Having done a little sports reporting before beginning my public relations career, I know things can get a little brittle in locker rooms after a tough loss.
That appears to be the case after the New York Mets blew a late lead over the Chicago Cubs Sunday.
Newsday beat writer Tim Healy saw Mets manager Mickey Callaway preparing to leave and said to him, “See you tomorrow, Mickey.” That seems innocuous enough, however, ever-patient Mets fans have been calling for Callaway to be canned for his club’s less-than-stellar play. The manager evidently took Healy’s comment the wrong way, perhaps because he’d earlier been grilled by reporters about the brutal late-inning defeat.
“Don’t be a smartass,” Callaway growled, reportedly calling the writer an expletive. Healy tried to explain he meant nothing by the remark but Callaway said, “Shut the f--- up, get out of my face. Get out of here.”
Overhearing the exchange, Mets pitcher Jason Vargas threatened to knock the reporter out, according to multiple witnesses and reports of the incident.
To its credit, Mets management went into PR damage control mode. “The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place,” the Mets said in a statement. “We do not condone this type of behavior from any employee. The organization has reached out and apologized to this reporter and will have further discussions internally with all involved parties.”
I can somewhat understand Callaway’s reaction being on the hot seat as he is. “See you tomorrow” could be conceivably taken in a negative context, as in, you’ll be out of a job tonight. But kudos to the Mets for stepping up and mitigating this PR faux pas. Management clearly understands how important the press is to the team’s fortunes.