There is no doubt that so far the 2019 campaign the New York Mets have been on has been disappointing, at best. The Mets come in today (Wednesday, the 26th) 4th in the National League East with a record of 37-43 (.463) and 9.5 games back from first place. Considering the confidence General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen had at the beginning of this season where he expressed the words, “Come get us.” Mets fans are notably and understandably frustrated with the team’s performance so far this year.
Frustration would be a good word for it and something that is painfully obvious throughout the organization. This was punctuated with an exclamation mark at the end of Sunday’s 5-3 loss against the Chicago Cubs on the road in which Manager Mickey Callaway shouted expletives in response to a reporter at the end of yesterday’s post-game press conference and LHP Jason Vargas physically threatened the same reporter, having had to be held back by multiple people including RHP Noah Syndergaard and OF Carlos Gomez to prevent him from carrying out that threat. Deesha Thosar who covers the Mets beat for the New York Daily News had a great twitter thread, and follow up article reporting on what exactly transpired.
The behavior of both Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas is completely unprofessional, inappropriate, and should not be tolerated by Major League Baseball and the New York Mets organization. I had remarked on Twitter back on Sunday my feelings on what happened and saw a slew of responses to the issue vilifying the media. This is something that has affected our society overall, just not sports coverage with Americans just not trusting what is reported to them, and more importantly who is reporting it. Let’s roll with this mindset and say the reporter, Tim Healy from Newsday had been completely in the wrong and acted unprofessionally himself (I’m not saying this is the case.)
There are professional ways for members of a sports organization to respond to a reporter that they feel is providing unfair coverage, or is acting in an unprofessional manner. They could reach out to the editor, they can revoke the individual’s press pass, etc. There are rules for reporters to follow in the clubhouse and press box after all. There are no indications from witnesses to the events that transpired yesterday that Tim Healy behaved unprofessionally. The Mets are expected to address the issue today, which will allow us to see the organization’s side of what transpired. What should never happen, is a manager shouting expletives, and an athlete from charging a reporter.
While the Mets have struggled, there are bright spots to this season so far:
- Despite the current record, the Mets have they are still only 5 games behind in the current NL Wildcard Race. While it seems unlikely with the recent play from the bullpen there is still a pathway to the post-season should the Mets find a way to work out their issues on the mound.
- 1B Pete Alonso has been on an absolute tear. After hitting his 27th home run for the season yesterday the rookie surpassed Darryl Strawberry‘s record (26 home runs) in a rookie season, with more than half a season left. Alonso has also been named NL Player of the Week for June 17-23 after slashing .417/.548/1.042 with four home runs in seven games. (against good teams at that!) Alonso is on par with flirting with the New York Mets Single Season Home Run Record (41) this season.
- INF Jeff McNeil is continuing to excel in almost every position that he’s been put in. McNeil is hitting .342 with 5 HR, and 27 RBI so far this season and has made himself into an everyday player without an everyday position.
- OF Michael Conforto has really seemed to emerge this season as a solid hitter. Conforto is hitting .264/.381/.516.
- This season marks the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets.
The off the field issues detracts from a season with those bright spots and put a blemish on a professional sports franchise. Actions like we saw yesterday embarrass the team, and embarrass the city that they represent.