Former Mets Pitching Coach Phil Regan Files Lawsuit Against Team: Report
By Jason Hall
February 21, 2023
Former New York Mets pitching coach Phil Regan has filed a lawsuit against the team alleging that his termination was due to age discrimination, TMZ Sports reported on Tuesday (February 21).
Regan, 85, was fired by the Mets in 2019 after taking over as interim pitching coach following the team's previous termination of Dave Eiland midway through the season. The veteran former coach said the team saw immediate results upon his hiring, which included starters Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard all improving and the team's combined ERA dropping significantly during his brief tenure, according to the lawsuit via TMZ Sports.
Regan argues that he wasn't retained solely because he was 82 at the time of the team's decision, claiming that then-general manager Brodie Van Wagenen admitted that it was because he was "too old." The Mets instead hired former pitcher Jeremy Hefner, 33, as his replacement the following offseason.
"Phil is the first to crack jokes about his age, however, there is nothing funny about a person being told that they are being passed over because their employer wants someone younger," said employment attorney Matthew Blit in a statement to TMZ Sports. "That's discrimination, plain and simple."
"Suing for discrimination in professional sports is extremely rare," Blit added. "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 later spent the 2019 and 2020 Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League seasons as the pitching coach for Toros del Este, who won the league championship during his final season.