Mickey Callaway, Jason Vargas Fined by Mets for Altercation with Reporter

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 24:   Manager Mickey Callaway #36 of the New York Mets looks on against the Detroit Tigers at Citi Field on May 24, 2019 in New York City. The Tigers defeated the Mets 9-8. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Mets will fine manager Mickey Callaway and starting pitcher Jason Vargas following a verbal altercation Sunday with Newsday's Tim Healey.

According to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen labeled the situation "disappointing" and "regrettable" but won't suspend Callaway or Vargas. DiComo added Van Wagenen doesn't foresee the two facing an additional punishment from Major League Baseball.

Callaway addressed the incident as well, telling reporters he had spoken privately with Healey:


"We're gonna move on like nothing happened" Mickey Callaway says he and the reporter involved in yesterday's incident have talked privately https://t.co/W1omjxGQCP


"Billy Martin punched a reporter one time...I'm a passionate guy about baseball, I'm a tough competitor" - Mickey Callaway https://t.co/GOz6UFml7H

Vargas briefly spoke to reporters as well, saying the Mets "addressed the situation" and that the "organization's made a statement."


Jason Vargas' entire statement regarding yesterday's incident: https://t.co/FbiBaSsSYi

Healey explained his side in an interview with Newsday colleague David Lennon.

The reporter said he saw Callaway leaving his office having changed out of his uniform following the Mets' 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs and thought the manager was leaving for the day. He commented to Callaway that he'd see him Monday, at which point the second-year manager, whose job security has been in question amid a disappointing season, grew agitated.

"I couldn't confidently tell you exactly what he said, but he said, 'You know we're going to be in a bad mood after a loss,' or something like that," Healey said. "And I tried to tell him, I didn't mean anything by it. I was just saying I'll see you tomorrow. And then he said, 'Get this guy out of here,' and that got the attention of Jason Vargas."

Vargas told Healey he'd knock him out in the clubhouse and had to be held back by teammates.

To some extent, one can understand Callaway's initial outburst. Seth Lugo surrendered a three-run home run to Javier Baez in the eighth inning, which put the Cubs ahead after trailing 3-2. The loss dropped the Mets to 37-41, nine games out of first place in the National League East.

The fact things escalated as much as they did reflected poorly on Callaway and Vargas. Many noted as well on social media Callaway didn't offer an explicit public apology:

Ron Marz @ronmarz

Wow, as far as I can tell, Mickey Callaway's presser did not contain the words "I'm sorry" or "I apologize" at all. Just a lot of "I'm a tough competitor" rationalizations. Completely unacceptable, @mets. #LGM

Rich Cimini @RichCimini

After watching Mickey Callaway on @SNY ... on a scale of 1 to 10, his level of remorse was a 0.5. No apology whatsoever. Lame. #Mets

Matt Ehalt @MattEhalt

General takeaway: If you thought Callaway was going to be overly contrite, he was not. That was not an aplogetic session. Basically just a I should have controlled myself better.

The Mets issued a statement immediately after the clubhouse situation, per The Athletic's Tim Britton: "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."

One could argue New York let Vargas and Callaway off a little easy by not suspending them, which somewhat undercuts the contrite tone of the team's statement from Sunday.