The alleged behavior of Mets executive Tony Bernazard created quite a firestorm around the team on Wednesday, and for good reason. Yelling at employees in plain sight of paying customers, challenging minor leaguers to fights while shirtless and getting into scraps with star closers have a tendency to attract attention. That it appears that the Mets won't fire Bernazard isn't the problem, however.
The problem is that the Mets won't even stand up to take an opinion one way or the other. Omar Minaya told reporters that he'd investigate the allegations and speak to Bernazard sometime in the next few days before weighing options about how to go forward.
What is there to investigate? On the face of things, it is unbelievable to say that you didn't know about these incidents before they became public. General managers need to know what's happening in the organization they're managing, plain and simple. Even if we allow that they were caught unaware, this is hardly Watergate we're talking about and it's not like Bernazard's behind-the-scenes machinations have been a mystery.
Call the guy Bernazard yelled at during a game at Citi Field and ask him what happened. Call Binghamton and ask them what happened during Bernazard's visit. Call Francisco Rodriguez and ask him what happened. When you've done all of that, call Bernazard and get his side of everything. How long does that take? An hour, maybe two, and then you say one way or the other what you're going to do about it.
If the answer is nothing, fine. Stand up and say you're doing nothing because you don't feel that represents a significant problem for the organization. If the answer is firing Bernazard, then fire Bernazard because you won't accept that kind of behavior from an executive. This approach of doing nothing doesn't work, though. They did with Willie Randolph and they've done it with injury after injury, and in every case they make things worse not better at the end of the day.
It's wrong to put this all on Minaya, because no decisions on matters like this aren't made without consulting the people higher up the chain of command. The Wilpons create the culture of the team, and the culture they've created is one of independent actors backstabbing one another under the guise of a collegial atmosphere without strict hierarchy. The only positive to come out of that is that for a day or two no one will notice how bad the team is on the field.
So they've got that going for them, but the two things aren't mutually exclusive. Garbage goes into the pot and garbage comes out of the pot, no matter the chef and no matter the baseball team.