Prior to Mike Pelfrey’s miserable showing tonight against the Atlanta Braves, Mets manager Willie Randoph addressed the media concerning inflammatory remarks attributed to him in Monday’s Bergen Record. From Newsday’s David Lennon :

“Before I start guys, I need to say a few things real quick,” Randolph said. “First of all I want to apologize to Met ownership, SNY and my team for the unnecessary distraction that I created the last couple of days. I shouldn’t have said what I said. It was a mistake — simple as that. It was a mistake. There’s no excuses for that. I’m owning up to it.

“The fact of life is that we haven’t been playing very well as a team. We’ve been very inconsistent. When that happens, you’re going to be criticized for that. I understand that. It’s been a tough couple of months. I expect a lot from my team, from myself, and I understand that goes along with it. I’ve been in this town for a long time.

“I take full responsibility for what I said in my frustration and I hope that we can put a close to this matter and focus on winning a lot of baseball games. That’s what we’re here to do — win a championship. I just wanted to publicly apologize and I take full responsibility for what happened a couple of days ago.”

Randolph later said during his weekly appearance on WFAN that his comments were meant to be off the record, a claim the Record’s Ian O’Connor vehemently denies. But apparently it took him almost 72 hours to fully realize how much of a mess he had made.

The Mets manager said he already had reached out to the Wilpons to apologize directly, but was not instructed by team ownership to issue the statement. COO Jeff Wilpon did not return a telephone call seeking comment. Randolph also told WFAN that he was so troubled by the controversy that he talked with his pastor and family about how to make amends.

After Pelfrey was chased this evening, ESPN’s Rick Sutcliffe suggested the righty needed “6 weeks” in the minor leagues where he’d be able to focus on “having fun”.

I don’t know how much time Sutcliffe has spent in pre or post-Katrina Metairie, LA, but the local Chamber Of Commerce must be thrilled to know a respected baseball analyst considers their burg to be Fun City USA.