“‘I’ll still be the manager of the Mets before he will” sneers Newsday’s David Lennon after reading Gary Carter’s press release. Hey, I’d wager Lennon would get an interview sooner than Wally Backman. Hey, how come nobody’s asking Art Howe or Jeff Torborg if they’d be interested in applying?

œI have been inundated with requests for interviews regarding my comments about the New York Mets managerial position. In order to be fair, I cannot honor all the requests and would like to issue the following statement instead:

œMy goal over the past six years has been to work my way back to the major leagues as a manager or coach. In order to accomplish that goal I agreed to start at the bottom by managing two years in Port St. Lucie in the Mets minor league system. This year the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League selected me to manage their team, and to help me reach my goal. I took that position to allow me to stay in baseball and be close to family members who live in this area, and to come back home to where I grew up.

œAs part of my arrangement with the Flyers, I have been given the option to return to the majors if a coaching or managerial position becomes available. I have always maintained an open dialog with the Mets, and my recent contact with them was to explore if there was something I could do to help this team that I care about. My intentions were not malicious, but I acknowledge that my actions have been hurtful to Willie and his players.

œI want to publicly apologize to Willie Randolph, and the Mets, for my radio comments. Throughout my career, and in many cases to my detriment, I have been open and honest with the media and at times discretion may have been a better choice. I continue to be an avid fan of Willie and the Mets, and have confidence that this team will be successful.

œThank you to all my fans who understand my tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve and let my enthusiasm get the best of me at times. I am honored by your support.