Mets COO Wilpon issues apology
Executive addresses media; Minaya's comments to come
NEW YORK -- Some 24 hours after the fact, the Mets apologized again. And apologized some more.
Without a word from general manager Omar Minaya, whose contrition is tentatively scheduled for later in the week, the club issued mea culpas on Tuesday. They came from the lips of COO Jeff Wilpon, who faulted Minaya for accusations the general manager made about a Daily News reporter, said he had been unaware Minaya would make public any connection between the the reporter and the Mets, and acknowledged the franchise had been damaged by the remarks Minaya made while announcing the dismissal of Tony Bernazard on Monday.
Standing in front of the Mets' dugout after his team completed batting practice Tuesday, Wilpon indicated that Minaya's job is secure and that he had tried to contact reporter Adam Rubin to apologize directly.
Although he denied doing so, Minaya had seemed to question Rubin's motives in reporting stories that prompted the club to intensify its investigation of Bernazard. Minaya said Rubin, for some time, had lobbied for a job in the Mets' department of player development. Bernazard's title had been vice president of player development. The accusation surprised Rubin, the News' beat writer on the Mets, and prompted him to call Minaya's charge "despicable" and wrong.
"We're very sorry about what happened yesterday. It was the wrong forum, the wrong time, a wrong situation for Omar to express himself in that way," Wilpon said. "I think he really understands he made a very, very large mistake here. He's apologized to ownership, he's apologized to a bunch of the staff. He's put us in a bad spot here. ... I know he's told me he's remorseful about what he said and what was done.
"I can only apologize for the organization's standpoint. Omar made a mistake and he admitted to me he made a mistake, and he's apologetic for his mistake.
"He hasn't been reprimanded. I think his remorse and what he's shown as his sorrow for this and what he knows he did, the collateral damage it caused me, the collateral damage it caused my father [owner Fred Wilpon], my uncle [president Saul Katz], the organization as a whole, he feels bad for it, and I think that's more punishment than anyone could put on him."
Minaya's assertion involving Rubin, Wilpon said, "hurt the organization. Omar admitted he hurt the organization, and he feels bad about that and we'll overcome. It didn't go to our values. He didn't do the right thing, and all I can do is apologize for that. I think Omar will do that at the right time, as well. We have to move on from there and rebuild ourselves. ... He absolutely apologized to me and he plans to apologize to Adam."
Wilpon said Minaya is "not in a great state right now. This has taken a great toll on him. ... And if we can all give him a chance, I think he'll come back and make this organization proud."
Bernazard was dismissed by the Mets after an internal investigation was expedited following reports in the Daly News and other sources, including MLB.com. The Daily News reported that Bernazard challenged Minor League players to a fight, confronted another Mets official and had a verbal exchange with closer Francisco Rodriguez after a loss in Atlanta.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.