Mets' Mickey Callaway, Jason Vargas Involved in Verbal Altercation with Reporter

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05:   Jason Vargas #44 of the New York Mets celebrates his shutout against the San Francisco Giants with manager Mickey Callaway #36 at Citi Field on June 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The stress of a disappointing 2019 season appears to be getting to the New York Mets.

Following the team's 5-3 defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, Mets manager Mickey Callaway and starting pitcher Jason Vargas got into an argument with a reporter in the clubhouse, and Vargas had to be restrained by teammates.

Yahoo Sports' Matt Ehalt reported the details from the scene:

Matt Ehalt @MattEhalt

Vargas then got into a shouting match with the reporter, over a staredown, and said at one point: "Ill knock you the f*** out, bro." He charged such reporter and had to held back by Gomez and Syndergaard.

According to the Record's Justin Toscano, the reporter said, "See you tomorrow, Mickey," which was the inciting comment to set things off. The Mets would release a statement apologizing:

"The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our best 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."

The incident adds to what has been a drama-filled year for the Mets.

Callaway has seemingly been on the verge of getting fired for at least a month. Robinson Cano was criticized for failing to run out a ground ball and then suffered a quad injury days later when he actually did run out an infield grounder. The team also fired pitching coach Dave Eiland and replaced him with 82-year-old Phil Regan.

New York is watching its postseason hopes fade by the day. FanGraphs gives the Mets a 14.5 percent chance of reaching the playoffs.

The nature of Sunday's loss likely had Callaway, Vargas and others on edge. The Mets led 3-2 heading into the eighth inning before Javier Baez hit a three-run home run off Seth Lugo.

Callaway was already catching some heat for not using closer Edwin Diaz to hold on to the one-run advantage.

Rich MacLeod @richmacleod

Mickey Callaway told one of the beat reporters they won’t use Edwin Díaz for five outs “just because you think so.” This is a manager that doesn’t adjust and talks to reporters like they know absolutely nothing.

Callaway's outburst doesn't exactly dispel the notion he's struggling under the weight of both New York's preseason expectations and the level of scrutiny he faces daily by virtue of working in one of the country's biggest media markets.

Additionally, it's one thing for a player to stick up for his manager when said manager has to answer questions about his potential ouster. It's another thing for the player to threaten a reporter while sticking up for his manager.

Vargas and Callaway will almost surely face repercussions for Sunday's clubhouse incident.