’s too late to give ex-Mets exec Tony Bernazard his job back, but if removing his shirt and being impolite once or twice were his only faults, firing him seems like a bad call now.

Ironically, it was Jon Heyman who kept reminding us that we didn’t have the chips for a Roy Halladay deal and made countless jokes at the Mets expense this offseason.

Still, it’s nice to see Heyman come around.

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It Didn’t Take The Mets Long Did It? Tue, 19 Jan 2010 12:00:19 +0000 It only took the Mets 14 days into the New Year to embarrass themselves and their fans.  Of course I’m talking about the whole debacle over Carlos Beltran’s knee surgery.  Once again the Mets completely mishandled the news of an injury to a key player on their team.  Some that should have been simple has exploded in the face of the Mets… again.

Go back to last year and the press conference from hell where Omar Minaya called out Adam Rubin and accused him of trying to obtain a job with player development. The announcement that the Mets decided to fire Tony Bernazard should have been a simple one.  The Mets could have easily put out a press release informing the media that after Omar Minaya’s “investigation” the organization decided to part ways with Bernazard.  Instead the Mets made a bad situation worse and added another distraction to the team.

As school children I’m sure a lot of us would ask why we need to know history and the answer always was “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I guess the Mets never heard that saying because last week was another example of the Mets not learning from history and to top it off the recent history of last year’s Bernazard disaster.

It’s been almost a week and there are still a lot of questions regarding how Carlos Beltran’s surgery occurred.  The bottom line for me and I’m sure most fans is a simple one: Carlos Beltran had surgery on his knee, he will not be able to resume baseball activities for at least 12 weeks and he won’t be back for awhile.  All the Mets had to do was tell the press and the fans why he had surgery, the result of the surgery, and when they expected him to be back on the team.  The Mets did not need to put it out in the universe that Carlos Beltran went out on his own and got surgery on his ailing knee.  Now the Mets have started a war of words with their Center Fielder and his agent.  Like many wars this war was unnecessary.  Beltran had the surgery, it was done, and the Mets even if they did not approve of the procedure should have simply lied and put on a happy face to the public.

It’s 19 days into the 2010 and already there was a scandal and unfortunately with the current way the club is run I’m sure there will be many other embarrassing moments to come, hopefully the Mets will prove me wrong.

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More Mishandling Of Jose Reyes’ Injury Wed, 14 Oct 2009 12:00:06 +0000 The New York Times had an interesting article this past Sunday about the Mets handling of Jose Reyes’ injury.  October 5, 2009, the day after the last game of the 2009 season, a season in which for the third straight year the Mets failed to make the post season Jeff Wilpon and the Mets had a media blitz, talking about what went wrong in 2009, what to expect in 2010 and the injuries that occurred this season.  Jeff Wilpon, Omar Minaya and Dave Howard that day went on WFAN to talk with Mike Francesa as part of this media blitz.  When talking about the injuries Jeff Wilpon said to Mike:

“most of the injuries happened while the team was on the road and that the team relied too heavily on other team doctors”

Jeff Wilpon also mentioned that the Dodgers team doctors had made the original diagnosis that Jose Reyes had a calf injury.  The Dodgers were not happy about this and felt that Wilpon was wrong when he made that statement, they released a statement of their own saying that:

“the Mets have official documentation showing that the correct diagnosis of Mr. Reyes was made here in Los Angeles in May.”

According to the Dodgers, Dr. Neal ElAttrache examined Reyes and concluded that Jose Reyes did have a partly torn accessory hamstring tendon.  The Mets decided to have Jose play in one game during that series in which he lasted only a couple of innings, he ran to first, came up lame and did not play another game for the Mets for 2009.

The Times asked the Mets to respond to Dr. ElAttrache’s diagnosis Mets public relations guru Jay Horrowitz said:

“The Mets and Dodgers doctors have spoken.”

This is so typical of this team.  The Mets have shown this whole season that they refuse to take responsibility for anything that they do wrong, always trying to blame it on someone else.  We saw that earlier this season when Omar Minaya had to fire his friend Tony Bernazard he tried to discredit Adam Rubin, saying Rubin wanted a job with the Mets and once again Jeff Wilpon is now blaming the Dodgers and their medical team in the mishandling of Jose Reyes’ injury.

Word going around is that the Dodgers are not happy about the Mets making these false statements and now there is a rift between the Dodgers and Mets.  I’m not surprised in the least, I wonder how the Mets will try to spin this latest mistake, they will probably embarrass themselves and most Met fans I’m sure.

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One Nut Job For Another? Mon, 03 Aug 2009 14:15:04 +0000 You may have heard over the weekend that Wally Backman was fired from his job as manager of the Joliet Jack Hammers of the Northern League. I love Wally, he was a great Met, but I’m not surprised he was let go.

What is surprising though, is that some Mets fans are considering and hoping that the Mets hire Backman to replace Tony Bernazard as Vice President in charge of Player Development or Jerry Manuel as manager.

Please God, no. Let me explain why this would be a total catastrophe in the making and one that could haunt us for years to come.

Unlike his other dismissals, Wally Backman was let go for a more traditional reason this time around; his team (24-42) wasn’t winning.

“The fans in Joliet deserve a winner,” said Backman. “I’m disappointed that we could not get the job done.”

Backman is no stranger to controversy, and he has had a long history of bizarre and outlandish behavior. So much so, that he would make Tony Bernazard look like Mahatma Gandhi in comparison.

Not too long ago, while manager of the South Georgia Peanuts, Backman had a complete meltdown after one of his players had been thrown out of a game for arguing balls and strikes. It was Child Care Day and at Anderson Memorial Stadium, when a half-crazed Backman stormed out of the dugout and all hell broke loose. This is how a local journalist reported it.

Backman dropped several F-bombs on Height, then kicked dirt on home plate, prompting Height to eject Backman. The former New York Mets star responded to the move by tossing equipment onto the playing field. Not only did he hurl 22 bats onto the grass, he also emptied a bucket of baseballs down the third base line. The situation was made worse by the fact that Backman’s foul language was clearly audible since there were only a handful of fans left in the stadium. Some of those fans were, in fact, children.

When the game ended, with the host Anderson Joes claiming a 6-5 victory, Backman made his way to the Joes radio booth to confront play-by-play man Mike Janela about comments Janela made referring to Backman’s “childish”outburst.

This particular outburst took place after Backman returned from a prior three game suspension for bumping an umpire. Backman would eventually unexpectedly quit as manager of the Peanuts, with half the season left to play.

Backman showed signs of being an uncontrolled hot-head going all the way back to his first managerial job with the Lancaster Jet Hawks.

In case you’re keeping score, add five bats and three chairs to Wally Backman’s growing collection of post-ejection objects tossed onto the field. The fiery Jet Hawks manager’s most recent tirade came in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s 8-3 loss to Inland Empire, with a wildly entertained crowd of 4,522 at Arrowhead Credit Union Park cheering Backman as each item came flying out of the Jet Hawks dugout. Backman, who’s already received five ejections, has tossed a bat rack and emptied a trash can after previous differences of opinions with California League umpiring crews.

In 2004, Wally Backman was about to fulfill his dream of managing in the majors, but after just four days on the job, Backman was fired as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks following revelations that he had been arrested twice and had serious financial problems. Backman was asked during his D-Backs interview whether there was anything in his past that the Diamondbacks should know, and he answered no. Days later, Arizona officials were so shocked and dismayed at the results of their background check, that they had no choice but to let Backman go.

He was arrested in 2001 after a fight at his home involving his wife and one of her friends in Prineville, Ore. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was sentenced to 12 months’ probation, ordered to undergo an anger management evaluation and donate $1,000 to the local Boys and Girls Club.

Backman was also arrested, and later convicted, on a driving under the influence charge in Kennewick, Wash., in 2000. He also filed for bankruptcy that year to avoid paying 20 creditors as well as the IRS.

Now, I’m a firm believer in giving people second chances and in some cases third and fourth chances. I also believe that some people can change. However, the last thing the Mets need right now is Wally Backman.

What this team needs more than anything else right now is some calm in what has been a raging storm.

Many reporters and fans have called out Omar Minaya for hiring Tony Bernazard in the first place because his outbursts and outlandish behavior were well documented. None were surprised by Tony B’s antics, only that he managed to stay on as long as he did.

Backman fits this mold so perfectly. The red flags and warning signs are all there. He would be the worst choice to replace Bernazard. It would be cruel and unusual punishment to subject our prospects to yet another potential train wreck. We have suffered through enough embarrassing moments this past season. Lets not compound that by hiring Wally Backman.

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Omar, Any Respect I Had For You Is Gone! Tue, 28 Jul 2009 12:47:47 +0000 Before you read any further I just want to make it clear that I have never, I repeat never inquired about getting a job with Player Development for the New York Mets.

Yesterday Omar Minaya after what I am sure was an exhausting investigation into the Tony Bernazard situation finally announced that the Mets fired Tony Bernazard.  In his press conference yesterday afternoon Omar claimed that the Mets human resources department was already looking into Tony Bernazard’s behavior and an investigation was already being conducted quietly within the organization. Omar then said that Daily News beat writer Adam Rubin, the reporter who last week broke the story about Bernazard taking his shirt off and threatening 17 and 18 year old kids in the minors to a fight had been lobbying for the last few years for a job in player development.  Rubin was shocked and rightly so.

Omar Minaya is a liar, pure and simple.  Last week when Omar Minaya held his news conference to tell reporters that the Mets were “investigating” Tony Bernazard he gave no indication once so ever that the organization was conducting any sort of investigation into Tony Bernazard before then.  Let’s face it, there is no way that the Mets did not know what Tony Bernazard did in Binghamton.  Omar and the Mets were trying to sweep this situation under the rug until Adam Rubin dug it up and reported it in the Daily News.  Omar knew full well that a few weeks ago Tony Bernazard cursed out an employee at Citi Field in front of people and children because he wanted a seat behind homeplate that was being occupied by a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The public did not know of these unprofessional acts by Bernazard until Adam Rubin broke the story last week.  Later in the week the Post reported that Bernazard was in a verbal argument with K-Rod, which in my mind should have been the final nail in his coffin.

Omar said in his press conference yesterday afternoon that he stumbled a little bit when he read Adam Rubin’s column on what happened in Binghamton because Rubin over the years has lobbied for a job in Player Development with the Mets.  Rubin denied these charges, saying that he has asked team officials from different teams over the years how to break into that part of the business, Jeff Wilpon according to Rubin even offered more than once to sit down with him and talk to him about breaking into the business as well as a job with SNY but Rubin turned him down everytime.

Yesterday’s press conference should have been a slam dunk, Omar should have told the press that the Mets have decided to part ways with Tony Bernazard, field some questions and wish everyone a good afternoon.  This was the perfect chance to wash our hands of this, build on some momentum from the weekend and go out and play baseball in perhaps the most important series so far this season.  Unfortunately Omar as usual could not complete an easy task.  Much like last year when he fired Willie Randolph at 3AM EST on the road this firing turned into another circus.  Attacking Adam Rubin who admittedly has written some tough pieces on Omar and his job performance is like what Adam said “despicable.”  It seems to be nothing more than an attempt at getting some payback.  Payback for what you ask?  It’s no secret that Omar and Tony Bernazard are friends outside of baseball.  Bernazard was hired in December of 2004, 3 months after Omar was named the General Manager of the Mets.  Had Rubin never reported in what happened in Binghamton, Tony Bernerzard would still be employed by the Mets, taking his shirt off, threatening to beat up kids who are away from the families and in a different part of the world for the 1st time in their lives.

Omar decided to try and ruin Adam Rubin’s credibility, pure and simple by putting this out in the universe.  Last week Omar used the word investigate about 100 times during his news conference, I wonder if Omar was investigating Adam Rubin’s past?  Did Omar call around the major’s asking for any dirt on Adam Rubin?  I think what Omar set out to do was to try and get Rubin off the Mets beat.  2Omar was not being professional, he was being personal.  You cannot attack a beat writer because he wrote an article that forced you to fire your best friend.

I think it’s no secret that I have been calling for Omar’s head for months now.  I have not agreed with most of his free agent signings the last couple of years, the lack of trades and the horrible way he has built up the farm system.  That dislike was against Omar Minaya the General Manager of the New York Mets, the public figure, not Omar the person.  I’ve never met Omar Minaya, I don’t know anybody who knows him personally so I had no reason to dislike Omar Minaya the person until yesterday afternoon.  Omar showed his true colors yesterday afternoon by attacking Adam Rubin without producing any shred of evidence to support his claims.  If Adam Rubin has been lobbying for a job the last few years produce emails of inquiry, text messages or a resume from Rubin to the New York Mets. While Omar has not yet shown any evidence that backup his claims, Omar has showed that as a “man” he’s petty and in my opinion despicable.  There is no other word to describe him after yesterday.  I wanted Omar fired because I felt he wasn’t doing a good job, it was nothing personal until now.  I will smile and maybe even dance a little much like Tony Bernazard did in Anaheim when the Mets fired Willie Randolph.

The attack on Adam Rubin shows that with this organization if you say and/or write something negative about the Mets they will fire you and/or try to discredit you.  Anybody think it was a coincidence that Matt Yaloff and Lee Mazzilli were very critical last year of the Mets on SNY and are no longer with the channel?  It came out during this whole mess with Bernazard that he would threaten the younger kids, telling them that if they didn’t do what he liked he would get them.   Adam Rubin said that he has received letter from parents of minor leaguers confirming this and I hope after yesterday and the permission of the parents he will publish those letter in his column.  Fear and bullying seems to be something Omar approves of to run this organization.

You have to admire Adam Rubin.  He’s not a columnists, he’s a beat writer, he has to be with the team day in and day out.  To write a column like he did 2 weeks ago in the Daily News knowing that he would have to see Omar and the rest of the organization on a daily basis he still went ahead and wrote what he felt was wrong with the Mets and Omar.

Last night Omar held yet another press conference, this time with Jeff Wilpon by his side.  Omar did not really apologize, he just said basically that he shouldn’t have made the comments he made about Adam in a public forum.  In fact Omar seemed angrier than he was in the afternoon.  Jeff Wilpon by the way stood next to Omar, basically nodding, sipping a bottle of water.  He did say that he gets a lot of phone calls on a weekly basis seeking career advice. The Mets and Omar had a chance to clear the air, to apologize but instead looked worse than before.

Omar Minaya I don’t like you as a GM and now I like you even less as a person and I cannot wait to see you on the unemployment line!  Omar showed that he has no class, while Adam Rubin showed a lot of class yesterday, he could have said a lot of things about Omar but decided to not too stoop to that level.  I wouldn’t mind having someone like that in the organization working with our younger guys compared to “men” like Tony Bernazard and Omar Minaya.  Mets fans it’s obvious that Omar Must Go!

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Final Thoughts On Bernazard Tue, 28 Jul 2009 02:36:28 +0000 This afternoon we learned that Omar Minaya has satiated, for the time being, the faithful by throwing the head-still attached to the body of Tony Bernazard to the wolves. As if a suffering Mets fan will rush to their favorite gin mill after work and start celebrating.

Who really cares about a behind the scenes guy who has run amok? Of course, its embarrassing, but more to the owners than to the fans. The fans want their team to hit baseballs out of the park and for the pitchers to strike out the opposition, and most importantly win ballgames.

What it does say loud and clear, is Rome is burning and Nero, er Omar, keeps fiddling. The organization is in a shambles and the buck stops with Minaya. So, brace yourself Mets fans for another round of jokes about a hapless organization.

That segues to my next point: If a player, manager, or general manager in New York needs a thick skin, likewise so does the fan. Because when a season goes rancid, and this one spoiled before the all-star break, everyone jumps on the negative bandwagon (led by David Letterman, no doubt).

So as more stories regarding the doings of one vile former Mets executive (Bernazard) come to light, prepare yourself. This is the front office version of Luis Castillo dropping a game-ending pop-up against the rival Yankees. What it underscores is how futile the Mets are right now, both on and off the field.

If Bernazard was such an ogre how did he last this long? Maybe the organization needs to look in the mirror at the manner in which they conduct business. If Bernazard was a tyrant towards minor leaguers exactly how would that aid in their development?

And why wasn’t he stopped sooner?

(I just remember him talking at length on the field to National’s Manager Manny Acta before a game that made Willie Randolph seethe. Obviously, Omar had no control over this underling.)

All this reflects poorly on Minaya’s reign, and possibly adds another nail in his coffin. You can only fire so many people beneath you before your boss wakes up and realizes you are incompetent and it’s your head the ax is next sharpened for.

But, all of this is no solace to Mets fans who have been treated to a (nightmare) season of subpar baseball that has become fertile fodder for Letterman’s monologue.

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Mets Fire Tony Bernazard (Finally) Mon, 27 Jul 2009 19:32:02 +0000 We are just minutes away from a 3:45 PM press conference at which time Omar Minaya is expected to announce that Mets VP of Player Development, Tony Bernazard has been fired.

The NY Post and ESPN have already confirmed the news through their sources.

The press conference can be viewed on SNY or heard on WFAN.

This news comes as no surprise as Bernazard was under investigation by the Mets in response to a couple of reports by Adam Rubin of the Daily News.

In one report, Bernazard allegedly ripped off his shirt and challenged a clubhouse full of minor leaguers to a fight, and even referred to one of them by a vulgar profanity that referred to a female body part.

In another report, he went into a profanity filled tirade against a subordinate in a dispute over his seat at Citi Field. The altercation was confirmed by an Arizona scout who was shocked by his behavior.

The NY Post also uncovered some other disturbing news when they reported on a verbal altercation between Bernazard and Mets closer Frankie Rodriguez that almost came to blows had it not been broken up.

Bernazard was also in an altercation with Johan Santana, and was also largely responsible for fueling the dismissal of former manager Willie Randolph.

It’s quite a surprise that he’s managed to stick around as long as he has, and I also wonder if Minaya would have acted at all if not for the outrage over the Daily News reports.

This is definitely a case of addition by subtraction.

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MetsWrighter’s Week In Review Fri, 24 Jul 2009 14:30:14 +0000 I may be a few days late and many dollars short, but I’d finally like to weigh in on all that has transpired with our Mets this past week, on and mostly off the field.

First of all, going back to the Halladay deal. Whether it was or wasn’t true, I am glad the Mets did not make the trade. Now before you all start screaming at me, hear me out. I am not saying I wouldn’t want to have him on our team. What is there not to want? But the problem I see is simple. He’s only out there every fifth day. If the Mets’ woes were something that he, or any other pitcher could fix, don’t you think Johan Santana could have and would have done it already?

I’m not saying the one-two punch of Santana and Halladay wouldn’t be awesome. And not only would we have him, but the Phillies would not. But you can’t go out and get a guy, just so another team doesn’t. It’s not even about who they would have given up for Halladay. It’s whether or not the deal made sense. Think about this for a moment. The Mets haven’t been able to provide Santana with any run support, what makes you think they’d provide it to Halladay? It’s the same team behind any pitcher.

The Mets need a bat more than they need another arm. Someone who can play every day, therefore making a difference every day, and hopefully drive in runs. Because no matter how good the pitcher is, you can’t win if you don’t score. The pitching would be fine if they weren’t under so much pressure to be perfect because their offense is non-existent. The way you can’t have a pitcher be the captain of a team because he is only out there every fifth day, (and I’m not so sure I buy that, but that’s the point I will argue) that’s the same way you can’t rely on a pitcher to carry a team. Halladay is not the answer.

To anyone who said that the Mets are going in the direction of pitching and defense and that’s why they made the trade to get Francoeur, you are only half right. They may be looking to go in that direction, but they could have kept Church for that.

Moving on to the Bernazard issue. The Mets need to move fast with their decision process. They can’t continue to have this cloud hanging over them. They have enough problems on the field. And it would be one thing if it was just at the Double A level. Once the whole K-Rod incident comes into play, it’s a whole new ballgame. (No pun intended.)

Omar needs to stop talking and start doing. How many times did he use the word “investigate”? Someone at SNY should have put up a running tally in the top corner of our screens. It reminded me of President Obama’s Inaugural speach. How many times did he use the word “change”? Hmmm…notice a similarity?

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Was The Bernazard Story Overblown? Thu, 23 Jul 2009 14:05:19 +0000 Brian Moritz of Press-Connects wrote a new article that sheds some more light on the alleged incident involving Tony Bernazard and what transpired in the clubhouse of the B-Mets.

The Double-A squad spent the day trying to downplay a story in the New York Daily News that said Tony Bernazard, the Mets’ vice president for player development, ripped his shirt off and challenged the players to a fight during a post-game tirade in the team’s NYSEG Stadium clubhouse July 1.

“I think it’s been blown out of proportion,” B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras said after his team’s 9-3 loss to the Connecticut Defenders. “Tony was trying to pump the players up. He took his shirt off but he had a T-shirt on underneath. To me, he never threatened anybody or asked anybody to fight. Before he started the meeting, he took his shirt off. That’s it. I’m telling you, it’s been blown out of proportion.”

In the original story reported by the Daily News, it said that Bernazard singled out the team’s shortstop Jose Coronado and called him a derogatory name referring to the female anatomy. But Brian Moritz reports a different story.

“No, he didn’t call me a name or ask me to fight,” Coronado said.

Brian also includes a quote from catcher Josh Thole, who believes the entire story has been totally overblown.

“This has been taken way too far,” B-Mets catcher Josh Thole said. “It’s uncalled for as far as you guys (the media) blowing this out of proportion, so I don’t think anything more should be said about it.”

Earlier today, I wrote a lengthy piece on why Omar needs to go.

Imagine if Omar Minaya had addressed this situation as soon as he first got a whiff of it?

Maybe the entire story has been overblown…

However, it could have been avoided and it may have never gotten to the press if Omar had simply picked up the phone, find out exactly what happened, and straightened out anything that needed to be corrected or addressed.

Instead, the news went in one ear and out the other, and only now does Omar decide he has to investigate.

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K-Rod Was Also The Object Of Bernazard’s Ire Wed, 22 Jul 2009 23:09:03 +0000

According to a new entry on Bart Hubbuch’s Mets blog for the NY Post, Mets minor league players were not the only ones subjected to the mad ravings of Mets VP Tony Bernazard. Bart Hubbuch writes,

It turns out that ripping his shirt off and challenging minor-league players to fight him isn’t even Tony Bernazard’s most recent incident of outrageous, hot-headed conduct.

New York Mets All-Star closer Frankie Rodriguez confirmed this afternoon that he exchanged words on the team bus last week in Atlanta with Bernazard, the club’s embattled vice president of player development.

“Yeah [it happened], but I’m not going to talk about that,” Rodriguez told The Post before tonight’s game here with the Nationals. “Not going to get into it.”

Another player, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Post today: “That guy [Bernazard] is crazy. No one like[s] him.”

The hits just keep on coming.

This evening while meeting with reporters, Omar Minaya sounded like a broken record when he answered about seven questions about his hand picked assistant, with the same canned answer. “We take these allegations seriously and we will investigate these reports.”

David Lennon was a guest on SNY’s Wheelhouse after Minaya’s presser and he believes that Bernazard will not be fired for this incident. Hubbuch also said as much in his report adding,

“several team sources are that Bernazard, who is tight with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, will not be fired.”

Minaya did say that Bernazard is now at home in New Jersey, but it didn’t sound like it was for disciplinary reasons or because of anything regarding all of the incidents..

I believe it was Brandon Tierney of SNY’s Daily News Live, who asked a great question.

Why is the guy who is supposed to be running the minor leagues, spending such an unusual and extraordinary amount of time with the major league team?

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We Take These Reports Seriously and Are Investigating the Matter Wed, 22 Jul 2009 18:22:24 +0000 That was the statement the New York Mets released today regarding the firestorm surrounding a report that Joe posted earlier today regarding Mets VP of Player Development.

Who do the Mets think they are fooling?

They knew about these incidents long before they leaked out thanks in great part to the investigative efforts of Adam Rubin of the Daily News.

They had this information in their hands since prior to the All Star break, but did nothing until the incidents went viral and exposed the Mets organization as the most dysfunctional team in sports.

Here is what we posted early this morning.

This morning, we learned that while in the clubhouse of the Binghamton Mets, Tony Bernazard challenged a few of the Mets young players, who are mostly 21 years old or less, to a fist fight. He actually tore off his shirt and personally challenged some of the Mets prospects to a physical confrontation. Adam Rubin reports,

The Binghamton Mets clubhouse nearly turned into a scene out of WWE Raw recently, when VP for player development Tony Bernazard removed his shirt and challenged the Double-A players to a fight during a postgame tirade, multiples sources told the Daily News.

Bernazard particularly went after middle infield prospect Jose Coronado, using a slang term associated with a woman’s anatomy, a source indicated. The confrontation happened about 10 days before the All-Star break, according to insiders.

What does it say about the integrity of the Mets when they knowingly tried to hide this embarrassing bombshell, and worse yet, they were prepared to do nothing about it.

Now, all of a sudden they want to swoop in like Dick Tracy and investigate the matter? Really?

As for Omar… Shame on you!

Omar Minaya remarked that he knew about the incident and totally downplayed it yesterday. At worst, he is an accomplice after the fact. At best he is an irresponsible general manager who cares little about the image of the organization he is paid to run. His integrity has taken a huge hit.

I’m shocked, but not surprised. Nothing surprises me anymore where the Mets are concerned.

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Another Stunning Embarrassment In A Season Full Of Them Wed, 22 Jul 2009 14:57:19 +0000 Most of us became aware of Mets VP of Player Development, Tony Bernazard, last year when we learned about his shady and underhanded maneuvers leading up to the firing of Willie Randolph. In fact, Randolph claimed that he was sabotaged by Bernazard.

Since then, Tony B. manages to get his name in the news every now and then mostly because of some ridiculous quote or action.

This past week though, he’s really gone over the edge and crossed the line, and it’s time the Wilpons cut bait with this off the field distraction who gives most Mets fans and players the creeps.

On Monday we learned, through Adam Rubin of the Daily News, that Tony B. dropped a volley of profanities so vulgar in nature, that it would have made Tony Soprano blush. He did this in the middle of a game at Citi Field in front of Mets fans both young and old. Adam Rubin writes,

At a recent game at Citi Field, scouts had assembled in a row of seats behind home plate. Mets VP Tony Bernazard showed up during play and wanted a seat occupied by a young Diamondbacks scout. Bernazard’s deputy, already seated in the row, suggested to the Mets VP that he wait until the half-inning ended, to minimize the disruption. Bernazard then ripped into his Ivy League-educated deputy with a profanity-laced tirade, mortifying observers in the section.

This incident fueled talk show radio for most of Monday morning and afternoon, particularly the Boomer and Carton show on WFAN who ripped Tony B. throughout their entire show and called the Mets the most dysfunctional organization in baseball.

This morning, we learned that while in the clubhouse of the Binghamton Mets, Tony Bernazard challenged a few of the Mets young players, who are mostly 21 years old or less, to a fist fight. He actually tore off his shirt and personally challenged some of the Mets prospects to a physical confrontation. Adam Rubin reports,

The Binghamton Mets clubhouse nearly turned into a scene out of WWE Raw recently, when VP for player development Tony Bernazard removed his shirt and challenged the Double-A players to a fight during a postgame tirade, multiples sources told the Daily News.

Bernazard particularly went after middle infield prospect Jose Coronado, using a slang term associated with a woman’s anatomy, a source indicated. The confrontation happened about 10 days before the All-Star break, according to insiders.

“That’s an all-timer if true,” an AL official said upon hearing the account, which was corroborated by multiple people with ties to the Mets.

Mets GM Omar Minaya acknowledged the incident but didn’t seem to be bothered by it.

“I know he did have a team meeting with them,” Minaya told the Daily News. “It was not a ‘you-guys-have-been-great meeting.’ I know he spoke to them in a stern voice. But as far as what he was wearing, what kind of shoes he was wearing, I don’t know anything about that.”

How many more embarrassments must we endure before the Mets finally shake this team up from top to bottom?

Isn’t it painful enough to watch this team day in and day out without these added twists?

We have become the laughing stock of baseball. At least the 1962 Mets were lovable, but this my friends, can only be described as pathetic and demoralizing.

What concerns me most right now, is the real possibility that we will once again usher in the 5-7 year period where no star player will want to play for the Mets. No free agent would get caught dead in a Mets uniform. Sure, we’ll still be able to get an aging star who is past their prime to accept the Mets’ millions. (AKA: Mo Vaughn, Kevin Appier, Tom Glavine) But don’t expect any 28-year old superstar to sign on the dotted line any time soon.

I bet if Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran had to do it again, Santana would have rejected the trade, and Beltran would be patrolling centerfield for the New York Yankees.

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Tony B At It Again, Cora Frustrated, Ollie’s Follies Sun, 05 Jul 2009 15:39:04 +0000

It looks like Mets assistant GM, Tony Bernazard is back to his back-stabbing ways, and this time it is Jerry Manuel who is lining up to be his next victim. Bill Madden of the Daily News writes,

Nevertheless, there’s still no getting around the fact the Mets are presently a depleted mess, plagued not only by this unfathomable rash of injuries to their most important players, but by the same inner turmoil that eventually led to Willie Randolph’s demise. I’m told that assistant GM Tony Bernazard, whom Randolph found to be an intrusive  influence in the clubhouse, especially with the Latin players, has been no less undermining with Jerry Manuel. For whatever reason, Bernazard seems to have the Wilpons’ ears, even more so than Minaya, and in organization meetings he’s never reticent to suggest areas where the manager might be doing a better job. I’m also told the Met high command ordered Manuel to tone down the not-so-subtle pleas for help in his pre and postgame mediafests and his periodic candor about his team’s deficiencies.

The Mets organization has to be one of the most dysfunctional in the league. The miscommunication and misrepresentations, the mixed messages, a new park with little to no Mets identity, the mishandled injuries, etc. Also, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Wilpon’s would put a gag order on Manuel crying to anyone who will hear that he needs another bat.

Alex Cora has had enough of the lack of fundamentals on the Mets, especially when it comes to bad fielding, running, .

“It’s kind of comical… Every time you put on ESPN, they’re making fun of us. Instead of being in the Top 10 plays, we’re on the worst 10 plays. It gets to the point where you get tired of it.”

 You’ve got to play good defense. Look at the teams leading the divisions — they catch the ball. Right now, I feel we’re the worst defensive team in the league. It doesn’t matter who you don’t have. You can’t go into slumps with defense. You’ve got to catch the ball. You can’t give a big-league team more than 27 outs, and we’ve been doing a pretty consistent job of that the last few weeks. They make you pay, man.”

Fernando Tatis sounded a little frustrated himself,

“One day I’m in left, the next day I’m in right, the next day I’m somewhere else, so it’s difficult. You have to really concentrate, especially when men are in scoring position. You have to anticipate the play.”

I’m glad Alex Cora spoke up after the game. Someone needed to say something about the incredible lack of fundamentals from everyone; veterans and rookies alike.

Are you ready for some more Ollie Follies? One day after Perez was charged with three runs on five hits while striking out four and walking four in a AAA start, the erratic lefthander says he’s feeling strong and he’s ready to go.

“The most important thing is I’m feeling real good and I’m not thinking about my knee. I was feeling really strong. I think I’m ready. I was a little wild, but more important, I feel strong… The key was not thinking about the knee, but thinking about a real game. I tried to feel the pressure and make it feel like a big-league game. I feel really good. I showed emotion because I don’t like to lose.”

The Mets have had little to show for the three-year, $36 million deal they gave Perez in the off season. He has a 9.97 ERA, and he hasn’t pitched for the Mets since getting knocked out in the third inning against the Phillies on May 2nd. Perez will get the start on Wednesday against the first place Dodgers who just got Manny Ramirez back. This oughta be fun.

The Mets will try to salvage the final game of the Phillies series this afternoon. Lets Go Mets!

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Prospect Watch: Brad Holt Ahead Of Where Pelfrey Was Mon, 02 Mar 2009 03:11:12 +0000 Early this week, I participated in Adam Rubin’s chat and I was lucky enough to get two questions in.

My second question was regarding last year’s top three picks from the June Amateur Draft.

Joe - Which of last years three First Round Draft Picks (Davis, Havens, Holt) will we see in the big leagues first? 

Adam - Definitely Holt. He’s not in big-league camp, but I bet we’ll see him borrowed for Grapefruit League games. Tony Bernazard and Sandy Johnson say he’s ahead of Mike Pelfrey at the same time. Holt could start the year as high as the Double-A rotation, though I think it’s wiser to hold him back with St. Lucie until the weather gets warmer in Binghamton.

I had a hunch Adam would say Holt simply because there has been so much buzz about him in the last few months. However, I never expected to hear such glowing remarks from Vice President of Player Development, Ton Bernazard.

It’s pretty exciting to hear that Holt is doing so well and that he is already ahead of where Mike Pelfrey was at the same point in their Met careers. We’ve heard so much about how electric his fastball can be in terms of velocity, movement, and his ability to deliver it with pinpoint control.

Here is a brief profile on Brad Holt.

Brad Holt RHP – Holt went 5-3 with a league-best 1.87 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 14 games with the Cyclones. In 72.1 innings, he allowed just 43 hits, 18 runs, 15 earned, and 33 walks. In addition to leading the NYPL in strikeouts, his strikeout total set a new franchise record for the Cyclones, eclipsing the previous mark of 93, set by Kevin Deaton in 2002. Holt finished the season with a 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, and was named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Team in mid August. Holt struck out 10 batters in a game on four separate occasions, and tied a Cyclones franchise record with 14 strikeouts in a single game, in just six innings, on July 24th vs. Vermont.

On February 13th, Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post said that Brad Holt doesn’t have an invitation to the Mets’ major-league camp this spring, but get used to hearing the name. The 6-foot-4 prospect, a first-round pick last season out of UNC-Wilmington, put his mid-90-mph fastball on display in an impressive bullpen session here yesterday during voluntary workouts.

He also added that we might get to see Holt pitch once our players in the WBC leave this weekend.

I’m starting to sense that Brad Holt could be a part of the Mets rotation in 2010, and of course that depends on how he performs this season. There is a feeling in the organization that Holt can jump a level and begin the season in AA Binghamton. Holt is definitely on the fast track to the Major Leagues.

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