Mickey Callaway, Jason Vargas confronts Mets reporter in clubhouse scuffle
CHICAGO — The TV cameras were gone and the recorders were off when a simple goodbye turned into a near altercation in the Mets clubhouse following a 5-3 loss Sunday to the Cubs.
Manager Mickey Callaway, out of uniform and in street clothes, exited his office and began walking toward the other side of the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field.
“See you tomorrow, Mickey,” Newsday reporter Tim Healey said, as the Mets begin a series Monday in Philadelphia.
“Don’t be a smart (expletive),” he said.
As Callaway walked away, it sounded like he said an expletive under his breath. The reporter looked confused. However, Callaway went into another room and it appeared the situation would end there.
It did not.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 24, 2019
When he returned, with Healey standing in the same spot, Callaway brought it up again. He told Healey that he should understand the Mets wouldn’t be in a good mood after a loss. He said the reporter was “antagonizing” people. Healey responded and said he was being serious about seeing Callaway on Monday in Philly.
At that point, starting pitcher Jason Vargas and the reporter looked at one another.
“Don’t gesture at me!” Vargas yelled.
By telling Newsday's Tim Healey, "I'll knock you the f*** out, bro" and then charging at him, Mets pitcher Jason Vargas arguably committed assault–placing another in reasonable apprehension of harm. While incident probably won't have a legal fallout, MLB punishment seems likely. https://t.co/72T8Hwqe9g
— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) June 24, 2019
Healey, again, seemed confused as he did not believe he had done anything. The reporter later said he was only looking at Vargas because Vargas began staring at him first.
Eventually, Vargas yelled at him: “I’ll knock you the (expletive) out, bro!”
Moments later, he charged Healey and had to be restrained by Carlos Gómez and Noah Syndergaard. There were couches separating the reporter and Vargas.
Tension in the clubhouse. Jason Vargas had to be separated from going after Tim Healey of Newsday.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) June 23, 2019
“Get him the (expletive) out of here!” Callaway then yelled. “We don’t need that (expletive).”
Vargas added: “He’ll be back tomorrow! But get him the (expletive) out of here today!”
The reporter was encouraged by the team’s media relations to leave the clubhouse, and did.
When reporters spoke to Callaway after the game, he did appear a bit irked by some of the questions, specifically ones about why he wouldn’t use closer Edwin Diaz for five outs (Seth Lugo gave up a three-run home run in the eighth that lost the game).
One reporter — not the same one involved in the incident — asked Callaway if the Mets should perhaps be malleable to their plan to never use Diaz for more than four outs.
“Because you think we should?” Callaway asked the reporter.
That the incident occurred is surprising in itself. Reporters regularly tell coaches and players “see you tomorrow” or “see you later” or “safe travels” when exiting the clubhouse. It appeared Callaway took it as sarcastic or snarky, though Healey insisted he meant in genuinely.
The Mets suffered a gut-wrenching loss on Sunday, but that will now be the least of their concerns as they deal with the fallout from the manager cursing out a reporter before Vargas charged at said reporter.