Bob Costas says he was only making a joke when he referred to a Mets celebration as "another indication of the ongoing decline of Western civilization,'' and was surprised by the firestorm reaction the line created.

In an interview on ESPN Radio this week, Costas said, "Of all the faux controversies, this is among the dumbest I've ever seen or heard.''

Costas delivered the line on NBC during the final round of the U.S. Open on June 16 while showing highlights of the Mets' walk-off 4-3 victory over the Cubs. People took his words too seriously, he said.

"Do I have to have a graphic beneath me? It's a joke. I'll slow down if you don't get it. It's a joke,'' Costas said.

Costas said Mets media relations director Jay Horwitz called him the next day. Costas said he told him, " 'Jay, you know I meant no harm at all. It's just a joke.' ''

But Costas didn't seem pleased with how his words there were received publicly, either. "That's been reported that I apologized to the Mets,'' he said. "What do I need to apologize for? Breathing?''

Pedro rising, Lyon going

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Lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano has held opponents to a .136 average and allowed only three hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings for Double-A Binghamton, putting him in line for a potential call-up.

Collins said the Mets want to see Feliciano's velocity stay consistent, especially on back-to-back days, before bringing him back. Feliciano pitched for the Mets in 2010 before signing a two-year deal with the Yankees. A rotator-cuff injury kept him from ever pitching for them.

After the game the Mets designated Brandon Lyon for assignment and recalled Greg Burke.