Two days after yet another Met was hit by a pitch, and a minor skirmish broke out as a result, the team got a sitdown with representatives of Major League Baseball.
What was accomplished from this meeting, however, was both uncertain and left unsaid. Manager Buck Showalter believed it was helpful for his players to express their frustrations at being hit an MLB-high 19 times in 20 games entering play Friday, and listen to what MLB officials think about the ongoing issue.
“I really think MLB wants to get it right, I do,” catcher James McCann, who was at the meeting, told The Post before the Mets’ 3-0 victory over the Phillies at Citi Field. “I just don’t think there’s a simple answer. There’s a lot that goes into it. There’s just a lot that goes into the issues that we have.
“This was more just, ‘Hear us out, let us hear your side of things and talk about it.’ I wouldn’t say they left saying, ‘Oh, we got an answer, we got an easy fix,’ because there is no easy fix.”
The Mets, according to Showalter, have been hit 15 times at or above the shoulder since spring training, though he thinks all instances were unintentional. The meeting Friday included pitchers and position players from the Mets and MLB reps Dan Otero, a former pitcher, and Morgan Sword, the league’s executive vice president of baseball operations. It was supposed to be held last week, but was delayed due to logistics.
Getting hit by pitches has been a frustrating early season trend for the Mets. Pete Alonso has been hit in the head twice and Francisco Lindor has been hit in the head once. Fortunately, no players have been injured yet because of a plunking. J.D. Davis, who was drilled in the area of his foot and ankle on Wednesday, appears to be OK, as well. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
“There was a lot of give and take,” Showalter said of the meeting. “We got all aspects of it. Morgan presented some things that they may not have known about, and [our players] presented some things. That’s how you make good decisions: You listen to the people that are actually throwing the baseball and hitting the baseball. And you listen to people that are doing all the work to improve our game and try to keep it safe.”
Starting pitcher Chris Bassitt said on Tuesday that the baseball is the problem — particularly the inability to grip it firmly now that pitchers can no longer use sticky foreign materials — but “MLB doesn’t give a damn about it.”
Mets player representative Brandon Nimmo said that during the offseason there were discussions about implementing a universal substance everyone could legally use to get a proper grip on the ball. In the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), the balls come with a sticky substance already on them, which is something that was also discussed.
“So there were a few different avenues that were talked about, but I think we might have had a little bit bigger fish to fry at that point,” Nimmo said. “So now it’s coming to a head and being talked about.”
That, ultimately, was what took place on Friday. There was a productive conversation.
“It’s better than it was,” Showalter said, referring to his players’ mindset about all the times they have been hit by pitches in this young season. “It’s like anything. You just like the chance to hear your opinion or your voice heard.”
— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce
Credit: Source link