Newsday reporter Tim Healey has given his side of the confrontation involving Mets' manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas got into a confrontation with a reporter Sunday following the team's 5–3 loss to the Cubs.
Callaway and Vargas cursed at Newsday reporter Tim Healey, and Vargas challenged Healey to a fight in the clubhouse, according to mulitple reporters in the cramped Wrigley Field visitors clubhouse.
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."— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) June 23, 2019
He charged such reporter and had to held back by Gomez and Syndergaard.
The Record's Justin Toscano reports Healey said, "See you tomorrow, Mickey" and that's when Callaway walked away but was mumbling under his breathe. Callaway returned and the incident continued. The New York Post's Mike Puma reports that when Healey didn't leave, Vargas got into a stare down with him and words were exchanged. Vargas, who didn't pitch Sunday, had to be restrained by Carolos Gomez and Noah Syndergaard to keep him from a physical altercation with Healey.
Healey confirmed to Newsday that the incident started when he said, "See you tomorrow, Mickey," and after the manager returned, he continued voicing his displeasures to Healey. This eventually got the attention of Vargas, who Healey said had been getting dressed at his locker and was staring at him for roughly 45 seconds. Healey said he saw Vargas and "recalled asking him if everything was OK." That's when Vargas threatened him. "I’ll knock you out right here," Vargas said, according to Healey, "and then [Vargas] took a couple of steps toward me. Some people said charged — charged is super-strong."
Healey said he walked away once people intervened and he was "shocked."
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon called and offered Healey an apology Sunday night on behalf of the organization. Healey said Wilpon "stressed the fact that I should feel comfortable being able to do my job at the ballpark and that moving forward, there’s no reason for me to feel uncomfortable. I appreciated that sentiment from him, absolutely."
The team issued a statement Sunday night, pledging "further discussions" with the people involved: "The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our beat writers following today’s game in the clubhouse," the statement read. "We do not condone this type of behavior from any employee."
The incident occurred after Chicago came back in the eighth inning after being down 3–2. Javier Baez smacked a go-ahead three-run home run in that inning and the Cubs won the game, 5–3. With the loss, the Mets dropped to 37–41.
Callaway was not pleased with the questions he received after the game about leaving reliever Seth Lugo in the game to face Baez instead of turning to closer Edwin Diaz for a five-out save. The Mets' strict rules for when to use Diaz have been a point of criticism all season, and managing the pitching staff has been one of many reasons why Callaway has been rumored to be on the hot seat for much of 2019.
The Athletic's Tim Britton reported the Mets will address the incident Monday with Brodie Van Wagenen expected to be in Philadelphia.