CHICAGO – Mickey Callaway — and Jason Vargas — snapped.
No punches were thrown.
The incident happened after a back-breaking loss to the Cubs that featured a questionable decision by Callaway in not using closer Edwin Diaz in the eighth inning. Seth Lugo allowed a go-ahead, three-run homer to Javier Báez, and Diaz, who had pitched once in eight days, never appeared in the game.
Callaway was questioned repeatedly about the decision after the game and was defiant about the team’s plans, even responding to one question about not using Diaz for five outs with: “Just because you think so?”
As reporters waited for Diaz, Callaway, wearing a black shirt, emerged from his office and walked past a reporter, who told him “see you tomorrow, Mickey.”
Callaway, still on edge from the loss, turned around and yelled, “Don’t be a smarta--, motherf-----.”
He later returned and engaged the reporter about the comment, which was not made maliciously, and Callaway raised his voice while he hurled expletives, telling a team public relations official to remove the reporter.
“Get the f----- out of here,” Callaway said. “We don’t need that bulls--- here.”
Vargas, who was standing about 15 feet away from the reporter, got into a stare down with the reporter, who said to Vargas that it seemed he had something to say.
The lefty then mentioned the possibility of having a fight.
“I’ll knock you the f--- out, bro,” Vargas said.
Vargas ultimately charged the reporter, having to be restrained by Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Gomez. Vargas did not come close to the reporter since the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field is rather cramped.
The reporter later left the room before the remaining reporters participated in one final interview with Diaz.
While Callaway has never had an outburst like this before with a reporter, the second-year manager has pushed back when asked critical questions.
Vargas had not had an incident like this with a Mets reporter since he joined the team last year.
The Mets released a statement several hours after the event.
“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. “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.”
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