It was one thing when Tony Bernazard went to Binghamton and challenged a number of minor-league Mets, including “pussy” Jose Coronado, to a fistfight. You have to expect that from a vice president for player development, right? Motivation is part of the job.
But this bizarre incident and the near-fight with reliever Francisco Rodriguez afterward were probably just excuses for Bernazard’s much-anticipated firing by the Mets today. Despite the current claims that the Mets canned Bernazard so he wouldn’t “detract from their need to concentrate on re-tooling the team for next year,” many people have wanted Bernazard gone for quite some time…
It was widely suspected that Bernazard was a major advocate for the firing of Willie Randolph in 2008. This and his continuing taste for clubhouse intrigue reportedly made many Mets people — including manager Jerry Manuel — less than comfortable around him.
Worse, Bernazard wasn’t doing much in the way of player development. “If you’re going to bully and berate and backstab (as he did to Willie Randolph),” said Newsday‘s Ken Davidoff, “and basically act as a social nuisance, then you’d better be putting together one heck of a farm system. And Bernazard clearly is not doing that.”
Fans, who are not normally so interested in secondary management, have been attentive to the situation and pleased with the outcome. “Finally,” says The ‘Ropolitans, “something all fans can agree on.”
The Mets being how they are, though, this won’t necessarily issue in an era of good feeling. At the press conference announcing Bernzard’s ouster, Minaya announced that Daily News writer Adam Rubin had written negative stories about Bernazard because Rubin wanted to take his place as Mets VP. Rubin, who could have reasonably rejoined that Mets management is the one career path with less job security than journalism, called Minaya “despicable.” Maybe this was Minaya’s childish way of playing down his own responsibility for the move, or of giving the organization a scapegoat in hatred of whom they could all come together. Or maybe the Mets really are just so cursed this year that they can’t do anything right without screwing it up.