Report: Mets GM admits explicit texts to female reporter

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NEW YORK — Mets general manager Jared Porter sent graphic, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office, ESPN reported Monday night.

Porter sent dozens of texts to the woman, concluding with a picture of “an erect, naked penis,” according to the report. ESPN said it obtained a copy of the text history.

New York hired the 41-year-old Porter last month. He agreed to a four-year contract after spending the past four seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks as senior vice president and assistant general manager.

“I have spoken directly with Jared Porter regarding events that took place in 2016 of which we were made aware tonight for the first time. Jared has acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment, has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement.

“The Mets take these matters seriously, expect professional and ethical behavior from all of our employees, and certainly do not condone the conduct described in (the ESPN) story. We will follow up as we review the facts regarding this serious issue.”

The woman was not identified in the report. ESPN said she was a foreign correspondent who had moved to the United States to cover Major League Baseball. She ignored more than 60 messages from Porter before he sent the last vulgar photo, according to ESPN. The woman told ESPN the texts from Porter contributed to her decision to leave the journalism industry and return to her home country.

ESPN said it contacted Porter on Monday evening and he acknowledged texting with the woman. At first, he said he hadn’t sent any pictures of himself, but when informed the exchanges show he sent selfies and other pictures, he said “the more explicit ones are not of me. Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images,” ESPN reported.

After asking whether the outlet intended to run a story, Porter requested more time before later declining further comment, ESPN reported.

Before his Diamondbacks tenure, Porter worked under Theo Epstein with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, winning three World Series championships in Boston’s front office and another with the Cubs. ESPN says he was Cubs’ director of professional scouting when he sent the messages to the woman.

“Jared has proven himself at every level and in every position he has held, earning respect from his peers throughout baseball,” Alderson said in a statement when Porter was hired.

It’s another embarrassing development for the Mets, who energized their fans by acquiring star shortstop Francisco Lindor and several other notable players since new owner Steve Cohen purchased the club from the Wilpon and Katz families for $2.42 billion in early November.

Last offseason, under previous GM Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets hired former slugger Carlos Beltran as manager only to cut ties with him 2 1/2 months later when he was implicated in MLB’s investigation of illegal sign stealing by Houston when Beltran was an Astros player in 2017.

Beltran was let go – without managing a single game – just more than a year ago on Jan. 16, 2020, following a tenure that lasted 77 days. ESPN’s report was posted online 37 days after Porter was introduced as GM of the Mets, a role he called his “dream job” but one that certainly appears in jeopardy now.

New York quickly turned last winter from Beltran to quality control coach Luis Rojas, who managed the Mets to a 26-34 record during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. They finished tied with Washington for last in the NL East and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Rojas is set to return this season.

Cohen brought back Alderson, who was the Mets’ general manager from 2010-18, as team president, and Alderson immediately fired Van Wagenen and several of his top front-office aides.

The team initially sought to hire a new president of baseball operations but changed course when it was unable to attain permission to interview several candidates around the majors and another one did not want to move to New York.

Instead, the 72-year-old Alderson has taken over baseball operations, and the idea was for Porter to grow into that role while reporting to Alderson.

“I think what we’ve talked about the most is just a cultural shift, for one,” Porter said when he was introduced as GM last month. “Adding good people to the organization. Improving on the organizational culture.”

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.