The misconduct of two management employees has rocked the Mets. Where do we go from here…and who needs to take the lead?
The Mets are not alone in suffering from more than a splash of egg on their face regarding the alleged sexual misconduct of two upper-echelon employees in their organization.
But why are they being charged with the head on responsibility to root out those they hire from the hell that seems to grip far too many men in this American culture?
Jared Porter has a long history of employment with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs before the Mets tabbed him to replace Brodie Van Wagenen as their general manager earlier this year.
Similarly, Mickey Callaway was hired to be the Mets manager following an exhaustive search after Terry Collins’ departure in 2018.
His hiring was based on superlative recommendations from players and management within the Cleveland Indian organization, including Terry Francona, where he had served as the team’s pitching coach for seven seasons.
How could the Mets, Red Sox, and Indian organizations not have known what these two men were doing while under their employ? Or worse, did they know and chose to sweep the matter under the rug?
Mets: Can “FBI-level” Vetting Solve The Problem?
Shaken to his roots for hiring both Porter and Callaway, Alderson says future hirees will be subject to a vetting process that reaches “FBI-levels.”
Beneath the surface, of course, lies the troubling reality that where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and Major League Baseball itself is on trial, working backward to catch up with a problem that has only recently boiled to the surface.
Alleged predators like Porter and Callaway do not operate in the light of day. They run seamlessly through the internet corridors and the ever-improving iPhone cameras and Photoshop techniques that mask the terror of their activity.
Mets: Examining The Interview Process
While the interview process has work to do with regards to digging deeper into applicants’ character, to be fair, these men are separated mainly by their acumen and experience in baseball management positions.
Interviews span two or three hours, and in rare cases, the eventual hiree is called in for a third and final session before a choice is made.
Applicants for these positions do not show up in Mets offices with a Bachelor’s Degree In Baseball Management on their resume if they have a resume at all.
Having said that, a groundswell of enlightenment on the subject of sexual harassment in baseball is underway, and the time now is to listen closely to the women who have bravely chosen to come forth with their emotion-laden experiences.
Deesha Thosar: Mets Beat Reporter – Hear, Hear!
One such person is Deesha Thosar. She is the lone female “beat reporter” covering the New York Mets for the New York Daily News.
Her writing first reached the attention of Reflections On Baseball following the Jared Porter fiasco. She details a lonely and sometimes intrepid lifestyle that is subject to the whims of her male colleagues.
More recently, Thosar expands on her views and observations in a piece that suggests “women should not be responsible for fixing harassment in MLB.”
Of course, the inference is that MLB cannot and should not rely on women to come forth with detailed evidence, as we saw in ESPN’s barrage of sordid text messages between Porter and his victims.
MLB And The Thin Blue Line
Veiled in this argument and not directly expressed is a haunting question. Is there a Thin Blue Line in baseball that knowingly and conveniently avoids the whispers in lunchrooms and hotel bars?
There could be, and if that’s the case, the issue escalates to a whole new level in which MLB must find a way to be proactive instead of reactive.
How that is done, I’m afraid, is beyond my pay grade, but I will venture these thoughts.
Mets executive Sandy Alderson is a Boy Scout, a man who would be labeled a “square in earlier years.” If he knew, hands down, he would have acted forcefully and with alacrity to purge Porter and Callaway from the Mets – before they were hired.
Mets: A Few Ideas To Help Solve The Problem
Deesha Thosar and others cannot disassociate themselves from the problem. They need to be part of the solution to the problem – even before a problem is uncovered.
First, the Mets, for instance, should consider hiring Thosar as a consultant and participant in interviews. Women seem to have a sixth sense about the motives of men in these situations. A few innocent but pointed questions by Thosar might very well send up a red flag where one is needed.
If necessary, and she and others fear retribution, the Mets can videotape each interview with the “observer” in another room.
Extending proactive preventative measures further, the Mets and other teams can hire undercover off-duty female cops to “hang out” with the team as a lure to predators.
Thirdly, the Mets and other clubs can require a stipulation before interviews. In writing, the applicant surrenders his ID and password on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., with the expectation the Mets will monitor his activity.
But still, the underlying truth is that “cleaning out the swamp” is never as easy as it sounds – as we found out recently with efforts to purify Washington, DC.
The good news should be that once charges are “out there,” and they appear to be sustainable, the Mets and Indians have acted with no hesitation in separating themselves from the perpetrators.
Personally, I wouldn’t go there, but a good defense lawyer for Mickey Callaway can, if his client chooses, have a field day with due process under the U.S. Constitution.
Callaway, a married man with a family, if he were to deny the charges, faces a long and protracted public washing of his sins, in the deadliest phases of criminal law in which a person must prove his innocence in a he-said-she-said case. Thus, his relative silence.
Mets: On Combating A Nationwide Problem
We need not kid ourselves.
In a culture in which surveys indicate one-in-five coeds on college campuses are victims of sexual harassment, and eighty-one percent of women since the Me-Too movement began to have experienced some form, sexual harassment, and the odds favor there being another predator within the Mets, or any team’s, hierarchy.
America needs leadership on the issue of women being sexually harassed from all aspects of our society, and let’s say for the record, I wouldn’t hold my breath for it to come from Congress.
If it were to come from Major League Baseball, it might constitute a movement forward that can lay the groundwork of a state and national policy,
One that is geared to preventing – not reacting – to an issue that, when weighed against all others on our national agenda, gets lost in the shuffle – but needs the light of day nevertheless.
In our 24-hour news cycle, we can’t afford to wait for the “next one” to sound the bugle call for action before the Callaway story becomes buried in the oncoming tide of tomorrow’s news.
For myself, I will not be satisfied until I see Alderson and the Mets put forth an action plan designed to prevent men like Porter and Callaway from ever becoming part of their organization in the first place.
And if Alderson and other GMs throughout baseball cannot “smell a rat,” then get to it now to find someone who can…