By Lenn Robbins
Let’s put aside Mickey Callaway’s 114-127 managerial record. Let’s put aside his baffling decisions about using relievers. Let’s put aside what names he puts on a lineup card.
Let’s focus on what the beginning of the week revealed about the Mets.
Despite bringing in a new GM, former agent Brodie Van Wagenen – a move that was met with praise for its out-of-the-box thinking – the Mets made a mockery of how the franchise likes to present itself.
From Mr. and Mrs. Met, to the Big Apple that rises out the hat when the Mets hit a home run, to its quaint “Meet the Mets” jingle, the Mets and Citi Field is supposed to be a place where a family can bond over baseball.
But now the Mets have a manager that calls a reporter a “m—–f—–,” and a pitcher, Jason Vargas, that threatened the same reporter, saying “I’ll knock you the f— out, bro,” according to a Yahoo Sports account.
This came Sunday, after a crushing 5-3 loss to the Cubs. It matters not what you think of the media. No one should feel their safety is in danger while doing his or her job.
Callaway apparently doesn’t get that. Vargas doesn’t get it. And since the ‘f%%k stops at his feet, Van Wagenen doesn’t get it. If he did, then these words never would have come out of the manager’s and player’s mouths on Monday, the first time they met the media after Sunday’s embarrassing behavior.
“Obviously, for things like that to happen, it’s always a misunderstanding,’’ said the skipper.
Vargas reportedly told reporters that what happened was, “an unfortunate distraction.’
Misunderstanding? Distraction? No, ‘I’m sorry?”
The Mets fined each $10,000 according to reports. And apparently someone in the organization got to Callaway because later on Monday, the media was called back to the manager’s office where he apologized.
That orchestration seemed as sincere as the workers in the fragrance department that shove cardboard-scented colognes and perfumes at you.
The week continued to get worse for the Mets. They got bludgeoned by the Phillies,13-7, and then the NY Post reported that Van Wagenen is the de facto manager, telling Callaway when to remove his starting pitcher.
It’s a great news story but it’s deflected attention from what should matter most to the Mets:
They have a 44-ear-old manager that has to be told to apologize and pitcher that believes threatening a reporter with a physical harm is a distraction.
This is all under the watch of the rookie GM, that knows a lot about contracts but doesn’t know what the Mets are – a family-friendly baseball team in Queens. Perhaps we should ask Van Wagenen what to say to 10-year-old Johnny when he asks his father, ‘Daddy, what’s a “m—–f—-?”