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The Newest Mets Melodrama

The Mets can't help themselves. Just when it seems that the team may be turning the corner -- within four games of .500, woohoo! -- general manager Omar Minaya goes out and torpedoes his best public relations efforts by claiming a Daily News reporter planted negative stories about recently fired Vice President of Player Development Tony Bernazard because he wanted the job himself.

It's a drastic accusation, and one which -- at least according to ESPN's Buster Olney on SportsCenter this morning -- Minaya has already apologized for airing in public during a news conference. Apologies aside, the Mets headman isn't backing off his comments, essentially saying that he feels there's was a conflict of interest between Adam Rubin, one of the Daily News' Mets writers, and Bernazard, who was fired after reports circulated about how he ripped off his shirt and challenged members of the team's AA franchise to fight after a loss earlier this season.

To call out a reporter in a press conference is beyond unprofessional, it's also mind numbingly ill advised. If Minaya wasn't already in hot water over his team's poor record, this move will just attract more attention. The other reporters in the conference are all but assured to hound Minaya until he clarifies his position, which will require him to delve back into accusations that Rubin was using Bernazard's missteps as a platform to promote his own agenda.

Rubin is denying any wrongdoing, which he kind of has to in order to save any measure of journalistic integrity whatsoever. Just as important, fellow journalists have all lined up behind him in support -- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (not to mention SNY and WFAN in the New York market), Bary Cohen and Keith Hernandez of SNY and Rubin's fellow Daily News writers, Ohm Youngmisuk and Roger Rubin are all publicly backing Rubin -- while only the New York Post's Bart Hubbach has openly professed an air of skepticism, and that was before Minaya's comments on Monday. Regardless, given the open rivalry between the Daily News and Post, it's hard to take Hubbach's skepticism as anything more than the product of competitive motives until more proof comes forward.

So, where does all this leave Minaya? In a very uncomfortable position, to say the least. He's just had to fire the team's Vice President for Player Personnel. His team is far away from reaching the lofty expectations it had in the preseason. He's been unable to make any significant deals to improve the team leading up to the trade deadline, and even Mets fans seem to be resigned that they aren't going to mount a serious challenge against the Phillies.

If those aren't all the requisite pieces to keep his seat plenty warm, I don't know what is. Maybe Minaya's job really is as secure as the Wilpon's have quietly told other journalists it is, but the longer the current brouhaha between Minaya and Rubin ruminates, the harder it will be to continue defending Minaya.

By Cameron Smith  |  July 28, 2009; 12:51 PM ET
Categories:  Mets  | Tags: Mets, Omar Minaya, Tony Bernazard, general managers, media  
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Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Minaya's lucky that he ended up looking good by comparison when the Nats hired Jim Bowden.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | July 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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