For the second time in two weeks, a person hired by Sandy Alderson for a major job with the Mets is facing significant scrutiny for alleged misconduct toward female members of the media, motivating Alderson to declare Monday night that the team has "already begun a review of our hiring processes to ensure our vetting of new employees is more thorough and comprehensive."
In a report published Monday night, five women told The Athletic that former Mets manager Mickey Callaway aggressively pursued them before, during and after his time in New York. He sent three of them inappropriate photos, asked one for nude photos back and told another that he would give her information about the Mets if she got drunk with him, according to the report.
All of the women spoke to The Athletic anonymously. One called Callaway’s reputation for such behavior "the worst-kept secret in sports."
"I was appalled by the actions reported today of former manager Mickey Callaway," Alderson, the Mets’ president, said in a statement. "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."
Mets owner Steve Cohen added in his own statement, "The conduct reported in The Athletic story today is completely unacceptable and would never be tolerated under my ownership."
The Angels, who have employed Callaway as their pitching coach for the past year-plus, said they will "conduct a full investigation with MLB." Cleveland, for which Callaway worked from 2010-17, said it is "reviewing the matter internally and in consultation to Major League Baseball."
Last month, the Mets were in a position similar to the one the Angels are in now. ESPN reported on Jan. 18 that general manager Jared Porter sent dozens of unanswered texts, some of them explicit, to a female reporter in 2016. The next morning, the Mets fired Porter.
Alderson had hired Porter less than three months before that. In October 2017, when Alderson was the Mets’ GM, he hired Callaway as manager.
According to The Athletic, the Mets said they learned in August 2018 — most of the way through Callaway’s first season with the organization — of an incident that happened before he joined the Mets. A team spokesman told The Athletic they investigated the situation, but he didn’t reveal more details.
Alderson was not with the Mets at the time, having stepped away in June 2018 because of a recurrence of cancer. He returned to the organization in November 2020 as president under Cohen.
In the accounts from the women in The Athletic’s report, Callaway sent them inappropriate texts, emails and social media messages and made comments, some regarding their appearance and outfits, in person while they were covering his teams.
In an email to The Athletic, Callaway wrote: "Rather than rush to respond to these general allegations of which I have just been made aware, I look forward to an opportunity to provide more specific responses. Any relationship in which I was engaged has been consensual, and my conduct was in no way intended to be disrespectful to any women involved. I am married and my wife has been made aware of these general allegations."
After the firing of Porter, Alderson said he did not talk to any women while vetting Porter — an indictment of baseball’s demographics, he said, not of the Mets’ process.
"That’s one of the unfortunate circumstances that exists in the game today," Alderson said. "There aren’t women in those positions with whom one can have a conversation and develop information or check references.
"We did a routine background check [on Porter]. We didn’t do an FBI-equivalent investigation, although those are the kinds of things that we might have to consider in the future perhaps . . . But hiring, and of course general managers is different, but we’ve been hiring, I don’t know, a dozen or so individuals over the last month or so, and that risk exists with every employee that’s hired."
He also called the Porter story "a wake-up call" and said he considered the issue of men behaving in such a way toward women "sort of a societal problem."
"Think this happens in lots of places, and it’s tolerated too many places," Alderson said. "At least with respect to MLB, there’s a policy to deal with this and deal with it harshly. Hopefully, as time goes on, these kinds of incidences will become fewer and fewer. I think this is more of an indictment of our society than it is just about the industry."