Prior to the Mets’ 6-5 win in Philly this afternoon, Newsday’s David Lennon caught an earful from the Mets’ ever shy, retiring Boogie Shoes, who’d have you believe his trips to the racetrack, marital indiscretions and ill-advised remarks about teammates speaking English are all some kind of media creation.

At best, Paul Lo Duca was portrayed in some media circles this morning as a hothead fed up with constantly answering for his teammates. At worst? A racist in one of the more racially diverse clubhouses in the majors. Either way, those comments got Lo Duca called into the manager’s office for a chat that lasted nearly 30 minutes, and the catcher emerged breathing fire to reporters.

“So now I™m a racist,” Lo Duca said. “Right now, I™m a gambler, a racist, and I like 18-year-old girls. That™s the perception of people in New York about me. Is any of it true? No, none of it.Yet, no one knows that. Do you understand where I™m coming from? Do I have a right to be frustrated? Tell me if I™m wrong. You ask any of these guys in the clubhouse and ask whether I have a problem with any of them “ if they like me, if I™m an issue. One thing about me “ listen, I™ve had issues in my life, I™ve went through marital problems, I understand that.

“If you go to all three of my clubs, name one teammate who has a problem with me. Name one. One person who™s ever said to you that Paul Lo Duca is a cancer in the clubhouse or that Paul Lo Duca is a racist or that Paul Lo Duca has issues. Nobody.”

Full credit to Captain Red Ass : while sitting out the opener of today’s twinbill, there’s no evidence he placed any bets, attended a junior prom or lent his support to the Governor of California. But the day’s not over yet.