The New York Mets circus continues as they prove to be the laughing stock of New York. Just when they may be turning a corner, they blow up on the field. But this time that blowup continued in the locker room where Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway got into a heated argument with one of their own beat reporters. Adding further drama to the situation pitcher Jason Vargas then threatened that same reporter. Lost in the post-game shuffle the Mets blew a game they could have won.
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) June 24, 2019
The Loss In Chicago
The Mets were up 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs and had arguably their best reliever on the mound in Seth Lugo. Lugo threw 20 pitches and did not appear to be as sharp as usual. That being said, he did manage to get through the inning unscathed.
Lugo returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning. Kyle Schwarber led off with a single. After Kris Bryant flew out, Anthony Rizzo walked. Lugo’s pitch count swelled to 39 pitches before he faced Javier Baez. On the third pitch, Baez homered to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead and eventual win.
The Mets closer is Edwin Diaz, and he was not brought into the game to get a five-out save. Even more surprising is that he was not used despite only appearing in one game in the last seven days. After the game, Callaway insisted Diaz would not be used for more than four outs. Furthermore, bringing him in the game to get five outs was never a real possibility.
The handling of the Met bullpen has been a problem all season long for Callaway. This culminated with the firing of bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez this past Friday. Had they won, it would have capped a very successful weekend in Chicago. Instead, the Mets move on to Philadelphia licking their wounds both on the field and off the field.
The Clubhouse Incident
Callaway got into an argument with Tim Healey of Newsday.
“See you tomorrow, Mickey,” said Healey according to the report.
As Callaway started to walk away he began to curse at Healey.
“Don’t be a smartass,” said Callaway.
He then called him a “motherf—er.” This was said under his breath but it was loud enough to be heard.
Callaway then walked back to Healey and let out another string of curse words. He told Healey to not talk to him like that given how upset the team was after a heartbreaking loss. He mimicked the what Healey said.
“See you tomorrow,” said Calloway, as Healey was attempting to explain himself. “Shut the f–k up and get out of my face and get out of the clubhouse.”
“Get this motherf—er out of here, he’ll be here tomorrow,” asked Callaway of the Mets PR personnel.
At this point, Vargas and Healey were staring each other down. Vargas wanted to know why Healey was staring at him. Healey replied that it looked like he had something to say.
“I’ll knock you the f–k out, bro,” said Vargas to Healey.
No other Mets player or coach got involved except for Diaz who shouted “Sacalo! Sacalo!” which means get him out. Healey soon left the clubhouse but briefly spoke to the Mets PR, explaining he meant nothing by the comment. Callaway was visibly annoyed before Healey’s comments due to the questions he was getting asked about how he used his bullpen in the eighth inning.
Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas clashed with a beat writer in the Mets clubhouse after another ugly loss Sunday.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 23, 2019
The Mets have since apologized to Healey for this incident with the following statement:
“The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our beat writers following today’s game in the clubhouse. We do not condone this type of behavior from any employee. The organization has reached out and apologized to this reporter and will have further discussions internally with all involved parties.”
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen who was in Chicago for the series but left early to catch a flight was not expected to be with the team as their road trip continued with a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. As a result of this altercation, it is now expected that Van Wagenen will meet up with the team in Philadelphia.
Tim Healey has said that co-owner Jeff Wilpon has spoken to him directly regarding this incident. Wilpon apologized for the incident on behalf of the whole organization. He stressed that Healey should feel comfortable to do his job at the ballpark. Wilpon also added that there is no reason for him to feel uncomfortable.
Callaway’s seat has been hot at various times this season and having this kind of incident will not help his cause. The Mets need to win games and winning three out of four in Chicago would have given the team a lot of momentum heading into Philadelphia. Instead not only did the Mets blow this game but now have to deal with off the field issues as they are trying to climb back into contention.
There is no indication if the Mets will suspend or fine Callaway or any other players involved in this incident. MLB has not commented on this incident either. The loss and the clubhouse incident takes away from the accomplishment by rookie Pete Alonso who in less than half a season has already set the Mets franchise record for most home runs by a rookie.
The Mets record is 37-41 and are nine games out of first place behind the Atlanta Braves. However, they are only five games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and three and a half behind the Colorado Rockies for a wildcard spot. By no means is the Mets season over but they certainly can’t just let wins slip through their fingers like what happened in Chicago.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images