CHICAGO (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway cursed at a reporter, and pitcher Jason Vargas had to be restrained from charging him during a confrontation in the team’s clubhouse after a loss Sunday.
The dustup with Tim Healey of Newsday occurred after the Mets blew a late lead in a 5-3 defeat to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. There was no physical contact.
The Mets apologized to Healey, the team said in a statement hours later. Healey declined comment.
Reporters asked repeatedly after the game about Callaway’s decision to stick with reliever Seth Lugo during the eighth inning instead of going to closer Edwin Diaz. Lugo allowed a go-ahead, three-run homer to Javier Baez.
After his standard postgame news conference, Callaway walked past Healey in the clubhouse. Healey told Callaway he would “see you tomorrow,” and Callaway responded by calling Healey an obscenity. Callaway walked away and then returned, cursing at Healey again and telling him to leave the clubhouse.
Vargas then stared down Healey and eventually tried to charge him. Players stepped in to restrain the veteran left-hander.
Healey left the clubhouse moments later.
“The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our beat writers following today’s game in the clubhouse,” the team said in a statement. “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.”
Callaway needed two news conferences to issue one apology.
After the Mets fined their manager and Vargas for their expletive-filled confrontation, Callaway stopped short of saying he was sorry for the incident during his first meeting with the media on Monday.
Two hours after Callaway initially met with a large group of media members and 70 minutes before first pitch in Philadelphia, Callaway clarified his remarks.
“In my meeting with Tim, I apologized for my reaction,” Callaway said. “I regret it. I regret the distraction that it’s caused to the team…. It’s something I’m not proud of. I’m not proud of the distraction. I’m not proud of what I did to Tim. For that, I’m definitely sorry.”
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen announced the fines but not disclose the amount. He said the team spoke to MLB and didn’t expect any further discipline.
“We are committed to trying to create a healthy work environment for everybody,” Van Wagenen said. “The altercation was disappointing. It was regrettable on many levels.”
Vargas issued a statement but didn’t answer questions.
“I think it’s unfortunate for all parties, an unfortunate distraction,” Vargas said.
Van Wagnenen said Callaway’s status as manager remains unchanged. The Mets are 37-41.
“Frustrations were high and he understands from a leadership position that we can’t lose control and he knows that’s not something that should’ve happened,” Van Wagnenen said. “My confidence remains the same in Mickey’s ability to do his job.”
Mets ace Jacob deGrom said players held a team meeting before the game and he spoke to reporters on behalf of the club.
“It was a tough loss. Sometimes tensions run high. We don’t anticipate it happening again,” deGrom said. “Our main focus from the meeting is to move forward from this and focus on the Phillies.”
In a story published by Newsday on Sunday night, Healey said Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon called him “to apologize on behalf of the organization.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)