“It was the worst-kept secret in sports.”
That’s a quote from one of the women who have come forward with allegations against former Mets manager (and current Angels pitching coach) Mickey Calloway. The story stems from an article in The Athletic (subscription required) by reporters Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang, that cover the stories of five women who said Callaway made inappropriate advances during his employment with three different teams.
Calloway managed the Mets in 2018 and 2019, and was fired because of the team’s performance. The Angels have suspended him pending an investigation. On January 19, the Mets fired their new General Manager, Jared Porter, for similar actions. Porter has admitted his actions. Callaway told The Athletic, he looks “forward to an opportunity to provide more specific responses.”
But the Mets are the team that have had two black eyes in this area over the past few weeks.
Unlike Porter, Callaway denies any wrongdoing, saying everything was consensual. Like Porter, there’s evidence of fire where the smoke came from. The Athletic article includes a screen capture in which Callaway texted one of the women about how she should sleep naked to “let that perfect skin breathe.”
Another woman received a picture of Callaway shirtless, wearing a hard hat while he worked on land he’d purchased in Florida. It wasn’t the first shirtless photo she received. In another incident, she said he thrust his crotch near her face while he interviewed her.
Because Callaway says everything was consensual, there should be an investigation into the allegations.
Part of that investigation should include the Mets, as well as the Indians and Angels, where he was hired as a pitching coach. If word gets around–and The Athletic story says it did–it’s fair to ask what these teams knew and when they knew it.
For his part Mets President Sandy Alderson (a man), released a statement saying, in part, “I was unaware of the conduct described in the story at the time of Mickey’s hire or at any time during my tenure as General Manager.” (Alderson was the team’s GM during Callaway’s tenure.) Owner Steve Cohen, still smarting from last week’s GameStop story, didn’t own the team at the time, but said the conduct Callaway is accused of is “completely unacceptable and would never be tolerated under my ownership.”
The #Metoo movement was necessary, but its justice was swift and didn’t ask questions. The accusation was the conviction. It seems like baseball is having its #Metoo moment.
But for the moment to be enduring and meaningful, it needs to be more than Twitter-based accusations and justice. Although that moment in Hollywood seems to have passed, Evan Rachel Wood was one of five women who accused singer Marilyn Manson (a guy) of sexual and mental abuse, including rape. Manson’s record label has dropped him in light of the accusations.
One of the tweets I read in response to this said it’s not a Mets problem or a baseball problem, it’s a men problem. While not all men are this way and not all the people who do this are men, enough women are victimized by it that it’s bigger than just the Mets or baseball.
That said, change happens at the grass roots. The Mets must do a better job. And while Sandy Alderson is a good baseball man, if he’s shown a pattern of willfully ignoring or not investigating rumors in his hiring practices, he should be held accountable, too.
Most people at work are just trying to get through the day. When people willfully make it harder for their own whims, that’s wrong. When they add sex into the equation, that’s unacceptable.
For the third time in a month, I have to doubt my allegiance to a team I’ve loved (and hated) since I was nine years old. While the story isn’t about me, my reaction to it is. Part of the required change comes when guys like me stop feeding the monster with attention and money.