Your first place (!) New York Mets completed a 9-1 homestand earlier this afternoon with a 7-3 defeat of the Dodgers, a game that featured a pair of hits and an RBI from 1B/savior Ike Davis, a player who came up thru the Amazins’ ranks under the watchful eye of ex-VP of Player Development Tony Bernazard. Bernazard, as most will recall, lost his job last summer amidst reports of challenging players from the Mets’ Eastern League affiliate to a fight, as well as other bits of jerk-face behavior. Yesterday, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal — acknowledging Bernazard’s role in the ascent of Davis, Jonathan Niese and Jenrry Mejia, went straight to Flushing’s former Public Enemy No. 1 to try and figure out just where it all went wrong.
Q: What happened in Binghamton?
A: Those things were blown out of proportion. I didn™t challenge any players (to a fight). I challenged players to do better. All that stuff that I challenged the players, no. We were developing players. We only challenged players to get better.
Q: So, why did you get fired?
A: That™s a good question.
Q: Obviously, the Mets determined that they had good reasons.
A: Not necessarily. They can fire you for whatever they want. You can get fired, but (reporters) making things up, that™s a different story. Players and managers said that (incident) didn™t happen. It wasn™t reported. It™s not what people wanted to report. It was, ˜Let™s get on this guy and that™s it.™ Everyone else jumped on the bandwagon of that one paper.
Q: And taking off your shirt?
A: I had a long-sleeve shirt on. I™m a bike rider. I had taken a long bike ride before I went to the meeting, a 55-mile bike ride.
What happens when you exercise like that? Your body starts relieving that heat. I took the shirt off because I was hot. As simple as that. Maybe I took it off in the middle of the meeting. You™re upset, you get hot. All that s—, what is that? What a crime! I took my shirt off. By the way, I always wear a t-shirt.
Bernazard tells Rosenthal that he’s not been actively looking for work and refutes a rumor he was considering a position with Scott Boras as “bad information”. “I was punished for trying to be great,” insists Omar Minaya’s right hand man, perhaps forgetting a 2009 campaign that saw his team’s AAA and AA squads criminally unprepared to assist a parent club hit by a wave of injuries. Was Tony Bernazard the only thing wrong the the New York Mets last year? Certainly not, but teams with adequate cover don’t end up with Jeremy Reed playing 126 games. And it’s not as though every charge leveled against Bernazard was either sensational or cloaked in anonymity.