“Adam Rubin said he had asked people from all 30 teams how one gets into the baseball business, but someone who has covered baseball for more than five years, as Rubin has, should not have to ask how. It has all been there in front of him.” So mused former NY Times baseball columnist Murray Chass (above), who observed yesterday’s circus at Citi Field and in taking a tact similar to that of Amazin Avenue, insists, “of course there™s a conflict of interest.”

I™m not suggesting that Rubin wrote the stories to undermine Bernazard, but whatever his intention was in speaking to Mets™ officials about working in baseball Rubin created a situation that raised questions about his motives. That™s certainly how Minaya saw it, and he was justified in thinking that way. Rubin was wrong for not understanding it.

I sent an e-mail to Leon Carter, the Daily News sports editor, asking if he thought Rubin was guilty of a conflict of interest. He did not reply. Instead I received the newspaper™s statement from the editor-in-chief, Martin Dunn.

œThis was a well-reported, well-researched, exclusive story, and it™s a shame that the Mets deemed fit to cast aspersions on our reporter instead of dealing with the issues at hand. We stand by Adam 1,000%.

The Mets, of course, did deal with the issues at hand. They fired Bernazard. But the Daily News editor-in-chief did not deal with the conflict of interest so I sent another e-mail on the conflict question but got no further reply.

In the meantime, Minaya and Jeff Wilpon came to the press box for news conference Part II. Minaya apologized not for what he said but for when he said it. That was not a proper forum for me to raise those issues, he said.

I disagree. That was the absolutely right forum. When else? When no one was paying attention any longer?

Though mocking Chass is a more popular sport around here than, well, Slamball, he’s not incorrect. There’s little to indicate that Rubin had a score to settle or has ever been particularly interested in making himself the center of attention. But in seeking career advice from Jeff Wilpon (who presumably suggested that Rubin come back to earth after he’s won a genetic lottery), the reporter left himself wide open to implications of impropriety. And while I realize this has nothing to do with Chass’ point, there must be a worse way of currying favor with the Wilpons than repeatedly exposing them to ridicule? It would seem Rubin is just as poor at sucking up to potential employers as Omar Minaya is at crisis management.