The Athletic has published a story in which five women detail lewd and harassing behavior by former Mets manager and current Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway. The incidents took place during and before Callaway’s Mets tenure, and in multiple cities.
The story reveals a pattern of behavior over many years in which Callaway made inappropriate comments to women who covered the teams he worked for. These comments were made in person, over text message, in emails, and in more than one case included shirtless pictures of Callaway. One woman who spoke to The Athletic described Callaway’s behavior as “relentless,” and another described his harassment of women as “the worst-kept secret in sports.”
Aside from the specifics of Callaway’s harassment, there is another detail in The Athletic’s story that sticks out:
The Mets, when contacted by The Athletic, said that in August 2018 – about 10 months after Callaway joined the organization – the team learned of an incident that took place before it hired him. The team investigated that matter, a spokesperson said, but declined to reveal the nature of the incident, the outcome of that probe or whether Callaway was disciplined. Callaway continued managing the rest of the season.
It’s a detail that raises more questions. What was the nature of the incident that the Mets investigated? What was the conclusion of that investigation? Did it lead the Mets to investigate whether there were other incidents involving Callaway?
Those questions are intensified by the fact that the Mets just fired their general manager, Jared Porter, following an ESPN report that revealed inappropriate messages he had sent to a reporter while he worked for the Cubs. In the aftermath of that report, Mets team president Sandy Alderson held a press conference in which he revealed the nationality of the woman Porter had harassed—a detail that had purposely been withheld from ESPN’s story—and then claimed total ignorance about Porter’s behavior. Alderson mentioned that the Mets had only received glowing recommendations for Porter before he was hired. When pressed, Alderson revealed that no women were spoken to when the Mets were looking into Porter’s background.
Alderson’s tenure at the Mets includes hiring a general manager and a manager who are accused of sexually harassing media members. Alderson’s awareness of at least one incident involving Callaway, and his professed lack of knowledge about Porter’s past behavior, paint a picture of a man who at best cannot be relied on to responsibly hire people into positions of considerable power.
In the coming days Alderson and the Mets will surely emphasize that the incident involving Callaway that they were notified of was thoroughly investigated, and that the team could not possibly have known about all the other inappropriate behavior, just as they could not have possibly known about what Porter was up to during his days in Chicago. But to accept such explanations as a valid defenses would be to ignore their inherent weightlessness. It would require one to ignore the fact that Alderson, with all his knowledge and experience and extensive connections throughout the baseball world, couldn’t manage to find out about Callaway and Porter what probably dozens of women within the game already knew. If the president of a baseball team can’t discover one of “the worst-kept secret in sports” while vetting and then later investigating his manager, either because he didn’t know where or didn’t bother to look, then he probably should not be the president of a baseball team.