Yesterday’s bizarre press conference to announce that Tony Bernazard had been fired proves that even when the Mets do something right these days, they do it wrong. Rather than just announcing the decision — one which came as no surprise, by the way — GM Omar Minaya made some bizarre comments claiming that Adam Rubin, the Daily News beat reporter who wrote the story of Bernazard’s shirtless antics for the paper, had “lobbied for a player development position.” And since Bernazard’s title was vice-president of player development, it would seem he was implying that Rubin wanted to get Bernazard fired to take his job. (Rubin says all he ever did was ask for career advice.) Minaya — who would later apologize, sort of, for raising “those issues” in that particular “forum” — said that’s not what he meant, which raises the question: Why would he possibly bring it up?
From a self-preservation standpoint, it was in Minaya’s best interest to make a scapegoat out of Bernazard; in this sense, Rubin did him a favor. And he’s not discrediting Rubin’s stories, either. In an e-mail sent to the Mets’ online mailing list, Minaya explained that an investigation into Bernazard was already under way and that the published reports just “accelerated them.”
We can only think of two motives for Minaya to drag Rubin into this. Maybe he’s just blaming the messenger, whether out of frustration or retribution, because for all the talk of an investigation, the story could have otherwise been swept under the rug as far as the general public is concerned. Whatever the reason, Minaya’s course of action will likely prove to be pretty diabolical, as Rubin probably won’t be able to continue on the Mets beat after this. (We’d suggest Minaya clear his schedule, though, if he wants to intimidate every writer who’s ever made the Mets look bad.) Or perhaps Minaya is less malicious and simply knows there’s nothing he can do to save the season — or his job, for that matter. In which case he doesn’t care how much of a circus the rest of the season becomes or whose reputation he sullies. That’s not just cruel to Rubin; that’s cruel to Mets fans.