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Former New York Mets coach sues team after being called ‘too old’ to keep on staff

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Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Former New York Mets pitching coach Phil Regan is suing his former employer after claiming he was told by a top executive he was “too old” to keep on the staff after the 2019 season.

The Mets 2019 season was one of the few bright spots for the franchise’s forgettable era with Mickey Callaway as their manager and Brodie Van Wagenen serving as the team’s top decision maker. New York finished 86-76 that season and one-time pitching coach Phil Regan feels he was a key part of that success.

However, the man who was 82 years old at the time was not retained the following season after taking over in June of 2019 for fired pitching coach Dave Eiland. The baseball lifer may have a point since the New York Mets pitching staff finished in the top 10 in wins, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP that season.

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It makes it all the more surprising that Regan was not brought back in 2020, however, in a lawsuit obtained by TMZ Sports on Monday, the now 85-year-old claims he was told point blank by the team’s former GM he was too long in the tooth to be on their coaching staff three years ago.

New York Mets being sued for age discrimination

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Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the court filing, Regan claims that Van Wagenen specifically told him that he was “too old” to rehire after the close of the 2019 season, and even allegedly said, “If we don’t find the young pitching coach we are looking for, we will hire you back.”

Eventually, the New York Mets did find that youthful coach when they hired 33-year-old MLB and Mets veteran Jeremy Hefner for the staff in 2020. After nearly 60 years in the league as a player and coach, Regan never joined another coaching staff after his dismissal.

“Suing for discrimination in professional sports is extremely rare. In fact, Phil debated doing this for many years. But the hurt from the conversation that he had with Mr. Van Wagenen continues to haunt him to this day. He can hear the exact words playing in his head over and over. Phil knew this had to be done.”

– Regan’s lawyer Matthew Blit

The New York Mets have not yet made a public comment on the lawsuit.

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