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Lee Mazzilli comes to defense of fellow Brooklynite

(Credit: Watchdog)

Lee Mazzilli and Willie Randolph both are 53-year-olds who grew up in Brooklyn and spent the early parts of their careers playing in their hometown.

Yet, strangely, neither is ready to teach New York Sports Journalism 101. Or any kind of journalism, for that matter.

On SNY's post-game show Wednesday night, Mazzilli suggested columnist Ian O'Connor was wrong for not double-checking with Randolph to make sure their Sunday night conversation was on the record.

Technically, it's supposed to happen the other way around. It's up to the subject to make that clear before he starts speaking.

In fairness, it does not always work that way in the real world.

Journalists with a close, long-term relationship with a subject do sometimes give him or her the benefit of the doubt by asking whether a seemingly casual conversation is meant for publication.

But Randolph is the manager of the Mets, was standing in the middle of a clubhouse and had a tape recorder in his face.

Click below for a transcript of Mazzilli's comments, as well as those of Harold Reynolds, which were more to the point. The point being this: Until the Mets win a game, the Randolph saga will not go away.Here's Maz: "I had a problem with that article, because he felt that it was kind of off the record. I know what Willie was going through by just chatting with this writer. I feel that there's an obligation for the journalist to ask that person if you really want to say this.

"Because if he said a quote and he wasn't sure about that, I think the writer has to say, 'Are you sure you want to say this?' And I think that's why there is a problem with athletes and writers because they don't trust them right now, because this is what happened up there.

"Willie says he didn't say that. I take Willie's word, and maybe that he should have asked Willie, 'Do you want me to print this?' And he didn't do that. And that's what started this. I think sometimes you say things and you shoot yourself in the foot and you don't want it out there, but I think this whole thing could have been avoided, I really do."

(I don't know where Maz got the notion Randolph claimed he didn't say something O'Connor quoted him saying.)

Harold Reynolds: "Here's my point: If they win, we've got interviews. Here comes David Wright! Here comes Delgado! And we're talking baseball. Tomorrow morning we're going to open up the newspaper and it's going to be, 'Willie addresses the media,' and, 'Here's what Willie had to say.' And they're still losing. So Santana has to win tomorrow to turn the cycle. It will not turn until they win. That's just my opinion."

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