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MIAMI (AP) _ Umpire Ed Rapuano said Sunday he accidentally bumped shoulders with Bobby Valentine, prompting the heated exchange that led to the ejection of the New York Mets' manager from Saturday night's game at Florida.

The contact occurred after catcher Mike Piazza had already been ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Mark Wegner.

``We both turned in the same direction when I was walking away and happened to bump shoulders,'' Rapuano said. ``There was no reason or intent for me to do so.

``Bobby made a comment after the bumping incident. That's when I ejected him.''

Rapuano declined to say what Valentine said as they stood nose to nose shouting. After the game, Valentine complained about Rapuano's attitude and said the umpire had lingering hard feelings about an argument with the Mets during a game a week ago.

``What is this, the Gestapo?'' Valentine said.

``Bobby has his opinion,'' said Rapuano, who has been a major league umpire for 12 years. ``I've never had the reputation of being like that. I'm just trying to keep the peace.''

Rapuano, who lives in Boca Raton, said his wife and daughter were part of the crowd of 33,291 that witnessed the rhubarb. He worked the final game of the New York-Florida series Sunday and said he harbored no grudge against the Mets or Valentine.

``I respect Bobby,'' Rapuano said. ``He's a manager in major league baseball. And I'm sure he respects me.''

Valentine said Sunday there's sometimes a carry-over from such incidents but added, ``I've got enough other things to worry about.''