This is a difficult year to be a Mets fan. The team’s losses substantially outweigh its wins (39-47 as of July 2), and yet, somehow, New York is not in the cellar of the National League East. Go figure! That standing has very little to do with embattled manager Mickey Callaway. It’s his second managerial year, and it’s a challenge to see whether this year is any better than his first.
On June 20, the Mets front office let go of pitching coach Dave Eiland, who like Callaway was hired following the 2017 season, and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez, who was barely into his first year with the team. However, fans and critics feel Mickey Callaway should be the one to go.
Callaway’s history with the Mets
So far, Callaway’s history with the Mets is short, and it may not last much longer.
Callaway was named the Mets manager following the retirement of Terry Collins at the end of the 2017 season. In 2018, the Mets finished fourth in the NL East with a 77-85 record. That happened with right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard sitting out most of the season. But, NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom had one of the best individual pitching seasons in the history of the MLB. That’s deGrom’s doing and cannot be in any way attributed to Mickey Callaway, other than his position in the starting rotation.
Days as a pro pitcher
The Tennessee native was drafted out of high school by the Giants in the 16th round. He didn’t sign and opted to play for the University of Mississippi.
Tampa Bay took him in the seventh round in 1996, and he made his major league debut in 1999. Traded to the Angels in 2002, Callaway earned the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He was later traded to the Texas Rangers.
Never making much of a splash in the majors, Callaway played in Asia for the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and he totaled 30 wins in his two years there. Following elbow injury, he started his coaching career at the college level. He moved to the minors in 2010, and then served as the pitching coach in Cleveland from 2013-16.
Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas gang up on a reporter
Following a bad weekend and a Sunday loss to the Cubs, Callaway hurled the f-word and other expletives at sports reporter Tim Healy of Newsday on June 23. Jason Vargas, who was the starting pitcher for the June 21 loss to Chicago, threatened to punch Healy and knock him out.
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen recently told reporters, “The altercation was disappointing. It was regrettable on many levels.” Both Callaway and Vargas had to pay $10,000 fines for the incident, a relative slap on the wrist. Maybe Callaway needs his mouth washed out with soap, too. Fans are aghast at the behavior, and along with analysts are calling for the firing of Callaway.
Where do the Mets go from here?
Through July 2, the Mets have 408 runs scored. That’s pretty good near the halfway point of the season, but they allowed 441 runs. That’s not good. This could be a time for more analysis and healing.
Mickey Callaway admitted, “It’s going to take a miracle,” to turn the year around for the team.
The New York Post’s Michael Blinn put it this way, “As apt as it is, Callaway’s club will need to work out a lot of kinks in short order to salvage its season, though the Mets making it to .500 probably would be enough to be considered a miracle.”
A miracle has happened before. Fifty years ago in 1969, the “Miracle Mets” were heading to the basement only to turn it around to win the World Series. Now, the team has the young stud hitter, Pete Alonso, who’s been perfecting his oneness with the bat during the past three years in the minors.