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Mets fire Tony Bernazard, VP who took shirt off

Mets owner Fred Wilpon, left, and Tony Bernazard,

Mets owner Fred Wilpon, left, and Tony Bernazard, watch spring training workouts in 2005. Photo Credit: AP

The Mets completed their investigation of Tony Bernazard and decided to fire the embattled vice president of player development on Monday.

Mets GM Omar Minaya said it was his decision to fire Bernazard. Minaya made the announcement in a news conference Monday afternoon, prior to a game against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field.

The firing comes less than a week after allegations that Bernazard bullied players at Double-A Binghamton, ripping off his shirt and challenging them to a fight.

Bernazard, 53, also got into a verbal confrontation with Francisco Rodriguez on the Mets’ bus during last weekend’s trip to Atlanta and reportedly screamed at another front-office employee in the seats behind home plate at Citi Field.

When the reports first surfaced, it was expected that Bernzard would survive the damaging allegations, primarily because of his close relationship with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. But after Minaya promised an investigation last Wednesday, giving the team’s decision-makers more time to mull over their options, the Mets evidently thought it best to remove Bernazard.

The news conference became bizarre when Minaya accused Daily News Mets beat reporter Adam Rubin, who first reported the allegations about Bernazard, of lobbying for a job with the team in the same area that Bernazard worked in.

Rubin denied he has lobbied for a job with the team, but admitted that he has asked people around baseball how he might get started in the business.

"The way newspapers are going, I think we all need to look out for ourselves," Rubin said during his own news conference afterward.

"I’ve been around minor-league baseball since the ‘90s, when I covered the White Sox’s Double-A teams. I enjoy that. Tony [Bernazard] actually told me I was good at getting information from minor leagues. I had asked in the past, 'How do you get into that?' That’s the extent of it. Jeff [Wilpon] had invited me even to meet with him, and I never took him up on it. There’s no conflict of interest at all."


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