Brodie Van Wagenen was burned by a hot mic. Rob Manfred may be in even hotter water.
As the Mets and Marlins deliberated whether to play Thursday night’s scheduled game at Citi Field — following the postponement of five MLB games — the Mets general manager was captured on video bashing Manfred’s leadership, while stating that the MLB commissioner suggested the players perform an orchestrated walkout before the first pitch, only to return to play an hour later. Van Wagenen said the players did not want to play.
“Baseball’s trying to come up with a solution, saying, ‘Oh, you know what would be super powerful’ — the three of us here, [this information] can’t leave this room — ‘you know it’d be really great if you just have them all take the field and then they leave the field and then they come back and play at 8:10,’” Van Wagenen said on the leaked video. “And I was like, ‘What?’”
Van Wagenen, who then confirmed it was Manfred who floated that idea, seemingly told Mets COO Jeff Wilpon the team would not play Thursday, before criticizing the maligned commissioner.
“I said Jeff….these guys are not playing. They’re not playing. But that’s Rob’s instinct,” Van Wagenen said. “That leadership level, he doesn’t get it. He just doesn’t get it.”
Van Wagenen later apologized for the comments.
“Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play,” Van Wagenen said in a statement. “They discussed the challenges of rescheduling the game. Jeff proposed an idea of playing the game an hour later.
“I misunderstood that this was the Commissioner’s idea. In actuality, this was Jeff’s suggestion. The players had already made their decision so I felt the suggestion was not helpful. My frustration with the Commissioner was wrong and unfounded. I apologize to the Commissioner for my disrespectful comments and poor judgement in inaccurately describing the contents of his private conversation with Jeff Wilpon.”
According to Nick Albicocco, a 20-year-old New York native who first posted the clip online, the Mets are responsible for inadvertently leaking the embarrassing video to the team site. It has since been removed.
“I found the video on Mets.com when I went to look for an update on whether they would play tonight,” Albicocco told The Post’s Andrew Marchand. “It was sitting on their homepage for who knows how long. When I heard that I couldn’t believe it.”
Following first baseman Dominic Smith’s emotional post-game press conference Wednesday — in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake — Van Wagenen said the players would decide if the team played Thursday.
“We’re going to take the pulse of our players and give them an opportunity to have a voice, and we want to empower them to have a voice,” Van Wagenen said earlier in the day on WFAN. “But what’s going on is upsetting. What I saw from Dom Smith yesterday upsets me that he’s feeling that pain. That Black people across the country are feeling the pain. It’s outrageous. It really is. And the fact that we’re still facing these situations at this point in our society is upsetting.”