Of Rats & Raccoons
I’ve learned over the years that when it comes to the New York Mets, expect the unexpected. Last week was one of those weeks that kind of had it all.
It started on Tuesday, when the Mets fired hitting coach Chili Davis after scoring a bunch of runs on Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia.
The timing was strange. After all, we are only 20-plus games into a 162-game season. But when you hear about a fake hitting coach named “Donnie Stevenson” (actually Pete Alonso alias), and you combine that with a slow start for a bunch of key Mets, sometimes a minor change at hitting coach happens in an organization.
It wasn’t fair to Davis. But whether it was his old-school hitting mentality that didn’t sit well with the Mets front office or a new owner itching for a change and some big wins, it was quite a way to start the week.
Little did I know the drama for the New York Mets was just beginning.
Friday night’s come-from-behind win against the Arizona Diamondbacks was overshadowed entirely by an argument that “may or may not have happened” in the hallway leading to the Mets locker room.
Clearly at the end of the 7th inning, something was off between Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil.
It was obvious watching numerous Mets players run into the dugout at the end of the half-inning that something was going down between the middle-infield duo.
After the game, the explanation from Francisco Lindor was very bizarre. He said the brouhaha was the result of a rat or raccoon scurrying around.
It was comical to listen to Lindor and, to a lesser extent, McNeil try to spread the fairy tale.
It doesn’t take a baseball genius to figure out there was clearly a disagreement between McNeil and Lindor. But guess what? That’s okay.
Here’s a dirty little secret: not every teammate loves one another. At times there are fights and disagreements.
Sometimes two guys blowing off a little bit of steam ends up being the best thing for the team. I’d rather hear about two guys putting it behind them and not about rats or raccoons, but hey, that’s me.
I didn’t love the way Lindor handled the situation on Friday night, but the reality of the weekend is that the argument seemed to bring out the best in the two scuffling teammates.
Lindor hit a game-tying home run on Friday night and McNeil homered on Saturday night, propelling the Mets to victories against the Diamondbacks.
The release of pressure by putting it all behind them is maybe the spark to get them both playing better and more relaxed this season.
The Mets will need Lindor and McNeil to deliver big if this team hopes to win a division title.
You could say the same about Jacob deGrom, who we learned on Sunday will have to spend some time on the Injured List.
It’s only the first month of the season, but we’ve had a little bit of everything from the Mets standpoint.
Fired coaches, phantom coaches, injuries, rats and raccoons, but also a winning record.
Strange times, winning times. Go figure.
You can listen to my new podcast New York, New York on The Ringer Podcast Network every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday night. Download and Subscribe on Spotify and Apple.