Following a recent report of former Mets manager and current Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway's sexual harassment, MLB and Cleveland likely knew about his behavior when he worked for the club, according to The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang.
In a report published by The Athletic on Feb. 1, five women spoke about their experiences with Callaway over a five-year span. He reportedly sent inappropriate photographs and unsolicited messages to "at least five women who work in sports media." The women detailed interactions in which they said Callaway sent sexually explicit messages, crudely commented on their appearance and in one instance, "thrust his crotch near the face of a reporter as she interviewed him."
"Rather than rush to respond to these general allegations of which I have just been made aware, I look forward to an opportunity to provide more specific responses," Callaway wrote in an email to The Athletic at the time of the report. "Any relationship in which I was engaged has been consensual, and my conduct was in no way intended to be disrespectful to any women involved. I am married and my wife has been made aware of these general allegations."
The following day the Angels suspended Callaway and said they will work closely with MLB, which is investigating his conduct during his employment with multiple organizations.
ESPN's Alden Gonzalez reported Callaway is protected from being fired without an investigation since he has denied wrongdoing.
On Feb. 4, Cleveland president Chris Antonetti addressed the media, saying he was "disturbed, distraught and saddened" by the accounts about Callaway, who worked for the organization from 2010 to '17. Antonetti said he became aware of the accounts when reading the Feb. 1 report.
"There had never been any complaints against Mickey in his time with us, either to me or to our human resources department or other leaders," Antonetti said in the news conference.
Since the first report's publication, additional women have spoken to The Athletic to share their accounts of Callaway "sending them inappropriate messages and/or photos, making unwanted advances and more while they worked for [Cleveland]."
In 2017 a man repeatedly called the club's fan services department to report that Callaway had sent "pornographic material" to his wife. According to The Athletic, Antonetti, general manager Mike Chernoff and manager Terry Francona were made aware of the man's story. During a recorded phone call, a team attorney spoke with the wife and said Cleveland was "frickin' pissed as hell" at Callaway. The husband reportedly was contacted by an MLB security official, and the man later emailed the league directly about Callaway.
"I laughed out loud when I saw the quote [in the original report] that said it was the worst-kept secret in baseball, because it was," a Cleveland employee told The Athletic. "It was the worst-kept secret in the organization."
Hours after The Athletic's report was published, Nick Francona, the former Mets' assistant director of player development and son of Cleveland manager Terry Francona, released a statement.
"Unfortunately, I cannot say that I am surprised. When the news about Mickey Callaway's behavior first came out earlier this year, I confronted my father, Chris Antonetti, and others with the Cleveland Indians. I wanted to know why they didn't say anything to me when the Mets hired Mickey Callaway and they gave him a strong endorsement. My father lied to me and said he didn't know. Additionally, I think he and his colleagues fail to understand what is acceptable behavior and what isn't," Francona said.
"I confronted my father again this morning and it is clear that he simply doesn't get it. ...I don't think this is a problem that is unique to the Cleveland Indians and I think there needs to be a reckoning across Major League Baseball."
Terry Francona also addressed The Athletic's latest report on a Zoom call with reporters from Cleveland's spring training complex in Arizona on Tuesday.
"Nobody’s ever deliberately covered up for anybody, I can tell you that," Francona said, via the Associated Press. "I have never worked in a place where I have more respect for people than here...and I've been very fortunate to work for some wonderful people. I believe that in my heart."
On Monday, Mets president Sandy Alderson said the team was "shortsighted" in its hiring process when vetting Callaway.
Alderson hired Callaway in October 2017, after he had served as Cleveland's pitching coach. Callaway spent two seasons as the Mets' manager before being fired and landing a job with the Angels.
According to The Athletic, the Mets learned in August 2018 of an incident involving Callaway that took place before New York hired him. While the team reportedly investigated the matter, the Mets declined to reveal the nature of the incident or its outcome.