A former Mets employee told The Athletic that several people in the organization referred to then-manager Mickey Callaway as “D–k Pic Mick” over disturbing accusations that he was sending lewd photos via text message to women.
The website dropped a second bombshell report on Callaway on Tuesday as it continues to cover an alleged pattern of sexually inappropriate behavior that spanned at least five years, multiple cities and three MLB teams.
When Indians team president Chris Antonetti addressed the media in the wake of the initial report — in which three women presented evidence of inappropriate photographs sent to them from Callaway, while another said he requested nude photos in return — against his former pitching coach from 2010 to 2017, Antonetti harped on the notion that the article was the first time he had been made aware of the alleged behaviors.
Antonetti was asked if there was ever any communication between the Mets, who said they learned of the accusations more than halfway through his first season as manager, and the Indians about the situation.
“Not to my knowledge, no,” he told reporters. “And there had never been any complaints against Mickey in his time with us, either to me or to our human resources department or other leaders.”
But since The Athletic’s article, which also details how Callaway consistently made comments on women’s appearances and made them feel uncomfortable, it was discovered by the website that an angry husband repeatedly called the team’s fan service department to complain that Callaway had sent “pornographic material” to his wife.
The Athletic reports that the calls were brought to the attention of Antonetti, manager Terry Francona and general manager Mike Chernoff. The Indians spoke with Callaway about the matter, per the report, while an attorney spoke with the wife and said in a recorded phone call that Callaway expressed remorse.
According to The Athletic, the attorney told the wife the organization was “frickin’ pissed as hell” at Callaway and offered to have Francona call her husband. An MLB security official also reportedly contacted the husband and told him: “Mickey wants this all to go away.”
The husband later emailed MLB directly about Callaway, per The Athletic. The wife and Callaway engaged in a consensual affair but after the relationship ended in February 2017, the husband confronted Callaway via text about the situation.
Callaway texted back that he had to inform MLB security because his cellphone was “company property,” per The Athletic. A former detective in the Phoenix police department and an MLB security agent, Chuck Blalock, told the husband that Callaway didn’t want a report filed and convinced him to agree.
But the husband eventually decided he wanted something to be done about it, calling MLB, following up with Blalock and requesting that a report be filed with the league. Blalock confirmed to The Athletic he received the husband’s follow-up request, but the husband and wife said they never heard from anyone associated with MLB or the Indians again.
The Athletic confirmed that a report about the matter was filed to MLB. The husband contacted the Mets in August 2018 and the team confronted Callaway on the matter. He admitted to having the affair but told the team the relationship was in the past.
Still, his suspect behavior was a topic of conversation around the team.
“He was on his phone all the time,” one Mets employee said. “(I was like), ‘Two hours before a game, buddy? Aren’t you having a meeting?’ You could tell it had nothing to do with the game. It’s 5:15, who are you texting?”
Team president Sandy Alderson admitted on Monday in his first public comments on the Callaway controversy that the Mets failed to do proper due diligence when they hired him.
“When we hired Mickey [after the 2017 season] … Mickey was the hot commodity,” Alderson said of Callaway, who was fired after two mediocre seasons in Flushing.
“There were a number of teams anxious to hire him. We felt very fortunate at the time to get him. Was that short-sighted on our part? Too narrow a focus? I think the answer is probably yes. There probably should’ve been a broader assessment of his qualifications. From the people we talked to, there were no reservations. The process should’ve been broader. The process has and will be broader than it was in 2018.”
In 2015, two years after Callaway was promoted from the Indians’ minor league affiliate to pitching coach of the big-league club, wives of multiple Cleveland players discussed what they believed to be an extramarital relationship that Callaway was in with a woman who was around the team. The Athletic reports that some wives shared their concerns with their husbands and it was passed along to at least one department head and another staffer, although no formal complaint was filed with human resources.
None of the women who interacted with Callaway during his time with the Indians reported the inappropriate interactions through any official channels, The Athletic reports.
“I laughed out loud when I saw the quote [in The Athletic’s original report] that said it was the worst-kept secret in baseball, because it was,” one Indians employee told The Athletic. “It was the worst-kept secret in the organization.”
However, at least one former staffer coined the phrase “the Mickey treatment.” And Antonetti’s declaration that “there had never been any complaints against Mickey in his time with us, either to me or to our human resources department or other leaders” bothered people, per The Athletic.
“[Those] comments hit me the wrong way,” one former Indians employee told The Athletic. “I know that’s the way Chris has to do it and run things, but the amount of people in that organization who know about all that stuff, I don’t know how he can then face his staff.”
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