Telling? Mets COO Wilpon declines comment on Randolph

Updated: May 22, 2008, 5:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Embattled New York Mets manager Willie Randolph apologized Wednesday for the "distraction" he has caused his team, but the silence that followed from the team's owners was deafening.

[+] EnlargeWillie Randolph
AP Photo/John BazemoreWhile Willie Randolph tries to separate himself from comments he made in the Bergen Record, his team is flopping on the field.

Randolph tried to reach out to the Mets owners Wednesday, getting no response before he publicly apologized for the comments he made recently suggesting he was portrayed in a different manner than white managers.

When asked why Mets ownership didn't return Randolph's calls, Jay Horwitz, the team's media relations vice president, told 1050 ESPN Radio's Andrew Marchand on Thursday that "Omar Minaya returned the call on behalf of Mets ownership."

Randolph and Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon usually speak often, which seems to make the Wilpons' decision not to return Randolph's call telling. Wilpon declined to comment Thursday when contacted by 1050 ESPN Radio.

The Mets dropped their third straight game Wednesday night, losing 11-4 to the Braves to fall to .500 for the season. The team, picked by many experts to win the NL East before the season, is now mired in fourth place -- 3 games behind the first-place Florida Marlins.

Before the Mets' latest loss, Randolph issued an apology Wednesday to team ownership, the club's TV network and his players "for the unnecessary distraction" he created with his comments to The Bergen (N.J.) Record that appeared in Monday's editions.

Randolph brought up race when he questioned the way he has been presented by SNY, the team's TV network.

"Is it racial?" Randolph was quoted in the story. "Huh? It smells a little bit. … I don't know how to put my finger on it, but I think there's something there."

Before the Mets played the Braves on Wednesday, Randolph began by saying, "I just wrote down some notes I want to share with you guys."

"First of all, I want to apologize to the Mets ownership, SNY and my team for the unnecessary distraction that I created, that I caused the last couple days," he said. "I shouldn't have said what I said. It was a mistake. As simple as that. It was a mistake.

"And there is no excuse for that. No excuses. I own up to it. The fact of life is that we haven't been playing very well as a team. We've been very inconsistent. We've talked about that before. When it happens, you're going to get criticized for that. I understand that."

Randolph said he wasn't asked by Mets management to issue the apology.

"It's been a tough couple months for my team, for myself," he said. "I understand that goes along with that. I've known that for a long time."

Mets infielder Damion Easley said Randolph's comments had not caused a stir in the clubhouse.

"I didn't feel like it was a distraction," Easley said. "I only know bits and pieces. It doesn't change the fact that we've got to play better baseball and the sooner the better. So as far as creating a distraction, I didn't feel like that was a distraction."

Pressure on Randolph, which began with a late-season collapse to miss the playoffs last year, has increased.

"I take full responsibility for what I said out of frustration and hope that we can put a close to this matter and focus on winning a lot of baseball games," he said. "That's what we're here to do, win a championship."

When asked if his opinion of the way he has been portrayed by SNY has changed, Randolph said, "Yes. Yes. Again, those guys have a job to do. They get paid a lot of money to do their job. What I feel about that is really not important. At the time I voiced that opinion, again, that was out of frustration.

"What I said was what it felt like to me. I feel bad about how this has come about."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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