Bonilla explains run-in with book author

April 13, 1993|By Steve Serby | Steve Serby,New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- Bobby Bonilla revealed Sunday why he gave an X-rated "E" to Bob Klapisch's book, "The Worst Team Money Could Buy," and Mets manager Jeff Torborg stood resolutely behind his $29 million right fielder.

"Bobby Bonilla's not here to do anything to damage the integrity of the sport," Bonilla said standing in the manager's office with Torborg seated behind his desk before Sunday's game. "I probably said something I shouldn't have said.

"It was in the heat of battle. I felt like he wanted to challenge me. He came toward me. One thing led to another. I definitely said something I shouldn't have said. I'm not here to threaten people.

"This team as a whole, we feel he abused his privilege, period, and that's all we have to say. We're not taking this out on everyone else in the media."

Klapisch covered the Mets last season and co-authored the book with John Harper, also of the New York Daily News. Klapisch said he approached Bonilla to find out why the right fielder baited him with vulgarities and warn, "I'll hurt you," during a Saturday post-game interview at Doc Gooden's locker.

"I'm 180 pounds," Klapisch said from home. "Bonilla's 240. I'm not crazy enough to challenge him."

Bonilla acknowledged he had read only excerpts of the book printed in the Daily News and was more personally angered by a column Klapisch had written in spring training following a story in which Bonilla's work ethic was questioned anonymously by at least one teammate.

"He questioned whether I was sick or not," Bonilla said. "You're testing my integrity and you better forget that. You're gonna question my work ethic? You gotta be kidding me. . . I don't mind if you bury me for an error or striking out four times. Don't question things I do off the field. I don't think it's any of your business."

But Bonilla also was obviously buoyed by anti-Klapisch sentiment in the clubhouse that reaches deep into the manager's office.

"It's like a 'Ball Four' and yet it's not the same," Torborg said, referring to ex-New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton's famous tell-all. "But it's a guy among their midst who now, they really feel, they're hurt by the fact their trust was betrayed.

"There are some absolute inaccuracies in the book," the manager said. "Flat-out lies."

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