Monday, July 27, 2009

How's This for Damage Control: Mets Fire Misbehaving VP and Then Tell Everyone Why

Why It Really Sucks to be Tony Bernazard Right Now

The New York Mets did what they had to do, and got rid of vice president for player development Tony Bernazard, after he became unhinged, not to mention shirtless.
Among his most-recent distractions: removing his shirt in front of some of the Double-A Binghamton Mets, questioning their manhood and challenging them to a fight. He also nearly came to blows with star reliever Francisco Rodriguez, and ripped a colleague a new one after it was suggested he wait to take a seat occupied by an opposing team's scout.
So, the fact that Bernazard was dumped is no big surprise. What did open my eyes, however, is opening an email the Mets send to fans, and seeing a message from General Manager Omar Minaya that succinctly yet completely explained why he fired Bernazard. Such moves are usually kept under wraps, or companies simply say "we don't comment on personnel matters."
Nothing about this incident particularly compelled Minaya to make an exception to that rule, but good of him to do so. Here's what he wrote:

I wanted for you to hear directly from me today regarding an update on the investigation of Tony Bernazard, our Vice President of Player Development. Prior to a series of articles published in the media, our Baseball Operations and Human Resources departments had begun looking into several matters involving Tony.

Once those reports became public, we accelerated our investigation. We wanted it to be thorough and complete it as quickly as possible while still being fair to Tony. That process concluded over the weekend. Yesterday, I met with Tony in person to have a frank conversation about what we had learned following interviews with numerous people. I also wanted for Tony to have the opportunity to give his side of the story. After meeting with Tony, and giving a lot of thought to the facts, I came to a decision on Tony's status which I shared with Ownership last night.

My recommendation was that we needed to part ways with Tony, as his behavior in his interaction with others was inconsistent with our organization's values. Ownership agreed with my assessment and accepted my recommendation. I spoke with Tony this morning and informed him of my decision to terminate his employment with the Mets. Personnel decisions are never easy. And one can't make them without giving it a lot of thought. It's even harder when you know someone as I do Tony.

Tony and I go back a long time. He is a dedicated baseball man who loves the game, someone I like and respect, and someone who has contributed to the Mets. In the end, however, I just told him I couldn't leave him in his position after all that had transpired. As General Manager of the Mets, I am fully accountable for our Baseball Operations department -- on and off the field -- and stand by this decision. Thank you for your ongoing support of the Mets.

Now what I'd like to really read about is Minaya making a few more trades before Friday's deadline, so I don't lose interest in the Mets before Labor Day.

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