New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway needed two news conferences to issue one apology.
After the Mets fined Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas for their expletive-filled confrontation with a reporter following a weekend loss, Callaway stopped short of saying he was sorry for the incident during his first meeting with the media on Monday.
Callaway cursed at Newsday beat reporter Tim Healey and Vargas had to be restrained from charging him in the cramped Wrigley Field clubhouse after a 5-3 loss on Sunday. There was no physical contact.
"Obviously, for things like that to happen, it's always a misunderstanding. I'm sure there was no malintent by either, it's just something that happened and we have to move forward obviously," Callaway first told reporters.
Later, the manager added, "Billy Martin punched a reporter one time. It's part of this game. ... Hey, I'm a passionate guy about baseball, I'm a tough competitor. Sometimes you'll see it with the umpires, sometimes you'll see it with the players. The thing is you guys don't need to see it directed toward you guys. You guys have a job to do, I understand that, always understood that, and you guys don't need to see it directed toward you. That's the number one thing."
Two hours after that initial meeting with a large group of media members and 70 minutes before first pitch in Philadelphia, Callaway clarified his remarks.
"In my meeting with Tim, I apologized for my reaction,'' Callaway said. "I regret it. I regret the distraction that it's caused to the team. ... It's something I'm not proud of. I'm not proud of the distraction. I'm not proud of what I did to Tim. For that, I'm definitely sorry.''
Earlier in the day, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen announced that Callaway and Vargas had been fined. The GM did not comment when asked whether the Mets considered suspending Callaway or Vargas. The Mets do not expect Major League Baseball to further punish either Callaway or Vargas, according to Van Wagenen.
The incident followed a tense postgame news conference, in which reporters asked Callaway repeatedly about his decision to stick with reliever Seth Lugo during the eighth inning instead of going to closer Edwin Diaz. Lugo allowed a go-ahead three-run homer to Javier Baez.
After the news conference, Callaway walked past Healey and other reporters in the clubhouse. Healey said to Callaway, "See you tomorrow," and Callaway responded by calling Healey a "m-----f-----." Callaway walked away and then returned, cursing at Healey again and telling him to leave the clubhouse.
"I thought he was leaving for the day, so I said, 'See you tomorrow, Mickey,'" Healey said. "And then he said, 'Don't be a smart-ass.'
"I tried to tell him I didn't mean anything by it," Healey added. "I was just saying, 'I'll see you tomorrow.' And then he said, 'Get this guy out of here,' and that got the attention of Jason Vargas."
Vargas stared down Healey and shouted at him, including saying, "I'll knock you the f--- out, bro," according to a Yahoo Sports account. He eventually tried to move toward Healey but was held back by teammates, including Carlos Gomez and Noah Syndergaard.
"The situation that happened yesterday I think was unfortunate for all parties," Vargas told reporters on Monday. "An unfortunate distraction. ... The team addressed the situation, the organization made a statement. And that's really all there is to it."
Vargas then left without taking any questions.
Healey said Sunday night that Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon called him "to apologize on behalf of the organization."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.