New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway shouted profanities at a Newsday reporter in the clubhouse Sunday and starting pitcher Jason Vargas challenged the reporter to a fight and had to be restrained from going after him.
The incident came after the Mets’ bullpen blew a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning of what ended as a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Reporters asked repeatedly after the game about Callaway’s decision to stick with reliever Seth Lugo during the eighth inning instead of going to closer Edwin Diaz. Lugo allowed a go-ahead three-run homer to Javier Baez.
After the news conference, Callaway walked past Newsday’s Tim Healey in the clubhouse. Healey told Callaway he would “see you tomorrow,” and Callaway responded by calling a “m—–f—–.”
Callaway instructed the team’s public relations staff to escort Healey from the clubhouse, telling them to “get this m—–f—– out of here,” according to multiple reporters present.
When Healey did not leave, Vargas then stared him down and shouted at him, including saying, “I’ll knock you the f— out, bro,” according to a Yahoo Sports account.
Vargas charged at Healey but was held back by teammates, including Carlos Gomez and Noah Syndergaard. No punches were thrown in the incident.
Callaway, the Mets’ embattled second-year manager, received a vote of confidence from first-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenen in late May after the club was swept by the Marlins in a three-game series in Miami. Sunday’s loss dropped the Mets to 37-41 on the season, nine games behind first-place Atlanta in the National League East.
The Mets did make a change to their coaching staff Thursday when they fired pitching coach Dave Eiland and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez.
The Mets are set to open a four-game series at Philadelphia on Monday to face the Phillies, who have lost seven consecutive games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.