Mickey Callaway has given the Mets all they need to send him on his way. Yesterday, an ugly brush-up with a reporter provided the fuel…
It was bound to happen. Mickey Callaway has been standing in the middle of a Mets season that never got off the ground. The point man amidst all the frustration and disappointment. One simple and casual statement by a reporter and the fuse was lit…
It was like many games the Mets have played this season. Buoyed by two successive wins in the unfriendly confines of Wrigley Field, the team was poised for a spirit-lifting sweep of the first-place Cubs. The ace of their staff, Jacob deGrom, was making the start. Periscope up.
Callaway watched as deGrom did his job with six solid innings of two-hit ball, allowing two runs before turning the game over to the bullpen with the Mets on top 3-2. A new game began. A bullpen game. And therein lies the story of the Mets season to date. They have no bullpen. Game over as the Cubs scored three in the eighth against Seth Lugo. Callaway exits for his usual post-game interview.
The Exchange As Reported By NJ.Com
In the clubhouse, normalcy prevailed. The usual questions came in a flurry and the typical rehearsed responses followed. Dressed in street clothes now, Mickey Callaway was done for the day.
“See you tomorrow, Mickey,” Newsday reporter Tim Healey said (to Callaway), as the Mets begin a series in Philadelphia on Monday. Reading the casual aside in a different context, Callaway apparently assumed the reporter was suggesting (something like) “Fat chance of that happening, huh Mickey?”
Callaway exploded. “Don’t be a smart***,” he said. As Callaway walked away, it sounded like he said “Mother******” under his breath. And then it got worse.
Embarrassingly worse, to the point where the stunned reporter was told by Jason Vargas, who apparently felt it was necessary to come to the defense of his beleaguered manager, “I’ll knock you the **** out, bro!”. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Gomez stepped in, and the melee was over. (Read the full story in Justin Toscano’s account of the incident for northjersey.com).
Callaway: The Proverbial Writing Is On The Wall…Not So Fast…
Rule number one for any major league manager today is, Don’t Mess With The Media. Be nice. As manager of the New York Mets, Mickey Callaway is the face of the team on good days, as well as bad days.
This was a bad day and Callaway did not fulfill his obligations to the team or the franchise. He made lemons out of what should have been the usual lemonade and the front office has heard about it.
There will be repercussions for Callaway and Vargas. The focus shifts to General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who created much of the mess the Mets are in. He’s already written the script, and it’s only a matter of how the scene is going to play out. Even the Mets have lines that can’t be crossed.
Van Wagenen can pick the low-hanging fruit first. Jason Vargas, who has picked up his performance on the field of late, will be exiled to another team looking for back-end starting pitching in a trade.
Next comes Callaway. But it’s not as easy as it looks. Finding a mid-season replacement for a manager is not a straightforward proposition. The Mets hoped Callaway would be able to tough it out, without combusting, until the season was over. Whereupon, the Mets would dismiss Callaway and hire Joe Girardi, (if he would take the job).
Meaning, Van Wagenen will be forced to hire someone from the inside to complete the season if he fires Callaway. Who might that be? The most obvious choice is Jim Riggleman (66), Callaway’s bench coach. But that would mean purchasing a second rocking chair to sit alongside the Mets new pitching coach, Phil Regan (81).
If not Riggleman, then maybe Van Wagenen can convince Terry Collins to take one for the team, moving from the Mets front office to finish out the season. Don’t laugh, he’d probably do it for the team. Or maybe Wally Backman.
Or, and this is the one I believe is most likely, the Mets can sweep the whole episode under the carpet, not making any change with Mickey Callaway. After all, forcing Callaway to complete the season is the worst possible punishment for his behavior yesterday…
Which just goes to show you how easy it is to be cynical about the Mets this season. You can’t make up what occurred yesterday. And yet, it happened. The dysfunction goes on. And no one has a finger in the dike…