- Tony Bernazard, Tony Bernazard, Tony Bernazard and, lest we forget, Tony Bernazard:
I have no way of knowing what's true and what isn't in regards to Bernazard, but it does seem that he's becoming the fall guy for whatever went wrong between Randolph and the Mets; that being said, for all those that have been relentlessly ripping the Mets for the way they fired Randolph, it's in the same ballpark when these anonymous quotes are popping up from people whispering in the ears of dubious messengers saying that Bernazard is a "bad" guy. When there are guys like Chris "The Biggest Idiot In The World" Russo going off on tangents saying that the Mets should "get Bernazard outta here" without knowing exactly what Bernazard did or didn't do, it's more of a search for a fall guy in the Randolph firing other than Randolph himself.
You can say whatever you want about Mets GM Omar Minaya and owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon, but one thing you cannot say is that they're stupid. Minaya may be taking advice from Bernazard, but if Bernazard had so much power in the organization and hated Randolph that much, then Randolph might have been gone after the 2006 NLCS. Now we hear that because of Bernazard's former top tier position with the players union, the Mets would never bring in a player who'd crossed the picket line thirteen years ago, which leaves Kevin Millar (pretty much exactly the type of player the Mets could use) as a non-option. I would hope that Minaya isn't so easily manipulated that he's going to let such a forgotten thing as that to prevent him from bringing in a player the Mets need. It was so long ago and just about every team has forgiven and forgotten the players who crossed the line that it's absurd to think that a guy like Millar would be excluded out of hand based on the say-so of the assistant GM.
It's easy to play the game of telephone and repeat rumors about Bernazard's supposed power in the organization, but Minaya isn't going to let his assistant tell him what to do when it's his job and reputation on the line. The easiest thing in the world for a reporter to do is to say, "I heard
This reminds me of when the New York Giants had hired a new veteran defensive coach named Rod Rust and Rust used a system called "read and react" which some reporters decided they didn't like. All of a sudden there were numerous phone calls to sports talk radio ripping the "read and react" system which the vast majority of them couldn't distinguish from any other system that defensive coaches use; but Rust became the villain in the Giants fall and was eventually replaced.
Rumors are rumors and word of mouth is word of mouth, but there doesn't seem to be any concrete facts with Bernazard either having the power to do what he's said to have done or that he and he alone is responsible for Willie Randolph's failures. Randolph was notoriously thin-skinned as a player, coach and manager and it may be that he was overly sensitive to a perceived interloper in his clubhouse and if that's the case, he should have taken a stronger stand against Bernazard hanging around and making him feel uncomfortable. Even if Bernazard did everything he's alleged to have done, it's partly Randolph's fault for not taking care of it so it wouldn't be an issue.
- J.P. Ricciardi----the gift that keeps on giving:
Whether Dunn accepts that apology is up to him, but another interesting thing that Olney brought up is that there's a similar feeling around the Blue Jays as there was around the Mets in Willie Randolph's last days and that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is close to being fired. Just so I understand, Ricciardi, whose term as Blue Jays GM has been mediocre at best, is going to be allowed to fire his third manager during his tenure? I have to openly wonder: How is Ricciardi still there? Does he have an unlimited amount of time to continually bring in another manager; then another manager; then another manager? Eduardo Perez (who is very good on the show by the way) said that he thinks Cito Gaston will replace Gibbons if he's fired. Gaston has been unfairly deprived of another chance to manage after winning two World Series with the Blue Jays, but unless he's a miracle worker and gets the team to the playoffs, how likely is it that he's going to keep the job after the season if Ricciardi is finally let go?
The Blue Jays problems are not the fault of the manager. Gibbons is a fiery, solid X and O guy who should receive another chance to manage in a more stable situation. Does Ricciardi deserve another chance to change managers and deflect blame from himself? He's had almost seven years on the job and the team has never had more than 87 wins or been closer than nine games from a playoff spot at season's end. He's bluntly honest in his unguarded moments and extremely impressed with himself; perhaps Ricciardi would be better served to choose between his twin vocations of radio talk show host and GM and pick the one he's better at. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which of the two that is.