Reporting today from the home of the Mets Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, New York – The Mets Final Workout before Opening Day Thursday…
It’s almost as though Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard had a premonition about the team’s excursion to welcome their transplanted farm team from Las Vegas to Syracuse.
Ironically, the Mets flight from Sarasota, Florida to Syracuse last night was delayed on the tarmac for three-and-a-half hours while a faulty part was tracked down in Tampa. The result – the Mets didn’t arrive in Syracuse until after midnight.
Anticipating Syndergaard’s mantra today will be a chorus of “I told you so’s” with choreographed super slow motion movements on the field.
Not really. Actually, I’m pretty sure the spirit of the event will kick in once the Mets see and mingle with what is expected to be a contingent of fans representing all ages and areas of New York State.
Mets Thrive And Surprise In The Spotlight
Take a quick guess – Who was the first Met out on the “field” – a full half-hour before the event was scheduled to start? Surprise, surprise, it was “Mr. I Don’t Want To Be Here” – Noah Syndergaard, pictured above doing his warmup stretching exercises.
In small groups of twos and threes, players came over to the railings to sign autographs and chat with fans. Professional and courteous at all times, “thank you” was the theme of the day from both sides. At times, the Mets players looked perplexed as to what they should be doing on a field made for football.
The managed like we did when we were kids taking infield practice with imaginary bases to throw from on double-plays. Batting practice was impossible on the contours of a football field, but again the Mets took turns in eight cages that were brought in from God knows where to take underhand tosses from coaches.
The theme was laid back, with no pretention of this being an actual practice. Mets Manager, Mickey Callaway, stood in the middle of the chaos trying to keep things moving. Noah Syndergaard played long toss, firing whistling strikes from 200 feet.
Syndergaard also had an abbreviated bullpen session – get this – from a pitching mound made of plywood. Like Justin Wilson who followed Syndergaard, neither seemed to mind.
Jacob deGrom appeared to be invisible, and if he was it’s understandable having just agreed to that long-awaited contract extension (thank you Mr. Syndergaard), a deal which is said to be for five years and worth about $135 million. It contains a full no-trade clause and the Mets have an opt-out before the 2024 season. Pending a physical, the agreement will be formally announced before Thursday’s opener against the Nationals in Washington.
All in all, the Mets rebounded well from a down day yesterday that was filled with negativity emanating from Syndergaard’s rant and the stalled (at the time) negotiations between deGrom and the team. In what I thought would be a go-through-the-motions, hurry up and get back on the plane, exercise, the Mets appeared relaxed and confident, just going about their business as best they could in less than amicable circumstances.
Mets Moving On To The Real Thing
The Mets will spend the night and all day Wednesday in Washington, D.C. getting set for the marquee matchup between Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on Thursday. Wednesday’s workout will be voluntary (according to Mickey Callaway), due to a clause somewhere in the player’s agreement stipulating a player must have one day off per week during the preseason.
Nearly all of the Mets can be expected to ignore that “out”, happily getting together for a final time before the season begins. Postponed meetings due to the Syracuse trip could also be part of tomorrow’s agenda as Callaway want the opportunity to set the tone for the upcoming season.
The signing of deGrom is big, and the entire complexion of Opening Day is affected. This Mets team is not a mirage, and it doesn’t consist of the false hype heard ad nausea since 2015. Competition in the NL East is severe. But the good news is the Mets play their competition (Nationals, Phillies, and Braves) 19 times during the season – head on – creating the opportunity to forge their destiny – up or down.
Ring the bell. Let’s go.