07.22.09

Presenting The New Scapegoat For The Mets’ Rotten 2009 : Tony Bernazard

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 pm by

With all due respect to the Mattinglys, there are few families having a worse week than the Wilpons. Fast becoming Flushing’s Public Enemy No. 1, Mets VP of Player Development Tony Bernazard began Tuesday contenting with revelations he’d challenged members of the franchise’s Eastern League affiliate to a locker room fight, and ended the day with  K-Rod telling the New York Post’s Bart Hubbach such aggressive behavior is the norm for Omar Minaya’s right-hand man.

All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez confirmed he exchanged angry words with Bernazard on the team bus last week in Atlanta.

“Yeah [it happened], but I’m not going to talk about that,” Rodriguez told The Post before the game. “Not going to get into it.”

Another veteran starting player, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Post Bernazard is having a cancerous effect on the Mets’ clubhouse.

“That guy is crazy,” the player said. “No one like[s] him.”

Early indications from several team sources are that Bernazard, who is close to Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, will not be fired despite a long pattern of behind-the-scenes skullduggery since Minaya helped get Bernazard hired in December 2004.

Friends of former manager Willie Randolph told The Post last summer that Randolph held Bernazard — with an assist from Randolph’s replacement, Jerry Manuel — responsible for orchestrating his midseason firing.

But a source said the Mets’ patience with Bernazard isn’t endless and that management could change its mind if more ugly incidents come to light.

As well as being sent home, the indication is that Bernazard will not be traveling with the parent club or visiting its affiliates anytime soon. Assistant GM John Ricco, not Bernazard, will be traveling with the Mets in Houston this weekend.

With a 3-1 loss Wednesday night to the Washington leaving the Mets a full 10 games behind Philadelphia — nothing like Craig Stammen and a trio of Nats relievers allowing just 4 hits to make you wonder why Minaya considers himself a buyer at the deadline —- how does Bernazard skipping the games in Houston represent a punishment?

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