Omar Minaya called another press conference last night, and in this one he managed to not entirely shoot off his own foot, which probably had something to do with his boss, COO Jeff Wilpon, standing ominously at his side.
Minaya and Wilpon materialized in the Citi Field press box before last night's game against the Rockies. The former was there to make a half-assed apology for assailing Daily News reporter Adam Rubin at an earlier press conference, about the firing of the Mets' shirtless, two-fisted VP for player development, Tony Bernazard, during which the general manager accused Rubin of plotting ornately to use the column inches of his newspaper to wangle a front-office job with the Mets. The latter was there to contradict just about everything Minaya had said. Writes the Star-Ledger's Brendan Prunty:
"I want to basically, really apologize for what I raised in the forum," Minaya said in the Citi Field press box before the start of Monday's game against the Colorado Rockies. "That was not a proper forum for me to raise those issues and I just feel that in bringing it up there, I don't think that was right and I want to apologize for that."
Minaya was joined by Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, who offered similar words.
"Omar came right up after the press conference to talk to me about it and said, 'Listen, this is what was going through my mind,' and that's private between him and myself," Wilpon said. "But (Minaya) very much wanted to come up here and talk about it."
Wilpon backed Rubin's version of their conversations about front-office work, which Minaya had characterized as "lobbying" for a job.
"I did have the conversation with Adam and what Adam said is correct," Wilpon told reporters. "We did have a conversation on career advice and I don't think there's anything wrong with that — for Adam to come to me with that and speak to me. We had an impromptu conversation somewhere."
Rubin, for his part, addressed Minaya's comments in print today, calling the allegations "misguided." Elsewhere, the attack on Rubin played out like a cheap move by a cornered politician. As Faith and Fear in Flushing's Greg Prince writes:
Lobbied. (Or "lobby" as Omar pronounced it in the past tense.) It struck me as a strange choice of phrasing. It could mean nothing - maybe he walks around the office saying "lobby" or "lobbied" all the time - but it didn't sound like a natural word for Omar Minaya to toss around in conversation. There was even the slightest pause before he spit it out the first time.
What it sounded like was a talking point, the kind politicians use ad infinitum on talking head shows; the kind that is intended to spread virally so it will become woven into the discussion, a discussion you wish framed on your terms; the kind consultants drill into their clients for maximum impact in the hopes that if it is repeated enough, it will begin to sink in as fact.
If it seems a little paranoid to hear a prepared talking point in Minaya's charges, note (as this guy does) that SNY, during the first Minaya presser, cut to Rubin almost immediately after Minaya said his name. It was as if the network knew what was coming and had a camera trained on Rubin the whole time, waiting.
In any event, Minaya has been roundly panned — by the team's own broadcasters, no less — and publicly undermined by his own boss, and now he looks even more like a man not long for his job. Meanwhile, Fernando Tatis beat the Rockies on a grand slam and no one cared.
NY Mets GM Omar Minaya apologetic after tense press conference with reporter Adam Rubin [Star-Ledger]
Undressing the misguided charges of Mets general manager Omar Minaya [Daily News]
SNY voices rip Mets GM Omar Minaya for Adam Rubin debacle [Daily News]
Yet Another Sterling Example [Faith and Fear in Flushing]
So George Santayana Walks Into A Bar ... [Metstradamus]