Setting traffic records on a daily basis, The Big Lead interviews NY Post baseball scribe Mike Vaccaro.
Q: We™re fascinated when athletes are dicks to sportswriters. Any athletes step to you? Blow their nose on your sleeve? Attack you, Raul Mondesi-style?
The ugliest incident I ever took part in happened in the Mets clubhouse in Miller Park in Milwaukee a few years ago. This was when the Mets had Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn, that group. I™d been in Milwaukee covering a Nets-Bucks playoff series and my boss suggested I stay the weekend because the Mets were falling apart already and it was only May. So I did. And in the Saturday paper I wrote a column that basically said the Mets weren™t just a lousy team, they were one of the most impossible-to-like teams New York had seen since ¦ well, since the last time the Mets had gotten a bunch of stooges in the Bobby Bo/Vince Coleman era. In the column I™d been especially critical of the GM, Steve Phillips, whom I never thought very highly of and had occasionally been somewhat vicious in saying so.
Well, Phillips blew his stack, and he had the PR guy, Jay Horwitz, bring me into an office off the clubhouse, made sure he kept the door open and started to curse me at the top of his lungs, a show that was clearly designed to make him look like a tough-guy in front of his players and an act that, to me, is the height of insecure foolishness. I let him rant and rant and rant. Finally he said, œMy wife read that piece of junk! You made her cry! After which I™d had enough and said, œThat makes two of us, doesn™t it Steve, a not-terribly-subtle reference to his past life as an admitted adulterer. I thought he was going to take a swing at me. He didn™t. About two weeks later he was fired.