The Mets on Thursday cut ties with the second-year manager despite an 86-76 season highlighted by a midsummer surge that put them in the postseason hunt.
“I feel unfulfilled. I feel we left some games on the field that we should have won, and we didn’t fulfill what we really had as a goal, which was get to the postseason,” chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said on a 30-minute conference call with reporters. “We’re not playing October baseball, and that’s what it’s about.”
“We want to thank Mickey for his consistent work ethic and dedication over the last two seasons and I’m certain these characteristics will serve him well in his next opportunity,” Van Wagenen said in a statement. “A decision like this is never easy, however, we believe it is in the best interest of the franchise at this time.”
The hot seat seemed to affect Callaway, who cursed at a Newsday reporter following a tense postgame news conference in June during which the manager repeatedly was asked about a bullpen decision. He later apologized.
Plenty of Callaway’s pitching moves — not to mention other substitutions — came into question as well.
“I put my heart and soul into this team, into this game, every single day, and I believe in those players,” Callaway said Saturday. “I make unpopular decisions every day, whether it’s unpopular to you guys or the players. And every decision I make is going to be unpopular to somebody. But I make decisions based on trying to win games and trying to keep these guys motivated to win as many games as they possibly can. And I think that in the end when you look back on it, our players played hard and continue to play hard for a reason. And I’m proud of that.”
New York went 163-161 under Callaway. On the final day of the season, Callaway said he had been packing up his New York apartment since last week and planned to spend 19 hours driving home to Florida on Monday and Tuesday.