New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas were involved in an incident with Newsday reporter Tim Healey last week after a loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, which resulted in Callaway cursing out Healey and Vargas threatening to hit him before charging at him.
Naturally, the fallout from the incident was massive — and it took Callaway two news conferences to properly apologize.
Vargas, however, didn’t put much effort into his apology.
“I think everybody is aware of the situation that happened yesterday, I think it’s unfortunate for all parties. An unfortunate distraction,” Vargas said in a 20-second statement. “Tonight, we got the Phillies to play. The team addressed the situation, the organization has a made a statement, and that’s really all there is to it.”
That was it.
Vargas made his first start since the incident on Wednesday in the Mets’ 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez spoke about the incident on air during the third inning of the game, and slammed Vargas for his apology, or lack thereof.
Here's the conversation between Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez in the bottom of the third inning about Jason Vargas on SNY: pic.twitter.com/GPU7YEDYuh
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) June 27, 2019
“Now, you know Jason has the right to do or not do whatever he wants to do,” Cohen said. “He’s 36 years old. He’s a husband and a father. And you would think he would understand that the best way to take all the air out of the situation like this is to simply go to Tim Healey, shake hands, apologize, make some kind of public statement. Something. But he has chosen not to do that.”
Cohen did praise the Mets organization for their response, which included a $10,000 fine. But without an apology and a true consequence, Cohen can’t feel good about the situation. Vargas, he said, has to learn how to deal with these issues an an adult.
“But it doesn’t sit well at the end of the day that somebody can physically threaten a person in his place of work and not have to feel some sort of consequence from that action,” Cohen said. “And as somebody who cares deeply about this organization and has for a long time, my fear is it leaves a stain and even more so that it gives entrée to the next player who feels in the heat of the moment he needs to vent like that to do the same thing.
“Now, we all say things in the moment that we regret later. But the way you take the air out of it is to apologize and move on. And for whatever reason, Jason Vargas has chosen not to take that route.”
That’s when Hernandez jumped in, echoing Cohen’s concern for the younger generation of players within the Mets organization.
“This is a young nucleus out here playing in a Mets uniform ... I would hate to see any animosity between the media and these young players going forward,” Hernandez said. “I’m hoping that the well hasn’t been poisoned.”
Hernandez, who played for the Mets from 1983-89, also compared his own experiences in their clubhouse and dealing with the media in the largest market in the country.
The media is always going to cover the Mets, he said, and players can’t let that bother them. And most importantly, he said, the Mets need to start winning again.
“I think it’s just part of being a ballplayer that you cooperate with the press,” Hernandez said. “I had writers I didn’t like. Most of them I did. But it never interfered with my cooperating.
“Let’s just hope that this is over with and we move forward. Hopefully this ball club can turn this season around at some point. That’s the main issue. The team is really struggling.”
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