NEW YORK — New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine sent Florida's Cliff Floyd a letter Friday saying he regretted the controversy caused by not picking the Marlins' outfielder for the All-Star game.
Floyd said he was so certain he had made the team after talking to Valentine by phone on Tuesday that he spent $16,000 on airplane tickets to Seattle for family and friends.
When the team was announced Wednesday, Floyd wasn't on it, setting off an acrimonious "he said" battle, which showed no sign of abating.
Valentine said his letter to Floyd said: "Even if you thought I said you were on the team, it's regretful."
"It's a good gesture on his part," Floyd said. "I try not to knock anybody."
Valentine repeatedly maintained that he ended his conversation with Floyd by saying "anything can happen in the next 24 hours."
"I just wish the truth would come out," Floyd said. "I swore today on probably everybody in my family that if you misunderstand something, you misunderstand maybe one word — not three or four sentences pertaining to the fact that I'm on the team."
Valentine dismissed talk that he deliberately set up Floyd for a fall because Floyd called him a "stupid manager" earlier this season.
"That is like Looney Toons," Valentine said. "That's a cartoon world, that I'm going to set him up so I can look like a fool on one of the bigger weekends of my life?"
Valentine made light of Floyd's ticket dilemma, saying. "There might not be Christmas presents now — spent all the money on tickets."
He also launched a thinly veiled attack on New York Yankees manager Joe Torre for not selecting Seattle reliever Jeff Nelson for the AL team. Nelson was angry last year, his final season with the Yankees, when Torre bypassed him.
"Almost everyone believes Nelson didn't get picked for personal reasons," Valentine said. "Floyd doesn't get picked for professional reasons and I get criticized for making it personal. That's amazing."
Torre denied his feelings had anything to do with not picking Nelson.
"The day I do anything for personal reasons is the day I should walk away from the game," Torre said. "I would be hurting the team if I did that. That adversarial relationship I had with Jim Leyritz was very difficult but we accepted him on this team and I think that gives us an idea of my mindset. It's ridiculous to think that I would not pick Jeff for personal reasons."
Valentine said Floyd was the eighth-best NL outfielder in his ranking behind Moises Alou, Larry Walker, Lance Berkman, Barry Bonds, Luis Gonzalez, Sammy Sosa and Brian Giles. Valentine also selected Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero because each team must have at least one representative.